“Why on Earth would I need to use jQuery?”, a young inexperienced programmer would ask. A proficient developer would already be experienced enough to say that jQuery is a turning point of modern web programming that has significantly simplified and accelerated client-side scripting of HTML. However, if you’re nothing but an average Internet user, you would be happy to know that for the last couple of years the majority of websites and social media have adopted jQuery for making web page updates as fast and ergonomic as possible, which is why you can now see your Facebook friend’s reply almost the same second it has been sent.
And this is by far the least you can learn to do with jQuery. So if you feel like going deeper into the library and interactive programming in general, feel free to choose one or more books from our list of the best jQuery books you may find on the web.
Table of contents
- 1 jQuery for beginners
- 1.1 Head First jQuery by Ryan Benedetti
- 1.2 jQuery Cookbook: Solutions & Examples for jQuery Developers by Cody Lindley
- 1.4 jQuery in 8 Hours by Ray Yao
- 1.5 jQuery in Action by Bear Bibeault, Yehuda Katz and Aurelio De Rosa
- 1.7 jQuery: Novice to Ninja by Earle Castledine and Craig Sharkie
- 2 jQuery for experienced developers
- 2.1 jQuery UI in Action by T.J. VanToll
- 2.2 Murach’s jQuery, 2nd Edition by Zak Ruvalcaba
- 2.3 jQuery Pocket Reference by David Flanagan
- 2.4 A Smarter Way to Learn jQuery by Mark Myers
- 2.5 jQuery Design Patterns by Thodoris Greasidis
- 2.6 jQuery for Designers by Natalie MacLees
- 2.7 jQuery Gems by Greg Sidelnikov
- 2.8 Practical jQuery by Ankur Kumar and Mukund Chaudhary
- 3 jQuery for specific purposes
jQuery for beginners
Head First jQuery by Ryan Benedetti
This book by Ryan Benedetti will guide you through all aspects of the jQuery library proving that frontend programming can be even more convenient and productive than ever. It is mainly recommended for web developers and experienced website owners who aim to make their websites user-friendly and at the same time advanced from the structural point of view. Head First jQuery will also teach you lots of practical stuff, such as:
- how to navigate HTML documents;
- how to use jQuery functional for various purposes, such as creating visual on-page effects and animations, handling different events, building forms and other interactive web elements, etc.;
- how to write productive AJAX applications;
- how to seamlessly leverage the power of HTML and CSS;
- how to effortlessly manipulate given data with JSON, MySQL and PHP;
- how to go beyond existing HTML and CSS limitations by using jQuery in combination with DOM;
- …and more.
The given book is actually a part of the specialized educational series Head First dedicated to guiding programming novices into the world of computer science. It stresses the importance of visual representation for explaining complex programming concepts that can be hard to grasp by non-technical students. And, just like other books in the series, it present the topic in plain and accessible language accompanied with bright examples and life-related stories. Overall, it’s a good book to introduce oneself to the main concepts of web programming and, of course, jQuery itself.
You can now purchase the book on Amazon for $27.94 (in paperback) or as an e-book – for $17.27.
jQuery Cookbook: Solutions & Examples for jQuery Developers by Cody Lindley
Because the book follows a pretty standard delivery pattern, the reader will be first followed through a brief introduction to web development and how jQuery contributes to it and then gradually passing on to more complex practical issues. As a result, this book will effectively teach you the following practices:
- Resolve all major problems related to primary jQuery features, such as events, visual effects, themes, forms, and UI elements;
- Learn how to improve existing forms and how to arrange elements on a page;
- Acquire the specifics of jQuery event management system;
- Build your own UI elements (accordions, tabs and modals);
- Check your code performance and enhance it to eliminate potential errors;
- Test your jQuery apps using the most effective time-proven techniques.
The majority of readers find this book extremely useful for making first steps towards the jQuery library, although lacking anything essentially new for those already experienced in the topic. What’s more important, the Cookbook won’t suit people unfamiliar with Java or programming in general. So this practical guide should be primarily considered as a set of case studies for practicing web developers and their daily routine.
The book currently costs $25.18, while its Kindle e-book version – just $15.39.
- applying jQuery tools for building interactive web pages for multiple browsers;
- leveraging jQuery’s major features, such as widgets, visual effects, and interactions.
- creating various animated on-page elements, such as pop-up windows, navigation menus, diverse slideshows, etc.
- building basic on-site forms to provide users with more advanced feedback opportunities;
- mastering practical jQuery techniques through a set of bright and illustrative tutorials.
You can now purchase this handy guide on Amazon for as much as $34.99, and as a Kindle a-book – for $24.99.
jQuery in 8 Hours by Ray Yao
This one is actually an e-book which contains only relevant information regarding jQuery and how to put it into practice. It covers a great number of various case studies that will help you acquire basic jQuery concepts faster by constantly referring to practical experience. The book covers such topics as jQuery functions, events, elements selection, visual effects and animation methods, Ajax integration, and more. For the final stage, it offers you a set of 100 jQuery tests to help you reinforce newly received knowledge and get ready for a potential job interview. Finally, you will get an easy access to jQuery source code to be able to get up and running with first practical steps in no time.
The given book is believed to provide one of the easiest ways of mastering jQuery thanks to a rather simple and accessible language, clear examples and bright analogies, and, of course, effective material structure. Considering its unbelievably low price ($2.99), you should definitely give it a try.
jQuery in Action by Bear Bibeault, Yehuda Katz and Aurelio De Rosa
- jQuery’s traversing of HTML documents;
- Events handling;
- Visual effects and animations available with jQuery;
- Plugin creation;
- Code unit testing;
- Creating comprehensive front-end applications;
- …and more.
Each newly introduced concept is presented by a unique code snippet taken from a real-world study case, so there is literally nothing in this book you can’t encounter on a regular basis. It’s also worth noting that the guide’s latest edition is fully updated with jQuery 3 features, which makes it one of the most up-to-date learning sources.
The readers themselves find this guide appealing especially because of thoroughly processed and reorganized content, which makes it much easier for them to understand the topic. Neat explanations tend to get to detail conveying not only what happens but also why it happens. In addition, you get access to run-in-browser labs where you can practice your skill and be able to see the results of your work right away without the need for writing the whole code from scratch.
A paperback version of the book is now $40.21 on Amazon.
The book perfectly suits both novices and more experienced developers, but if you feel that you lack something in general web programming, feel free to also check out another book by the same author – HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites.
jQuery: Novice to Ninja by Earle Castledine and Craig Sharkie
What makes this guide so digestible, according to the reviewers, is the author’s good sense of humor, which adds up to the overall reader-friendly delivery of the material. In addition, even if you miss certain points during your work on practical tasks, you can go back to theory presented by clear and concise terms and examples. However, if, by the end of the book, you still feel like you missed something, you can always fill in gaps in your knowledge by reading additional jQuery sources.
A paperback copy of the book is available now for $28.25 on Amazon, while its electronic version will cost you just $15.66.
jQuery for experienced developers
jQuery UI in Action by T.J. VanToll
This guide is specifically devoted to a jQuery-dependant library called jQuery UI. It’s most often used as a tool for creating rich web applications through a set of various visual effects and widgets. As of the book itself, it provides the reader with a complete vision of the library and its key techniques and interaction types.
With this book, you’ll be able to quickly move from relatively simple practices, such as creating a datepicker and placing it on a page, towards more robust UI elements as part of a full web application. Moreover, you’ll learn how to adapt various page components to different devices, thus working on making your website user-friendly. You’ll also master major interactions available with jQuery UI – Draggable, Droppable, Resizable, Selectable, and Sortable. Combined with bright examples on how to use jQuery UI widgets and effects, this book can become а #1 guide towards an advanced website customization.
The author of the book is one of the core members of the initial jQuery UI team members, which only adds up to its authority. It’s also worth noting that jQuery UI in Action covers the 1.11 version of the library, which makes it a bit outdated, but still pretty helpful for the majority of front-end developers willing to improve their websites’ functionality with jQuery.
The book’s price on Amazon is now $36.68 for a paperback copy.
Murach’s jQuery, 2nd Edition by Zak Ruvalcaba
Sections 2 and 3 shed light on jQuery itself as well as its smaller brother jQuery UI. Having mastered all featured techniques and practices, you will manage to build full-fledged high-performance code and provide your web apps with all the features that cannot be left out these days, such as image swaps & rollovers, accordions, carousels, tabs, etc.
The 4th section is dedicated primarily to JSON and Ajax and how you can make them part of your web page functional so that you could obtain required data from the server without reloading it. You can also see how these tools are used with API-based web applications (found on websites like Flickr and Google Maps) as well as with HTML5 APIs, such as Web Workers, Web Storage, and Geolocation.
The last section touches upon using jQuery for developing mobile apps and in a mobile manner. This one is said to be the easiest part in terms of conception, so it should be accessible enough even for beginning developers.
The book is now available in paperback on Amazon for $45.72.
jQuery Pocket Reference by David Flanagan
Referring to its name, the book is considered as an option for more experienced web developers who use jQuery on a daily basis and would like to have faster access to the library’s less popular/advanced features. The author provides deep insights into jQuery’s rich repertoire which allows you to create complex web applications with as minimum of code as possible.
The book tries to convey important jQuery concepts with little text and a great number of handy tips and wise notes based on real-life experience of the author. Specifically, you’ll get to know the following:
- how to work with jQuery document elements;
- how to distinguish and handle various events;
- how to use jQuery for creating cool effects and animations;
- how to write HTTP scripts by using AJAX functional;
- how to leverage other essential jQuery elements, such as selectors, selection methods, plugins, utilities, etc.
According to the reviews, the book seems to lag behind a bit in terms of its relevance, which is actually due to it having been published in 2010. But although it does not consider the latest updates in jQuery, it nevertheless does represent a pretty good source of knowledge. Thus, web developers that are in need to clarify certain topics can use this reference for further improvement of their current projects.
Due to being a relatively old book by now, it now costs only $8.86 on Amazon. You can also purchase it as a Kindle e-book for $7.69.
A Smarter Way to Learn jQuery by Mark Myers
This book claims to make the knowledge of jQuery literally stick in your mind thanks to the author’s revolutionary approach to learning. It’s provided with around 1,500 accessory online exercises that help the learner acquire the skill, not just bare facts and concepts. That is why the given guide can become an effective substitute for a real teacher – it makes you practice all the way through the book, and it largely contributes to fast and productive learning process.
You can buy the book’s paperback version for $19.08, and its Kindle version – for just $7.99. Practical exercises and tests are provided to you free of charge.
jQuery Design Patterns by Thodoris Greasidis
This one would give you a nice addon to your existing jQuery knowledge, specifically because it puts more emphasis on jQuery design patterns which might be of need when optimizing complex jQuery-based applications. The author gives a thorough review of the library’s most frequently used patterns – observer pattern and deferred observer pattern – as the main techniques for an effective event management. Apart from that, you will learn other jQuery patterns, including module, facade, and widget, that will help you handle more complex front-end issues.
The first chapter of the book gives a general overview of the jQuery library and its primary features, thus allowing you to refresh your knowledge of the topic before you move to more complex concepts. Then, step by step, you’ll be presented with various design patterns that are relevant for keeping your website up and running. Next, you’ll find out about the most popular front-end templating techniques and libraries with a bit of handy tips on successful plugin development. Finally, you’ll be given a number of practical tasks that will allow you to reinforce newly acquired skills.
Overall, the book covers the following topics:
- building response to user actions;
- writing flexible code by using a minimal set of tools;
- developing a central point for handling events;
- dividing the given application into smaller independent modules;
- dealing with complex APIs;
- separate production of complex application parts;
- leveraging asynchronous processing with the help of jQuery Deferred and Promises;
- Introduction to major client-side templating libraries for more advanced web design cases.
The paperback version of the book is now $39.99 on Amazon.
jQuery for Designers by Natalie MacLees
Now, this one is written for web developers as well, so don’t think it’s somehow related to graphic design. So if you have already acquired some skill in HTML and CSS, welcome to the world of interactive web design ruled by the jQuery library. Among the major things you’re up to learn with this book are:
- ways of using jQuery for intense website optimization;
- using modular pattern to building interactive elements for your apps;
- everything that concerns jQuery itself, including interactive front-end design, building dynamic web apps, and more.
- How to prepare your website for jQuery integration;
- How to build basic web interfaces containing tabs and custom tooltips;
- How to use accordions for improving your FAQ page;
- How to use jQuery’s visual effects to create interactive, animated drop-down menus;
- How to display images, videos, and other content on your page in special lightboxes;
- How to leverage the power of slideshows, sliders, and carousels;
- How to use jQuery for creating high-end responsive design and topography;
- How jQuery can help identify user actions on your web page and timely respond to it.
The book costs $39.99, and it’s totally worth it, unless you’re completely unfamiliar with web development, of course.
jQuery Gems by Greg Sidelnikov
Every “gem” the book presents is, in fact, an isolated case analysis which allows you to solve immediate problems without wasting time on unnecessary explanations. Overall, there are around 46 different case studies that cover the most frequently occurring jQuery issues and allow you to feel more confident when building complex web applications of your own. In addition, the book also has pretty much straight-forward illustrative graphs that provide even more aid to the reader.
While some might think that the book won’t offer anything new to the experienced developers, the actual book’s reviews on Amazon state quite the opposite. For instance, it covers some additional details on DOM elements and their role in building interactive web design with jQuery, which is often left out in other books. Moreover, the author explains why certain objects do what they do and how a developer can use them for improving their project. As a result, you get not only a reference book on jQuery but a valuable source of wisdom which will prevent you from potential mistakes in the future.
The book is only available in a form of a Kindle e-book which will cost you just $3.25.
Practical jQuery by Ankur Kumar and Mukund Chaudhary
The author of this book claims that, while it may be pretty easy to grasp the basics of jQuery, it’s not that easy to comprehend its hidden opportunities that exist to add complete automation to your web development process. Perhaps, these are the opportunities you were looking for when you were struggling with one of those long-running projects of yours. Essentially, this is what the book tries to convey, page by page.
At its core, the book will teach you:
- how to use jQuery for managing DOM elements on your web page;
- how to build handy plugins to extend the library’s initial functionality;
- how to create stunning visual effects and animations for improving the look of your website;
- how to deal with certain practical cases and avoid troubles in your app;
- how to test your code to ensure it works at the peak of its potential.
The book is now $44.99 on Amazon, but you can always purchase an e-book version costing as much as $31.72.
jQuery for specific purposes
Beginning jQuery 2 for ASP.NET Developers by Bipin Joshi
First of all, the book will show you how to properly integrate jQuery with ASP.NET settings thus ensuring smooth in-browser event management. Then you will learn how to build and maintain dynamic web content by providing it with responsive features. Another important topic – visual effects and animations – is the most extensive one today due to its fantastiс opportunities in modern front-end development. Of course, a separate part of the book is also devoted to jQuery’s top-notch technology Ajax and its key ability to load new data from server to browser without reloading a page. Finally, you will be introduced to the library’s special mobile framework allowing you to create web applications that would work equally fine across all types of devices.
The book’s paperback copy is now $44.99, while an equivalent e-book – $31.72.
jQuery Game Development Essentials by Selim Arsever
Apart from being a perfect tool for building powerful modern websites, jQuery also provides a great opportunity for a creative mind. With this famous library, you’ll be able to develop full-fledged browser games of various styles and genres. The only thing you need is your willingness to explore beyond the conventional.
Throughout the book, you’ll be shown practical techniques of using jQuery’s functionality for building RPGs, platformers, and arcade games, and how you can later integrate them to various social media. What’s more important, jQuery Game Development Essentials includes entire chapters devoted to adapting your web games for the mobile devices, which is a real modern-day issue. To ensure maximum productivity, you will build your own framework using a set of various design patterns available in jQuery.
The book will start off with traditional game dev concepts, such as parallax scrolling, tie-maps and sprite animations, as seen from the perspective of jQuery. As of practical realization, you will often be referenced to the current gaming industry to see how popular studios incorporate key techniques for their own projects. Furthermore, you will be introduced to major animation techniques and visual effects you can use to optimize the look of your future game. By the end of the book, you will possess enough power to leverage all the potential jQuery can offer.
You can purchase this book on Amazon for $44.99 or download its digital version for half the price – $26.99.