jQuery for Designers Beginner’s Guide review

You are now reading my review of the recently published book “jQuery for Designers: Beginner’s Guide published” by Packt Publishing.

What`s the book about?

jQuery is a JavaScript library that makes daily routines in JavaScript easier.

jQuery is provided under the MIT and GPL licenses.

At the moment of writing this review, version 1.7.2 is the latest jQuery version available.

About the reviewer

I’m Ramon van Belzen (Ramoonus), a 24 year old web designer from Vlissingen, the Netherlands. I’m surfing the web since 1997 and I`ve been programming HTML since 1998. I currently run over 15 websites, most of them as webmaster and web designer. Nowadays I use web technologies like HTML 5, CSS 3, JavaScript PHP/MySQL and a bit of jQuery.

I have no serious experience with jQuery and haven`t read books about jQuery in the past. Therefore my jQuery experience is  almost none.

Packt Publishing offered me the chance to review this book, and since I haven`t received books for more than a year I accepted it.

Who is this book written for?

This book is written for web designers with knowledge of HTML and CSS. Basic knowledge of JavaScript and jQuery are useful but not required.

To use this book you will need an actual version of a browser and an IDE. Up-to-date browsers like Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome 10+ and Firefox 4+ should be fine.

Free IDE`s like Aptana and NetBeans shouldn’t give problems either.

What can you expect from the book?

The book promises to tell you:

  • Enhance the user experience of your site by adding useful jQuery features
  • Learn the basics of adding impressive jQuery effects and animations even if you’ve never written a line of JavaScript
  • Easy step-by-step approach shows you everything you need to know to get started improving your website with jQuery

And teaches you:

  • Download and include the jQuery library on your website
  • Build browsable photo galleries and animated slideshows, along with carousels and sliders
  • Create tabbed interfaces in a few lines of code without a plugin
  • Include custom scrollbars that fit the design of your site but are still easy for your site visitors to use
  • Use AJAX to only load up the changing content area rather than the whole page
  • Enhance the navigation on your site by using animations and custom tooltips
  • Enhance web forms to make them easier for your site visitor to use

The preface covers the chapters content and conventions used. And the chapters content.

The first chapter explains the installation and power of jQuery along with the necessary basics of JavaScript and jQuery.

Next chapter teaches a basic implementation of jQuery with CSS selectors and Javascript functions. The example in the book shows how to write code to open a link in an external window. Later on you will learn how to add pictures and tabs.

Chapter three explains how to hide and show elements, along with the use of animations. The result of this chapter is a fancy FAQ page.

Building Custom Scrollbars is the title of chapter four. In this example a third-party jQuery plugin is used. By the end of the chapter you will have a fully styled scrolling block with mouse wheel support and animations.

Tooltips with qTip are described in chapter five. Tooltips can be used to explain abbreviates or add images to text. Following the installation of qTip is the styling of the tooltip, practical implementations for items like a menu and ending the chapter with adding images to a tooltip.

Building an Interactive Navigation Menu is the title of chapter six. This chapter uses Superfish to create a horizontal or vertical drop-down menu. All functions of this jQuery plugin are explained as well as styling and animating the menu.

Chapter 7 teaches jQuery and AJAX to set up an asynchronous website. The first examples include replacing the page`s content with AJAX by using the menu. Next example contains jQuery BBQ. Also custom AJAX loading images are added to the examples.

Creating a Lightbox is chapter eight`s content. This example uses the Colorbox plugin. This chapter also begins with the installation, configuration and styling of the plugin. At the beginning a photoalbum lightbox is created, followed by a Lightbox login system and ending with  a video in a lightbox.

Slideshows and sliders are described in chapter nine. The instructions explains several slider plugins including CrossSlide, Nivo Slider and Galleriffic. The chapter begins with a simple animated slider. Second paragraph explains the usage of Nivo Slider, starting with the installation and ending with the configuration. The same counts for Galleriffic and the chapter ends with CrossSlide.

Chapter ten goes on about sliders, instead of using images in sliders you will learn how to add content. Examples in this chapter use jCarousel to develop your ideal slider.

Creating an interactive DataGrid is chapter ten`s title. As expected – this chapter explains how to create a fully-featured datagrid using jQuery and jQuery UI.

Chapter twelve is the biggest one of the book. Starting the chapter is the use of HTML5 to improve forms. Following this is CSS styling of specific (HTML5) form elements. After this the first bits of jQuery  show up; from setting focus and placeholders to validating. The end of the chapter focusses on using the jQuery plugin Uniform to improve the styling of forms.

My Conclusion

The book`s promises (see paragraph What can you expect from the book? ) are correct. The book covers everything the cover and introduction said it will tell you.

I had no problems reproducing the examples or modifying these for my own projects. The jQuery version and plugins in the book are actual and up-to-date.

Images are sharp and the eBook featured colour images.

After reading this book I learned a lot to put jQuery into practise on every day sites and jobs.

This book is not written for those who want to develop their own jQuery plugins but instead its written for web designers who would like to know how to implement every day features on their site.

For more information about the book or to read a sample chapter, visit the page jQuery for Designers: Beginner’s Guide or leave a comment on my website`s review.

Other jQuery Books by Packt Publishing

Book Details

Language : English

Paperback : 332 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]

Release Date : April 2012

ISBN : 1849516707

ISBN 13 : 9781849516709

Author(s) : Natalie MacLees

Topics and Technologies : All Books, Beginner’s Guides, jQuery, Open Source, Web Development

The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7 review

With the release of Drupal 7.0 earlier this year (January 2010), a new time has come for the Drupal Community.

Click here to order on Amazon.com

Drupal is an open source PHP/SQL based content management system (CMS). As SQL database, popular engines as SQLite, MySQL and PostgreSQL can be chosen.

Since version 4 Drupal is one of the most used open source CMS platforms available.

Drupal can be compared to other popular PHP/SQL based CMS systems like Joomla, WordPress and XOOPS but has its own benefits.

You are reading my review of the book “The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7”.

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Inkscape 0.48 Illustrator’s Cookbook review

As the title might suggest, this book is a cookbook about Inkscape version 0.48 written for illustrators. This book is published by Packt Publishing and falls in the categories: open-source, graphics, illustration, SVG and is one of Packt’s cookbook series.

As a fellow Inkscape-newbie and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) enthusiast I will be reviewing this book.

What`s the book about?

Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor with features comparable to expensive software like  Adobe Illustrator, Fireworks and ColorDraw. Inkscape uses the W3C Scalable Vector Graphics file format. SVG can also be used on webpages and is fully incorporated into HTML 5 and is therefore a drawing technology of the near-future.

Inkscape can be downloaded from inkscape.org 

Who is this book written for?

This book is written for people without experience with vector graphics design software and can also be used for people new to vector graphics (while moving away from Photoshop) and people who want to learn Inkscape.

This book is also for the intermediate users who want to improve their toolkit and increase their workflow.

To use this book you have to have Inkscape 0.48 installed as well as a text editor with programming functions. An installed version of Python is also recommended but not necessary.

Windows users could also use PortableApps.com version of Inkscape.

Continue reading “Inkscape 0.48 Illustrator’s Cookbook review”

Pro CSS for High Traffic Websites book review

What`s the book about?

As the title suggest this book is about professional Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for high traffic websites (10.000+ visitors/day). This book guides you through the development process of optimizing codes for improved speed and how to handle large style sheets and interact with other teams and team members to  work more effective.

As a webmaster/webdesigner I`m giving a chance to review this book by Apress.

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Joomla! 1.6 First Look review

Joomla! is an open-source award-winning PHP/MySQL based content management system (CMS). Since its available under the GPL license it`s free to download, modify and use it for your website.

Version 1.6 introduces many improvements for front-end users and administrators. New features in Joomla 1.6 include

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  • A user-defined category structure, from simple one-level to complex multi-level categories
  • Installation improvements allowing for multiple extension installations in one package, updatable with a single click
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  • Start and end publishing times for modules with more control over where they display,
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  • Hundreds of additional features, streamlining workflow and productivity

The book guides you trough changes including  the new interface, articles, menus, access control levels (ACL), templates, extensions and SEO features.

This book is written for users, developers and designers who are familiar with Joomla 1.5 and want to know what’s new in Joomla 1.6.

Packt has asked me if I’m interested in reviewing this book by the famous Dutch Joomla expert Eric Tiggeler.

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