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Ben Nadel at the jQuery Conference 2009 (Cambridge, MA) with: Scott Gonzalez
Ben Nadel at the jQuery Conference 2009 (Cambridge, MA) with: Scott Gonzalez ( @scott_gonzalez )

jQuery In Action By Bear Bibeault And Yehuda Katz

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The other night, I finished jQuery In Action by Bear Bibeault and Yehuda Katz. It was a good book, but the distribution of it kind of confused me. I redeemed it electronically from Manning (as an attendee of the jQuery Conference 2009) and then a few days later Manning emails me and tells me that the Second Edition is now available for download. Seeing as I hadn't started it yet, I went and grabbed the new edition and began to read; but then, I get to page 205 and suddenly the book stops - short four chapters. The Second Edition is supposed to have 10 chapters, but mine had six. And, to make matters more confusing, the original version only has nine chapters. I think, by the end, I read the entire book, but it took a few minutes of head scratching to figure out what was going on.

I don't know what happened with the distribution (I'm sure it was explained in the email that I didn't read), but don't let that reflect on the quality of the text; I mention it here only for the sake of anyone else who goes to get the book electronically: make sure you have all the chapters in your PDF!


jQuery In Action Book Cover.  

jQuery In Action does a solid job of fully explaining the feature set of the jQuery library. In fact, I often found the documentation of the jQuery methods to be more completely fleshed out in the book than they are on the official site. This is especially true for methods that can take callbacks. I find the online documentation regarding callbacks to be, at times, patchy; but, in the book, jQuery In Action, Bibeault and Katz do a nice job documenting what gets passed to the given callbacks and how return values from those callbacks will be handled.

And, while I was a bit confused about the Second Edition, I have to say that it was awesome to see that the Second Edition contained the latest information about what's available in the jQuery library (as of v1.3).

One area of the book that I found particularly thorough was the exploration of jQuery animations. Not only does it discuss the basics - slideDown(), slideUp(), fadeIn(), fadeOut(), etc. - it really goes into a lot of detail regarding custom animations and the whole queuing mechanism that executes animations in a serial nature. And, something that I found interesting, was that the book explained how the execution queue could be leveraged to queue any piece of functionality - animation or otherwise.

One chapter that seemed a bit out of place to me was that on "Prominent, Powerful, and Practical Plugins." There was something about it that just felt a little bit like an afterthought. It only discussed three plugins; and, ironically, while I've used many jQuery plugins, I've never used any the three discussed in the book.

Overall, jQuery In Action is a solid book and really does explain the features of jQuery quite thoroughly.

Reader Comments


it's a good book, at least the edition i have, don't know about the new one, but i learned most of my stuff from this book. Now this is the book we at work to give the devs an intro into jquery



After I finished the second edition and then read the latter 3 chapters in the original edition, I skimmed through the first 6 chapters of the original edition and it looks like Yehuda and Bibeault really freshened it up a good bit. If you like the book, I'd recommend checking out the newest edition.


Ah another reason why I shouldn't let cool books just sit on my dev shelf!

I have the first edition but never finished it - even though it's a fantastic book.

Is it worth going back to it or should I just junk it and get the second edition do you think?



I can't really say since I didn't actually read the old chapters (1-6) in the first edition; as such, I don't really have anything to compare it to. But, from what I saw (after some very quick skimming), it seemed like the newer chapters (1-6) were definitely freshened up to 1.3 of the library. If it's worth the money to upgrade??? I can't say.



I know what you mean. Always difficult with books, but with something as ever evolving as JQuery it may be prudent to get the updated version to avoid learning old techniques or syntax. I know they changed a few fundamental things in 1.3 and improved a lot.

The price of staying up-to-date in this game..



Also, another thing to consider is that the jQuery team is gonna release the next sub-release of jQuery by the end of the year (at least I think that's what they are aiming for). As such, perhaps wait another few months to see if anything else comes out in terms of updates?


Sounds like you got the kind courtesy go getting access to a preview copy of the 2nd edition from the Manning early access program. The 2nd edition of the book isn't scheduled to be printed until March 2010.

As new chapters become available, you'll probably get access to those to.

*rant alert* Manning's Early Access Program seems to be quiet good. On their home page, they tell you how many chapters (of the projected total) have been completed. I had a horrible experience with O'Reilly's early access program. We paid to get access to Programming Flex several months before it was to be published. All that was ever released as part of the early access program was 4 chapters. By the time the book was published, a majority of the content was then irrelevant to me.



Ahh, ok, that makes sense. I am new the world of digital books and was not even aware that they had programs like that. That's really cool that you can ever get access to pre-released chapters. I hope I didn't break any NDA's talking about it :)

Thanks for pointing that out. It definitely clarifies the confusing I was having.



I doubt you broke any form of NDA. Anyone can pay for MEAP access. In the end, you get a final copy and potentially printed a version if you paid for that option.

The program has two main goals:

1) get access to interested readers who can't, or otherwise don't want to, wait several months before the book is published

2) Welcome feedback, suggestions, and errata corrections long before the book goes to the printing press

Considering how knowledge changes at such a fast pace in our industry and the shelf life for books, it's a very smart program.

BTW, jQuery in Action is an excellent book and should be the starting point for anybody interested in learning jQuery.


FYI. If you get eBook of jQuery in Action 2 on Manning's Early Access Program, you can get the full version of the previous edition (eBook) too.



Oh cool. I came from the 1st edition, but it's good to know that it goes both ways.


Yeah, it's a quality book.


Hey Ben, just noticed you've had multiple posts on multiple jQuery books, and they all looked like pretty positive reviews. If you had to pick one book over all the others to recommend to someone who's used jQuery a bit and has intermediate-to-advanced Javascript skiyells, which one would you pick ( and why )?

I do mostly CF and pure AJAX front-end full time and we've standardized on jQuery. That said, I'm way more interested in Actionscript and CF integration, so I'm trying to invest as little time as possible in jQuery while still becoming super advanced at it. If that helps the question. Thanks!


Hi Ben,

Thanks for posting about the book, and glad you enjoyed. Sorry about the confusion with the MEAP program - we'll be releasing the remaining chapters really soon!



That's a very good question. They are all good books, but for someone who already has decent jQuery skills, which one would benefit you the most?

It's been a while since I read Learning jQuery, but from what I remember, they had a whole bunch of "Real world" type examples, which I think not only help with the technical, but help people to start thinking in how jQuery can be applied in your day to day lives.

Really though, none of the books that I read really went deep in to JS-heavy application architecture, which is where I tried to do some experimentation in my jQuery presentation:

I'm sorry I cannot be more decisive - it is a tough question to answer.

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Ben Nadel