jQuery, books on jQuery and Readability

If you are even vaguely involved in building Web content you have to at least have heard of jQuery, a cross-browser JavaScript library for client-side scripting that is small, fast, and free (under the MIT License and the GNU General Public License, Version 2).

JQuery allows developers to create scripts that can browse and modify DOM elements including support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) versions 1 through 3, handle events, produce visual effects and animations, support Ajax, and the library is extensible through plug-ins. For a tour through what jQuery can do, see the jQuery documentation.

First released in 2006 and currently used by 31% of the top 10,000 Web sites, jQuery is by far the most popular JavaScript scripting library. While it is pretty straightforward the sheer richness of jQuery and the scores of amazing plug-ins that third parties have created for it makes getting to grips with the library a serious task.

To make this task somewhat easier there are two books I've come across that are fantastic resources. The first is "jQuery Cookbook" written the "jQuery Community Experts" and published by O'Reilly Media.

This title is part of O'Reilly's Cookbook series which, in my experience, are some of the best technical books around because they are written for people who want to get into a topic quickly and written by people who know what they are talking about. Written rather like a series of lectures, the level of detail this book manages to cover is amazing.

The other volume on jQuery that I found exceptionally informative is "jQuery: Novice to Ninja" by Earle Castledine and Craig Sharkie published by SitePoint.

Well written, this book is much more of a paced, first principles to guru tour through jQuery with a focus on incrementally building a Web application that uses the library to greater and greater effect.

These are two books that any serious Web application builder needs on their bookshelf.

For a really impressive example of what can be achieved by using jQuery check out "Readability" published by lab.arc90.com.

Readability is a brilliant idea: Most Web pages don't focus on readability because they are trying to present an image, a branding for whatever they are expounding upon. Readability is a jQuery-based tool launched by a bookmarklet (a short JavaScript application embedded in a Web browser bookmark).

You first visit the Readability Web site, select which display options you prefer (style, font size, margins, and whether inline links should be converted to footnotes – the results of your choices are displayed on the Readability page. You then grab the Readability button and drag it to your bookmarks. Now, when you are on a Web page and you'd like to improve the readability, you just click on the Readability bookmarklet and voila! The results are amazing: Images are removed and the text formatted per your preferences.

JQuery is a remarkable resource as are the books I discussed and as for Readability; what an amazing concept!

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