When we added comments to the API documentation last January, the idea was to provide a place for members of the community to augment the documentation with their own tips or real-world examples. While this system worked well when it was first introduced, it has become increasingly difficult to manage the enormous amount of spam that it has attracted. We also found that many people were trying to use it as a support system, which it was not designed to do. Because of this, we’re planning to turn off comments on the API site later this week in favor of more directed feedback options:
- If you need help debugging your code or understanding how something works, or if you’re interested in helping others, head to the jQuery Forum or visit #jquery on irc.freenode.net.
- If you’ve found a bug or have an idea for an enhancement, please follow our bug reporting guidelines and submit your report directly to our bug tracker.
- If you notice an error or omission in our documentation and want to help us improve it, we’ll provide a simple contact form for you to fill out.
Once comments are disabled, members of the jQuery API subteam will scour old comments for any information that we can, with the commenter’s permission, roll into the documentation proper.
Observations and Lessons Learned
Even though we’ll be turning off the comment system, having it on the site the past year was a valuable experience. Here are just a few of the observations and lessons we noted along the way:
- When bug reports, feature requests, and calls for help were left in comments, instead of in the bug tracker and forums, they didn’t receive the attention they deserved.
- When well-meaning people replied to requests for help in the wrong channel, they inadvertently contributed to the fragmentation of the community.
- On the other hand, when people introduced and responded to topics in the appropriate channel, there was a much greater likelihood of successful resolution.
- Instructions for writing appropriate comments were often overlooked, regardless of their size, location, or wording.
- The value and accuracy of on-topic comments tends to wane over time as bug-fixes and enhancements are applied.
- Knowing how and when to “prune” comments was a particularly tough challenge. For example, after we revised the wording in an entry to address a comment thread, we felt that deleting the thread was appropriate. Yet, we also regretted not being able to properly thank the people who helped out without contributing to comment noise.
- If a plugin author plugs their project in the comments, is it spam? We didn’t have a good answer to this question, and many others like it, but that didn’t keep us from spending a lot of time stressing over the Right Way™ to handle these situations.
Thanks to the jQuery API Sub-team
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those who have volunteered to commit their valuable time and resources to maintaining and improving the API documentation. The following people are members of the recently formed jQuery API sub-team:
- Adam Sontag
- Addy Osmani
- Alex Sexton
- Dan Heberden
- Dave Methvin
- Eddie Monge
- Jonathan Chaffer
- Karl Swedberg
- Paul Irish
- Richard Worth
- Rick Waldron
- Scott González
- Sean Koole
- Todd Parker
Additionally, thanks to all of those in the jQuery community who have contributed with their suggestions, critiques, and encouragement.
After a long hiatus, I’m happy to present another roundup of jQuery happenings. Keep in mind that this is just a small, fairly random sampling of what has been going on. For more frequent news and announcements, be sure to follow @jquery on Twitter.
Brandon Aaron has been writing a series called “jQuery Edge” on his blog, detailing some of the cool enhancements in store for the next version of jQuery. His most recent, New Special Event Hooks, describes the four “hooks” that make up the new custom event API: setup, teardown, add, and remove. It’s a must-read for anyone working with event-driven jQuery scripts.
Ben Alman describes his jQuery iff plugin: a chainable “if” statement.
Pete Higgins of Dojo fame has written a jQuery pub/sub plugin, “loosely based on the Dojo publish/subscribe API.” His plugin joins other publish/subscribe plugins such as Fling and jQuery Subscribe/Publish.
Paul Irish has ported a YUI3 script to jQuery for his idleTimer plugin. The plugin detects when a user has become idle.
Jonathan Sharp released an XMLDom plugin, which “takes a string of XML and converts it into an XML DOM object for use with jQuery.”
Janko Jovanovic explains his proof-of-concept for Advanced docking using jQuery
Andy Matthews begins a screencast series on jQuery and Air. His first post explores creating a new AIR project in Aptana.
In an audio interview, Nathan Smith and Matt Vasquez discuss their use of jQuery.
Drew Douglass interviewed me recently for Nettuts.
A new site, jQuery List assembles a list of links to an enormous number of jQuery plugins and code examples on a single page.
Sorry about the unplanned hiatus last week. Not sure how long I’m going to be able to sustain this, but here we go again with another weekly roundup of jQuery news…
jQuery + Server-Side Solutions
A common complaint in the earlier days of jQuery was that there wasn’t enough information on how to integrate jQuery with server-side languages (or frameworks), so it’s nice to see a proliferation of tutorials in this area. Here are a few of the recent ones:
Chris Barr used jQuery to create a fun little game, Guessr: Guess the Flickr Tag, which also takes advantage of the jQuery UI ThemeRoller.
Don’t forget to check out This Week in jQuery UI, vol. 6.
Here again is my somewhat arbitrary list of jQuery-related sightings on the web this week.
Featured jQuery App
Elliott Kember, who along with Mike Kus is responsible for creating Twiggy, describes their use of jQuery in the app:
I used a Twitter jQuery plugin from http://tweet.seaofclouds.com/ and it worked just fine. I didn’t use jQuery UI – but I’d be interested to see whether it worked on such a limited platform.
I chose to use jQuery because it’s familiar, reliable and fast. I didn’t want to use custom little libraries and functions which might not work so well. I was really pleased to find that the N96, for one, runs jQuery really well in this runtime. I half-expected the rendering engine to be slow, or buggy, and shoe-horned into the phone somehow, but it’s quite happily running a full, packed jQuery 1.3.2.
jQuery Project Team members Yehuda Katz and Brandon Aaron will be presenting jQuery on Rails on May 4 at RailsConf 2009 in Las Vegas.
A brand new game, jQuery Blackjack is now available on a brand new site, jQuery Love. The game uses jQuery, jQuery UI, and a ThemeRoller theme.
Tutorials and Blog Entries
Don’t forget to check out This Week in jQuery UI.
Another week, another collection of links to some of the most interesting and exciting new jQuery happenings around the web.
- JÃ¶rn Zaefferer’s wildly popular Validation plugin just got updated to version 1.5.2, which includes a slick demo of the plugin’s integration with jQuery UI Tabs.
- DataTables: uses “progressive enhancement” to convert a static HTML table into a much more dynamic data table.
- UI.Layout: allows you to “create any UI look you want – from simple headers or sidebars, to a complex application with toolbars, menus, help-panels, status bars, sub-forms.” While not a part of the jQuery UI project, you can combine it with jQuery UI widgets “to create a sophisticated application.”
Tutorials and Blog Entries
A number of tutorials for incorporating jQuery with Microsoft tools have been written recently:
The folks at Collective Idea have announced a three-day jQuery training course in Holland, Michigan, May 13-15. I’ll be leading the training.
Find out what has happened this week in jQuery UI
A lot has happened this week in jQueryland. Here are a few highlights:
jQuery Core Development
Brandon Aaron has been on a roll the past few days, fixing bugs and enhancing features for the next version of jQuery. Among the updates committed to the Subversion repository were better support for nested fixed position elements and added support for contexts other than document with the .live() and .die() event delegation methods. See the past week’s timeline here.
- A new release of Haineault’s Timepickr plugin is available.
- Diego A. has updated his Star Rating plugin.
- Jason Frame put together a set of “fun little text effects.”
- The new Flexbox acts as a “replacement for html textboxes and dropdowns, using ajax to retrieve and bind JSON data.”
- Not really a plugin, Sunday Morning is a fun jQuery-based translation bookmarklet using the Google Translate API.
Tutorials and Blog Entries
Free Book Chapter
Packt Publishing has posted a sample chapter of the new Learning jQuery 1.3 book. You can download the free PDF.
Don’t forget to check out This Week in jQuery UI
This is the first in what we’re hoping to be a weekly series of blog posts about what is going on in the world of jQuery. We’ll take a look at new or updated plugins, recent tutorials, and other jQuery-related news.
Jonathan Chaffer and I (Karl Swedberg) just had our book Learning jQuery 1.3 published by Packt Publishing. It’s an update of the popular Learning jQuery book, which was released nearly two years ago. The new one features additions to the library (event namespacing, JSONP, new effects methods, etc.) introduced since the release of the first book, improved and extended examples, expanded plugins chapters, and a quick reference to all methods and selectors. It’s available on the Packt website and on amazon.com.
Registration for jQuery Conference 2008 is officially open. Register now to ensure your spot!
As announced, this one-day conference will be held in Boston on Sunday, September 28, and will feature two tracks of presentations (beginner and advanced) from jQuery project members and a few special guest speakers. A registration fee of $50 will help cover the cost of the venue, as well as food, beverages, and T-shirts for all attendees.
We’re finalizing a convenient venue, especially for those who will be attending The Ajax Experience conference the following Monday through Wednesday. We’re still firming up the agenda as well, but you can expect this to be a blow-out event.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at events [at] learningjquery.com
One of the great aspects of jQuery is its extensibility, as evidenced by the many excellent plugins that have been developed for it. The jQuery team, and the Web team in particular, have been working hard behind the scenes to put together a repository to showcase these plugins.
The new repository comes with a few features that are sure to help users to find what they’re looking for and determine which plugins will best suit their needs. There’s the (jQuery-based) ratings widget to let you know how highly others value each plugin. The ratings are viewable by all, and you can rate them yourself by simply registering on the site with a user name and email address. You’ll also have easier access to change logs, demos, and documentation, as well as bug reporting and feature requests.
There are still a few rough edges to be smoothed out, and the list of plugins on the site is admittedly small so far. We’re requesting that plugin authors post their work to the new plugin repository in the next couple weeks, as we’ll be gradually phasing out the plugins wiki page.
Special thanks to Mike Hostetler for the hours of work he put in to get the repository off to a great start.
Check it out at: http://jquery.com/plugins/
The book is being published by PACKT Publishing, based in
Manchester Birmingham, UK. They’re a relative newcomer to the publishing world, but already they’ve managed to put together a pretty impressive group of books, many of which explore open-source software projects. They seem passionate about supporting these projects beyond publishing books about them. In fact, they’ve introduced a royalty scheme that gives a percentage of sales to the open-source project that a book is written about. So, if you buy this book, you’ll be directly supporting the jQuery project. :)
The expected publication date is sometime this July, and the book is already available for pre-order at a 20% discount. The publisher plans to sell a PDF-version of the book, too, but they haven’t set it up for pre-order just yet.
Barring the unlikely major structural change during our revision phase, the (concise) table of contents should look like something like this:
- Introducing jQuery
- Getting Started
- Exploring jQuery
- Selectors, or How to Get Anything You Want
- Events, or How to Pull the Trigger
- Effects, or How to Add Flair to Your Actions
- DOM Manipulation, or How to Change Your Page on Command
- AJAX, or How to Make Your Site Buzzword Compliant
- Using jQuery
- Table Manipulation
- Forms with Function
- Shufflers and Rotators
- Examining jQuery
- Selector Expressions
- DOM Traversal Methods
- DOM Manipulation Methods
- Event Methods
- Effect Methods
- AJAX Methods
- Miscellaneous Methods
- Online Resources
- Development Tools
We’re making good progress on the revisions, and it looks like we’re going to hit our target publication date of July. The publisher has just made the PDF version of the book available for pre-order at a 15% discount. Also, they have a “Book and eBook Bundle” at an enormously discounted price (US $36.79).