Book Review: JavaScript & JQuery

I was a big fan on Jon Duckett’s HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites, so when he put out a book on JavaScript and JQuery, I knew I had to check it out. Now that I’ve had a chance to dive into it, I’m happy to report that I’m not disappointed. As in HTML & CSS, this book sets itself apart from similar manuscripts in one major way: it is beautifully put together.

Book Review: Javascript & JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development

JavaScript & JQuery is filled with gorgeous, full color photos and infographics that help illustrate its concepts. Early chapters tie coding in JavaScript to concrete, real world examples in a way that makes sense to non-coders without being insulting to their intelligence.

Who is JavaScript & JQuery For?

This book is written for front-end web developers who are looking to expand their skill sets into JavaScript and various related libraries. I found it to be very appealing for people who may have tried to learn JavaScript in the past, but had become frustrated with the process.

Book Review: Javascript & JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development

It assumes you have a working understanding of HTML and CSS, and spends virtually no time whatsoever on them. While you could get by without being too knowledgeable of HTML, it does make understanding the code samples substantially easier. Also, while it’s not required, it is very helpful to have a coding environment setup to work through the various examples in the book. You could use to console for a lot of it, but I find it helpful to setup a dummy page to play around in.

What does JavaScript & JQuery Cover?

You could divide this book into three major part. The first half of the book deals exclusively with the JavaScript language, and focusing on learning its fundamental concepts. The next quarter dives into JQuery, AJAX, JSON, and APIs. The final quarter of the book is focused on a variety of specific tasks, from debugging to building content sliders.

What Works?

  • One of the book’s biggest strengths is it’s organization. Each part of the book builds on concepts established earlier, and there are frequent reminders throughout to help you with items that haven’t been used in a while.
  • Many chapters focus on an overarching project, such as building a shopping list app, and tailor all code examples to it. This helps in that it relates what is being learned to a real world application, as well as showing readers different ways to solve design problems using the various tools JavaScript offers.
  • In addition to the overall organization, I really like how JavaScript & JQuery present new information. Once a subject is established broadly, it is broken down into more detailed pieces. Each of these pieces is explained on one page, and used in an example on the opposite, which really helps to cement the concept.
  • Interestingly, I reviewed the hardbound edition of HTML & CSS, and the softbound edition for this book. I was very impressed to see that same high level of craftsmanship present in this less-expensive volume.

What Doesn’t?

  • Once again, it’s tough to find criticism with this book, however one area does stand out a little: accessibility. While the book is beautifully illustrated, there are parts that use color coding to illustrate points. Since I am colorblind, I had a bit harder time making sense of these areas, although I could still figure them out by context. These sports were, however, a very small part of the book overall.

The Verdict

If you’re looking to level up your front-end game, JavaScript & JQuery is an excellent place to start building an understanding of JavaScript and its related technologies. If you’re a little more seasoned, it will still serve as a solid reference piece. Either way, it’s a beautifully presented book.

Buy a copy of JavaScript and JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development today.

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