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jQuery: Novice to Ninja

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jQuery: Novice to Ninja, 9780987153012 (0987153013), SitePoint Pty Ltd, 2012
No matter what kind of ninja you are—a cooking ninja, a corporate lawyer ninja, or an actual ninja ninja—virtuosity lies in first mastering the basic tools of the trade. Once conquered, it’s then up to the full-fledged ninja to apply that knowledge in creative and inventive ways.

In recent times, jQuery has proven itself to be a simple but powerful tool for taming and transforming web pages, bending even the most stubborn and aging browsers to our will. jQuery is a library with two principal purposes: manipulating elements on a web page, and helping out with Ajax requests. Sure, there are quite a few commands available to do this, but they’re all consistent and easy to learn. Once you’ve chained together your first few actions, you’ll be addicted to the jQuery building blocks, and your friends and family will wish you’d never discovered it!

On top of the core jQuery library is jQuery UI: a set of fine-looking controls and widgets (such as accordions, tabs, and dialogs), combined with a collection of fullfeatured behaviors for implementing controls of your own. jQuery UI lets you quickly throw together awesome interfaces with little effort, and serves as a great example of what you can achieve with a little jQuery know-how.

At its core, jQuery is a tool to help us improve the usability of our sites and create a better user experience. Usability refers to the study of the principles behind an object’s perceived efficiency or elegance. Far from being merely flashy, trendy design, jQuery lets us speedily sculpt our pages in ways both subtle and extreme: from finessing a simple sliding panel to implementing a brand-new user interaction you invented in your sleep.

Becoming a ninja isn’t about learning an API inside out and back to front; that’s just having a good memory. The real skill and value comes when you can apply your knowledge to making something exceptional: something that builds on the combined insights of the past to be even slightly better than anything anyone has done before. This is certainly not easy, but thanks to jQuery, it’s fun just trying.
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