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jQuery Air: An outstanding introduction to jQuery

Code School is a fascinating new provider of video lessons for programmers. In the past I reviewed their Rails Best Practices course and certainly didn’t hide the fact that I’m a fan of their approach. It combines modular video lessons with practical exercises (called challenges), game-like rewards with scores and virtual badges, and also includes a handy support forum in case you get stuck.

Recently Code School released their second course, which is devoted to jQuery (it’s currently on sale for $45, and is also available as a bundle with their earlier Rails course). The unusual name, jQuery Air, comes from the fact the course’s theme is airplanes.

The course starts with the basics of JavaScript; it doesn’t explore this area exhaustively, instead it tries to cover just enough ground to quickly move onto the actual jQuery material. This early phase focuses on the history of JavaScript, basic data structures like numbers, strings, arrays, and maps, as well as how to use named and anonymous functions.

The rest of the course covers everything you’d expect it to (such as DOM querying and manipulation, element visibility, timing issues, transitions, and animations). There’s also a bit of AJAX tossed in at the end for good measure, but not really enough to call it a topic that this course covers with any degree of detail.

jQuery Air

Jeff Casimir is a fun, confident teacher with a clear, easy to understand style. He introduces you to some of the best practices as you write JavaScript and jQuery code, always reminding course participants about the separation of concerns/responsibilities when it comes to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

No bones about it, this is the best introduction to jQuery I’ve encountered. In few hours you’ll be able to understand how jQuery works, as well as how to take advantage of it for your own web applications.

If you watch the videos and work on the challenges tonight, you’ll be ready to work with jQuery by tomorrow morning. You won’t become an expert overnight, but you certainly shouldn’t be be leery of the DOM either. This course sets outs a very solid foundation upon which you can easily continue to build and further your knowledge of, and experience with, JavaScript and jQuery.

These days jQuery has become the de facto library for JavaScript development on the web, and learning it is now paramount for most web developers. Worth noting as well is that jQuery is also going to be the default library for Rails 3.1, thus making it of even greater relevance to many of this site’s readers.

As a prize for completing the challenges you’ll get a free screencast from Peepcode. I went with the CoffeeScript one, given that this will also be included by default in Rails 3.1.

Buy this great course now, thank me later. :)

I truly look forward to seeing further installments of this jQuery series, as well as more advanced courses that cover different languages and technologies.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of the course. The links to Code School contain my referral id. Theses points do not affect in any way my judgment of what is, indisputably, an outstanding introduction to jQuery.


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5 Responses to “jQuery Air: An outstanding introduction to jQuery”

  1. encoder says:

    it has jquery and js…

    today i lost 20 minutes because of the loose nature of it. screw that!

    lets you compare [undefined] with numbers .. lol.

  2. Enrico says:

    The videos are well made, you can see the effort they’ve put in the whole system.

    I’d suggest it only to people completely new to javascript and that never used a js framework before.

    I have a background with Prototype and I used JS a little, and I didn’t feel like I got out of it much more then if I read the API.
    – Ajax is practically not covered (ie. handling response codes).
    – The examples are really basic

    Hopefully the next episode will be more challenging.

    • Enrico, I don’t think you and I are the target audience. It’s an introduction meant to provide the basics of the library/framework. And at that, it’s unbeatable in my opinion.

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