By Karl Swedberg and Jonathan Chaffer
Packt Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84951-004-2

jQuery 1.4 Reference Guide Hot on the heels of the release of jQuery 1.4 comes a reference work that covers all of the jQuery functionality. It is aimed at Web developers that want to view the range of jQuery's offerings and those who want a quick reference to those abilities.

As advertised, this book covers all the available functionality, with chapters on the selectors available, traversal methods, DOM manipulation, events, effects, and AJAX. Each item in these categories is presented showing its syntax, a list of any parameters and return values, a description of the funcitonality, and generally an example or two to show how it is used. There is also an introductory chapter on extending jQuery via plugins, although this will be covered in much greater detail in a forthcoming title. An alphabetic listing in a final chapter completes the picture for when you can remember the name of a function, but not necessarily which category it belongs to.

As is common with such reference works, this book it not something that you would normally read from start to finish, although doing so can reveal useful abilities within jQuery. For example, I learnt about passing parameters to event handlers via the bind and trigger functions, and about the ability to load only parts of a retrieved document. I thought that there was some information missing, however, particularly the order of nodes within a selection, something that has changed with jQuery 1.4, and how this differs for some functions, such as parents.

The content is essentially repeated as the online jQuery API documentation. If this is available I prefer to work with it instead since it offers searching and links between topics.

Overall I found the book provided good coverage of the vast range of abilities offered by jQuery. The section on events was very instructive, with a good explanation of the event object itself. As with all technology books, it suffers from trying to hit a moving target. With jQuery 1.4.1 and 1.4.2 released in quick successsion, there are now new functions available (such as delegate) that will need to be addressed in a future edition.