Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at CFinNC 2009 (Raleigh, North Carolina) with: Mike Brunt

The jQuery Cookbook: Solutions And Examples For jQuery Developers

By Ben Nadel on

This weekend, I finished reading the jQuery Cookbook from O'Reilly, subtitled Solutions and Examples for jQuery Developers. The book is a collaborative effort of nineteen jQuery community experts covering well over 150 common jQuery and Javascript problems. Coming in at 435 pages, the jQuery Cookbook is full of great information and covers a huge variety of topics, some quite simple and some quite complex.


The jQuery Cookbook: Solutions And Examples For jQuery Developers.  

Without a doubt, there are a lot of great examples in this book. And, because they are written by community experts, not only do you learn to solve the given problems, you pick up a lot of very neat tips and tricks that are completely meta to the meaning of the code at hand. And, in addition to simply presenting and solving problems, the jQuery Cookbook also goes into good depth about the jQuery API and covers broader topics like custom event and plugin creation, theming, and unit testing.

That said, I do have one issue with the book. Well, not so much with the book itself, but rather with the title. It's called a "Cookbook," but the content goes beyond that. It seemed more like 50% cookbook, 50% reference manual, and 10% external resource listing (I'm a doctor Jim - not a mathematician!). In fact, I felt at points that trying to fit the content into a "cookbook" style presentation ended up being a bit awkward.

If you are not familiar with how cookbooks are organized, they are delivered as a bit of background info and a series of units consisting of Problem, Solution, and Discussion. In order to fit the content into this style, I swear there were a few units that were not much more than, "Problem; You need to use the each() method. Solution: Use the each() method." A number of times, I just got the impression that the authors first decided what part of the API they wanted to discuss, and then, as a secondary action, came up with a problem that would allow them to discuss said API.

Furthermore, I thought it was odd that the jQuery Cookbook explored existing plugins. As a cookbook, it seemed odd to present existing solutions as solutions to the given problems. Something about a cookbook style just makes me want to see everything built from scratch, but that's just an emotional reaction.

To be honest, I feel somewhat awkward telling you about my aforementioned issues because they are not related to the quality of the book's content. In fact, if the book was renamed to be something like, "Exploring jQuery," none of the above would have occurred to me at all. I think my problem is that the term "Cookbook" painted a picture in my head, and the picture that I saw in the book didn't quite match. And, in all fairness, I do believe that some of the content would have flowed better had it not been squeezed into a Problem / Solution / Discussion format.

That said, the jQuery Cookbook has some really excellent content and I highly recommend it. In fact, the jQuery Cookbook goes into more depth on certain topics than any of the other jQuery books that I've read so far.

Reader Comments

Thanks for the review. I think i will buy the book. I love jQuery and I really want to learn more about that awesome library.
Nice "Friends"-quote by the way ;)

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I think you'll be very happy with the book. Not only does it give you goo jQuery knowledge, it makes you think about it in the context of real world problems, which is very important.

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Sounds like a good book to keep handy.

Nice pic by the way I like the goatee, very cool ;)

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Thanks - it's finally starting to be bearable and not insanely itchy :) I figured I'd try it out for a while, see what it's like.

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I really really hate itchy goatee's :)

I say, if the itching is over, then you should definitely keep it.

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This is a book that's listed on my office's future purchases list. It was good hearing your side of the story. I especially like hearing criticisms as all too many times the Amazon reviewers can be too nice. It really hurts when you get the book and it's not all that it's hyped up to be. Regardless, I will hammer through it once we get it and learn from what I can. Of all the jQuery books to my knowledge, "jQuery in Action" seems to have gotten the most solid reviews so far.

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I'll take that as a compliment ;)


I know what you mean. I try to keep my reviews positive, focusing more on the good stuff; but since my gripes with the book didn't really have anything to do with the quality or usefulness of the content, I felt ok posting it.

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Thanks for the review! Looking forward to playing more with jQuery. And . . . umm . . . nice goatee . . . it looks great on you!

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I am reading the book, and working with it's recipes, to learn jQuery, I find it very helpful, and awesome.

Altough I am not speaking english well, i can assure anyone that you will never regret to buy it.

Thanks very much.

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I did not - I just purchased this one. To get the free copy, I think I was supposed to go onto the O'Reilly website and "Register" using the same email as the conference registration.

But, I wasn't sure what that really meant.

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This book is great. It's the only book that I have found that goes into unit testing and it covers great ground, with common problems in ths space!

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