jQuery in Action provides an in-depth look at the use of the jQuery framework. It starts off with an introduction, and how it can be used to manipulate elements of the DOM, and work with the event model. Emphasis is placed on unobtrusive scripting, which I like. It is an important consideration for scripting modern web sites.
Things start getting more advanced when the book gets into animations. I know I need to re-read this section as it is a bit much to take in all at once. The reader is then shown a sampling of the numerous utility function included in the library. A selling point of jQuery is that it contains all those useful functions, yet doesn’t try to do everything that can be done. A chapter is devoted to creating custom functionality by writing plugins that hook in to jQuery.
The next big chapter is using jQuery to implement AJAX. This is some hefty material, and is also a need-to-re-read for me. The final chapter describes a few popular jQuery plugins. I have to wonder if this is redundant, as only a few were shown, and the plugin landscape would likely evolve a fair bit from the time the chapter was written. However, it does give the reader an idea of what jQuery can do, and how it can be extended through plugins. Perhaps this content should have been part of the plugins chapter.
The examples throughout the book are relevant, and make the point effectively. The code snippets are easily distinguishable from the rest of the text, and the text is clear and easy to follow. The source code is available to download from the Manning website.
The book is written for jQuery 1.2, while the latest version is 1.3. I don’t think the version difference is a real issue, as the book will still be very applicable. That’s always the trick with technical books, but this one should be relevant for a good while yet.