Book Review: Instant jQuery UI Starter

Jesse Boyer
£5.14 (eBook)

Reviewed by:
On Friday, 28 June 2013
Last modified:Friday, 17 January 2014


An interesting whistle stop tour which introduces newcomers to some of the basics of jQuery UI.

“Discover how you can create rich end-user experiences for your web applications with JQuery UI”.

In this review we will be taking a look at the book “jQuery UI Starter”, from author and programmer Jesse Boyer, and published by specialist publisher Packt Publishing (ISBN: 978-1782168232) under it’s “INSTANT” collection. Packt Publishing “INSTANT” collection currently comprises over 100 short focused guides (40 to 80+ pages) on a varied range of technical subjects including Axure RP, Nagios, jQuery, Magento, Hadoop, and Moodle.

In particular we will be taking a look at the e-book version (using the Amazon Kindle) however the book is available in both printed and electronic formats available directly from the Packt site and other online vendors including Amazon.

jQuery UI Starter

jQuery UI StarterInstant jQuery UI Starter” is short fast track introduction, for newcomers, to the user interface extensions built on-top of the open source jQuery framework. As such it assumes prior knowledge of JavaScript and jQuery itself. Running at just 46 pages the book is very short but aims to get you started very quickly.

jQuery UI consists of four key sections: Interactions (e.g., draggable, droppable), Widgets (e.g., accordion, slider, tabs), Effects (add class, colour animation, switch class) and Utilities (position, widget factory) however the last one, Utilities, is not covered in this book. It’s not clear as to which version of jQuery UI the book is actually based upon. The currently available (as at 28th June 2013) stable version of jQuery UI is 1.10.3  (which supports jQuery 1.6+).

First up, when downloading the jQuery UI library, as described in the first section of the book, “Installation”, it is better to head into Download Builder, accept the defaults but select the Smoothness theme, and click the Download button at the bottom of the page. This will ensure the folder structure is the same as that highlighted in the book. If you download the “Stable library” from the homepage the compressed file will only include the contents of the “/development-bundle” folder which may be confusing if you have not used jQuery UI before.

In the book five key sections introduce you to jQuery:

  1. What jQuery UI is and it’s benefits
  2. Quick installation guide
  3. Quick Start
    1. JavaScript Refresher
    2. jQuery Refresher
    3. Console.log debugging
    4. Slider Widget
  4. Top 5 Features as selected by the author
    1. Draggable
    2. Selectable Widget
    3. Effects and UI CSS
    4. Buttons, Checkboxes, and Radio Buttons
    5. Modal Window (pop up box)
  5. People and Places (Official Sites, Articles, Tutorials, Community, Blogs, Twitter)

It’s a shame some of the more interesting modules and features are not covered in the book such as the Accordion, Menu, Utilities, Date Picker, and Framework icons as these are likely to be popular reasons why developers come to jQuery UI. However, the components that are included are interesting for starters. If the code examples were accompanied by screen shots the book could be read more clearly when away from the computer.

A number of the components contained within jQuery UI could fill up INSTANT books of their own (Accordion and Menu for example) and Packt have a number of additional guides including Instant jQuery Drag-and-Drop Grids. For those interested in learning more, following on from this book, a few other titles would be jQuery UI 1.8 and jQuery UI Theme’s Beginner’s Guide.

In Summary: jQuery UI Starter

jquery-ui-starterjQuery UI Starter includes a number of functional and concise code examples. Some things that would be good to see in a future revision of this book include a DOM refresher, screen shots of the code examples in action, the version number of jQuery UI, some illustrative examples of applied jQuery UI, and more “further reading” reference materials.

Overall, it’s an interesting whistle stop tour which introduces newcomers to some of the basics of jQuery UI.

jQuery UI Starter is currently available, from Packt Publishing, for around £13.67 (printed edition) and £5.14 for the Kindle edition (price checked 28th June 2013). Head over to Packt Publishing for more information: jQuery UI Starter | Buy jQuery UI Starter from Amazon.

An interesting whistle stop tour which introduces newcomers to some of the basics of jQuery UI.

Published by

Jason Slater

Jason Slater is a technology blogger and the editor of

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