I really cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is extremely up-to-date covering jQuery 1.4 and the jQuery UI 1.8. This book is very well written with a number of very clear examples and sample code. The book follows a very natural progression. I’ve been exposed to jQuery before and have even been using it for some time but in reading even the introductory chapters I learned a number of concepts and techniques that I was previously unaware. I can also see how this natural progression through the subject matter would make it possible for a jQuery beginner to gain a very good understanding of jQuery development.
The book begins with a basic overview of the jQuery library and its fundamentals. This discussion talks about the jQuery namespace and the use of the common $ alias in jQuery code. It also provides some very good discussion of the benefits of jQuery. From here the authors move through a very natural progression of topics. First, they discuss the wrapped HTML set and how to use jQuery to select specific HTML elements. They also discuss a number of ways to work with the wrapped set and selections of elements such as understanding how to find sibling or child elements. There’s also some very useful discussion on how to determine the size of a selection when selecting elements and how to manipulate the selection.
Once the reader understands how to select elements, the authors move into a discussion of how to manipulate selected elements to create interactive pages. They discuss how to modify elements by adding CSS classes and how to modify the HTML attributes of selected elements. This discussion also deals with how to change the content of selected HTML elements and importantly, how to work with form element values using jQuery.
From these basics, the book moves into a detailed discussion of the browser event model and how to listen for and respond to events in jQuery. The separation of behaviors from presentation is one of the key benefits of using jQuery so I was very glad to see a thorough discussion of how events works and how to respond to them.
The next section then deals with some of the more fun aspects of jQuery—animation and animation queuing. This section talks about the various effects that can be create with jQuery and how chains of animation effects are queued up.
The final sections of the book go into a fairly detailed discussion of the jQuery UI library. The authors discuss themes and styling the various UI components. They then discuss the most common elements in more detail including the date picker, the accordion, tabs and several other UI elements.