Features, Quality, Time

The idea that there are three simple levers that define a feature or a product is passive-aggressive professional absurdity. There are myriad levers the team can adjust, but to understand them you need to understand the people who are actually building the software.

Michael Lopp a.k.a. Rands from Bits, Features, and Truth

If you haven’t picked up his book Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager yet, you should.

Links and Bits for March 29th

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

pandora (feed #5)
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)

via @wcyarbrough (Yarrrrrr!)

delicious (feed #10)

via @chilkari.

delicious (feed #10)
Shared MephoBox.
googlereader (feed #3)
googlereader (feed #3)
googlereader (feed #3)
delicious (feed #10)
googlereader (feed #3)

jQuery Enlightenment, A Review

jQuery Enlightenment by Cody LindleyA few months ago Cody Lindley asked if I would review his new book, jQuery Enlightenment after he saw me tweet about it. I jumped at the chance, but due to many other projects, this review has seen many delays. My apologies to Cody and to you for not posting this review sooner. That said, I’m very happy to share my thoughts now that time permits and I think you’ll find it useful.

The Short Review

jQuery Enlightenment is great for anyone who has some experience with jQuery and wants to step up their game or is familiar with another JavaScript framework like Prototype or Dojo and wants to ramp up on the increasingly popular jQuery framework. The book is not for complete beginners, but if you have a foundation, you’ll be able to jump right in and learn.

At $15 for the PDF ebook, it’s a no-brainer. Buy a copy.

Two Quick Notes

First: when Cody released this book, jQuery was at 1.3.2. Between then and the time of this writing, jQuery 1.4 has been released. While there are some key differences introduced in 1.4, I don’t think they detract from Cody’s work.

Second: Cody gave me a copy of the book in return for this review. Luckily, I really like the book, so I feel confident in staking my reputation on the recommendation. I’m not receiving any form of affiliate payment for encouraging you to buy the book.

A Longer Review

So, obviously I like it. Here’s why.

It’s Accessible

Cody’s writing style is friendly and he has a knack for transforming complex concepts into understandable knowledge that you can quickly apply. He’s included a wealth of code, even better, he’s posted all the samples on JS Bin for easy access.

Additionally, as the file is a PDF, it is easy to take it with you on your phone, or using my favorite method – DropBox, which maintains the file across multiple machines. Keeping your copy open makes it easy to search for a particular event, effect or method while you’re working.

It Covers What You Need to Know

jQuery Enlightenment starts by explaining core jQuery concepts, quickly moving into more detailed and advanced topics. While I won’t reiterate everything (check out the table of contents on the site), I think it’s important to list some of the key concepts he does cover to show the breadth of the book:

  • Traversing the DOM
  • HTML manipulation, including a chapter on forms
  • Events and Effects
  • AJAX
  • Performance Best Practices
  • Writing a jQuery plugin

Yeah, Cody covers a lot in this book. While I’m by no means an expert, I’m comfortable with jQuery and I learned a lot. For example, I had somehow missed the existence of preventDefault() and stopPropogation(), so I’ve relied on return: false. This works most of the time, but now I know that there’s extra granularity available to me should I need it. Nice.

Oh and don’t miss the gems in Chapter 12 (Miscellaneous Concepts) as he’s thrown in some very useful knowledge there at the end.

Wrapping Up

So, as I noted at the beginning, I think this is a great book and an easy purchase decision if you are familiar with JavaScript and are interested in jQuery.

Grab a Copy and Tell Us What You Think

I’d love to hear your opinion on the book. Would you recommend it too? Let me know in the comments.

Links and Bits for March 22nd

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

googlereader (feed #3)
googlereader (feed #3)
googlereader (feed #3)
delicious (feed #10)

"Here are four tips for navigating the typographic ocean, all built around H&FJs Highly Scientific First Principle of Combining Fonts: keep one thing consistent, and let one thing vary."

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)

"Vector based icons created to aid in the design, development, implementation and promotion of multi-touch interfaces."

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
pandora (feed #5)
delicious (feed #10)

"In this article you will learn the two common methods used for creating isometric illustrations and how to create them in Illustrator."

Links and Bits for March 15th

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

googlereader (feed #3)
delicious (feed #10)

A great example of a working and useful project status board.

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)

jQuery plugin for "creating dynamic character and background animation in pure HTML and JavaScript"

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)

via @robertbanh

Say Hi at South-By

Keep an eye out for my dome

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”

March is glorious here in Austin. The weather is both beautiful and mysterious – two weeks ago we had snow and now we’re enjoying sunny days and 80° weather. Even better than the newly arrived birds and gorgeous afternoons is the geek population explosion. For one week of the year Austin is smarter and snarkier than any other point (followed by a week where it’s not as smart, but much more fashionable).

Let’s Connect

Suffice it to say, I’m in my element and positively psyched. I hope you are too. If you’re coming to Austin, please say hello if you see me. If you’re coming by yourself and you don’t think you know anyone – well, you know me, so say hi. I’ve included my picture so you can recognize me among the thousands and you can also connect with me on Twitter, Gowalla and Foursquare if you want to keep up with where I am and plot a course to intercept me somewhere.

Rollin’ Without a Plan

I’ve decided to skip the scheduling dance this year. I never stick to what I plan panel-wise, choosing to go with the flow and follow the recommendations of friends. On the party front, I’ve RSVPed for everything I’ve seen, but again it will all depend on who I’m with, whether there’s a line (I tend to skip those) and the mood at the moment. There are a couple of parties I do plan to hit no matter what, including the Big Ass Twitter Happy Hour Thursday evening, the Refresh SXSWi Kickoff Lunch on Friday and the Demand Media/Do512/CLEAR Party on Monday.

So say hi when you see me!

Links and Bits for March 8th

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
googlereader (feed #3)
Shared Price Points.
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
Shared Appcelerator.

"Use Appcelerator Titanium to build mobile apps for iPhone & Android and desktop apps for Windows, Mac OS X & Linux from Web technologies"

delicious (feed #10)
Shared DropNotice.

via @damon "Amazon.com price drop and in-stock notifier"

delicious (feed #10)
googlereader (feed #3)
googlereader (feed #3)
delicious (feed #10)

Links and Bits for March 1st

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

generic (feed #8)
delicious (feed #10)
Shared Lazy Load.

a jQuery plugin that delays loading images that arent visible in the view port until the user scrolls them into view.

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)

A very interesting discussion on FontFonts choice of pricing models for Web fonts.

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)

"a project to review the performance of 3rd party content such as ads, widgets, and analytics."

The Distant Executioner »

During World War II, snipers were seen as a spooky, merciless “Murder Inc.” by other soldiers—the brutal intimacy of their kills made them a breed apart. But in Afghanistan, where avoiding civilian deaths is a top priority, U.S. military sharpshooters may have found the war that needs them most.

When No News Is Bad News »

A former managing editor of The Chicago Tribune probes the collapse of the newspaper industry and tries, mostly in vain, to find hope for the future of journalism.

Brutal Attraction: The Making of Raging Bull »

Raging Bull began as Robert De Niro’s obsession, but the only man he believed could film it, Martin Scorsese, wasn’t interested—until the director’s near-fatal collapse gave him a visceral connection with the story of troubled boxing champion Jake La Motta. Three decades on, the author tells how one of Hollywood’s great friendships, forged by Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, drove Scorsese’s finest film.

The Distant Executioner »

During World War II, snipers were seen as a spooky, merciless “Murder Inc.” by other soldiers—the brutal intimacy of their kills made them a breed apart. But in Afghanistan, where avoiding civilian deaths is a top priority, U.S. military sharpshooters may have found the war that needs them most.

Brutal Attraction: The Making of Raging Bull »

Raging Bull began as Robert De Niro’s obsession, but the only man he believed could film it, Martin Scorsese, wasn’t interested—until the director’s near-fatal collapse gave him a visceral connection with the story of troubled boxing champion Jake La Motta. Three decades on, the author tells how one of Hollywood’s great friendships, forged by Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, drove Scorsese’s finest film.