The book is written with best practices in mind, and progressive enhancement techniques are used where possible. As you might expect, HTML5 tags and CSS3 properties feature prominently – Dan is resolutely looking to the future. He slips in little nuggets relating to jQuery best practice from time to time. Browser bugs and hacks are also discussed where relevant. It’s this attention to detail that makes a good technical book great.
The examples are fully formed and comprehensive from the start – the code snippets are practical, and may well find their way into your next project. Regular pop quizzes help the reader to check that they have grasped key concepts before moving on to the next section. A “Have a Go Hero” section challenges readers to apply the techniques they have learned to extend the functionality of the examples in the book.
The book opens with a number of chapters covering the main jQuery library, and its animation methods. There really is no filler to be found in the text. By chapter 5, the reader is learning how to write their own plugins.
As the author delves into jQuery UI with a series of small, but practical coding exercises, its power becomes apparent. The examples tend to mirror real world implementations, and some of the techniques can be seen on today’s cutting edge websites. Of particular note are the animations that make use of new CSS3 transforms, which demonstrate how a few lines of code can create jaw-dropping effects.
The HTML5 canvas functionality gets a chapter to itself. Dan takes us through the somewhat cumbersome process of coding canvas line drawings through jQuery (fortunately tools and libraries are starting to emerge which take much of the drudgery out of this process). The chapter and book conclude with a rudimentary Space Invaders implementation.
This isn’t a book you’ll be able to consume in one sitting. Getting the best out of it will probably require at least two readings. That being said, anyone with moderate jQuery chops will be able to dip into the book, and use it immediately as a reference manual to solve specific problems. I heartily enjoyed it, and can only hope that I will be able to exercise the author’s restraint when demonstrating my new found animation skills on client websites!
You can buy jQuery 1.4 Animation Techniques: Beginners Guide on the Packt website or on Amazon