Taking jQuery Documentation to the Next Level

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jQuery 1.0 solidified a lot of the framework, but it also introduced some neat structural changes.

First up, the framework now builds via make files, so anybody can check out jQuery from subversion and compile either the packed or unpacked jquery.js for use in their website.

Second of all, jQuery now includes built-in testing, and the make file can build the test suite, which the user can then run in his favorite browser to make sure that the latest checked in version is up to snuff. There aren’t a whole lot of test cases written so far, but that should change moving forward (primarily because it’s so easy to add them).

Most important for me, however, has been the inclusion of inline documentation. Beginning with version 1.0 of jQuery, the documentation of the framework is included in the source files themselves, and John Resig, jQuery’s maintainer, has written a parser that will spit out an XML version of the documentation as part of the makefile (a simple make docs will build the documentation).

Visual jQuery

In the run-up to 1.0, I converted the old Visual jQuery site from a Rails-based solution, that required manual entry of functions, into a site that loads the documentation on the fly as it’s committed to the trunk.

For the less-technical, that means that Visual jQuery will now be updated pretty much as soon as jQuery is updated. Lots of people have found the visual documentation convenient and easy to use, and the new version strives to continue that ease of use.

Thanks to John, the file that his parser spits out is very well optimized for sites like Visual jQuery. He has really made good documentation a priority this time around. And from my perspective, a major part of what sets jQuery apart from the competition is its emphasis on providing readable, good documentation. I’m happy to say that jQuery has made the right choice here. Within the next couple of days, John will have fully documented all jQuery functions (there are a few still to go), and the visual documentation will fully represent the jQuery API.

Visual jQuery Magazine

The Magazine

With that, I have a couple of announcements.

  1. Visual jQuery is going to get a major new feature sometime in the next week of two. Specifically, users will have the ability to filter functions (by name and description) through a live-search box. That capability will make it easier to find specific functions.
  2. Visual jQuery is launching a monthly online magazine. It will be released in PDF format, and will be available free of charge. The first issue will include an interview with John Resig, our first in a series of articles about the newest and greatest jQuery plugins, and a visual look at the jQuery Object, the centerpiece of the entire jQuery framework. The Magazine will be released the third Wednesday of every month, so Issue 1 of the Magazine, the September 2006 issue, will be released on September 20.

As always, check out VisualjQuery.com for the latest Visual jQuery Documentation and further announcements about the Magazine.

13 thoughts on “Taking jQuery Documentation to the Next Level

  1. Pingback: Taking jQuery Documentation to the Next Level

  2. How about this Cheat Sheet I made, based off visual jquery..

    Download (88kb) Printable One page PDF cheat sheet for Jquery below link:


    hope that helps, notice, its clean and no “made by XYZ” , so use it for what you wish.

    to do:
    I am thinking about making a 2nd page (back side) that will hold extra helpful info such as CSS and XPath Together, and some basic examples.

    printing tips:
    Set printer settings to horzonal paper layout.
    if needed set fit to page option in adobe acrobat.
    black ink only (color not needed)

    it may not perfect cheat sheet , yet it gets the work done!

  3. That’s really a good thing to have a well written, easily accessible documentation. This is exactly what is missing from a lot of other javascript libraries.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. I just started using jQuery a few days ago … the visual documentation is excellent! I look forward to reading the first Visual jQuery Magazine …

  5. Nilesh,
    The PDF looks great. However, I would love to have more documentation such as meaning of the function. Obviously it will increase the number of pages, but it will be immensly useful. If there was a straight visualquery-to-pdf version, it would go straight from my printer to the wall next to my monitor :)

    (I think descrition of methods, example of use, etc. is even more important for jquery since it is a fairly new api and a huge number of people will be newcomers)

    Good work!

  6. Here is Page 2, of Cheat Sheet for Jquery.


    It hold the non function infomration, such as Supported Selectos , Base/Expression/Xpath/Custom , Plugin Authoring basics , etc..

    Goal of this 2 page, cheat sheet was to use it as refrence, yah downfall is its not good for newbies for jquery, i guess you have to know it a bit, before you can really put them to use. well maybe someone else will come out with the Newbie cheat sheets at some point.

    enjoy as always,


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