Getting Started with jQuery

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(For more resources on jQuery, see here.)

jQuery – How it works

To understand how jQuery can ease web client (JavaScript based) development, one has to understand two aspects of jQuery. They are:

  1. Functionalities
  2. Modules

Understanding the functionalities/services provided by jQuery will tell you what jQuery provides and understanding the modules that constitute jQuery will tell you how to access the services provided by jQuery. Here are the details.

Functionalities

The functionalities provided by jQuery can be classified into following:

  1. Selection
  2. Attributes handling
  3. Element manipulation
  4. Ajax
  5. Callbacks
  6. Event Handling

Among the above listed functionalities, selection, element manipulation and event handling makes common tasks very easily implementable or trivial.

Selection

Using this functionality one can select one or multiple HTML elements. The raw JavaScript equivalent of the selection functionality is:

document.getElementByID(‘<element id>’)

or

document.getElementByTagName(‘<tag name>’)

Attributes handling

One of most required task in JavaScript is to change the value of an attribute of a tag. The conventional way is to use getElementByID to get the element and then use index to get to the required attribute. jQuery eases it by using selection and attributes handling functionality in conjunction.

Element handling

There are scenarios where the values of tags need to be modified. One of such scenarios is rewriting text of a <p> tag based on selection from combo box. That is where element handling functionality of jQuery comes handy. Using the element handling or DOM scripting, as it is popularly known, one can not only access a tag but also perform manipulation such as appending child tags to multiple occurrences of a specific tag without using for loop.

Ajax

Ajax is of the concept and implementation that brought the usefulness of JavaScript to the fore. However, it also brought the complexities and the boilerplate code required for using Ajax to its full potential. The Ajax related functionalities of jQuery encapsulates away the boilerplate code and lets one concentrate on the result of the Ajax call. The main point to keep in mind is that encapsulation of the setup code does not mean that one cannot access the Ajax related events. jQuery takes care of that too and one can register to the Ajax events and handle them.

Callbacks

There are many scenarios in web development, where you want to initiate another task on the basis of completion of one task. An example of such a scenario involves animation. If you want to execute a task after completion of an animation, you will need callback function. The core of jQuery is implemented in such a way that most of the API supports callbacks.

Event handling

One of the main aspects of JavaScript and its relationship with HTML is the events triggered by the form elements can be handled using JavaScript. However, when multiple elements and multiple events come into picture, the code complexity becomes very hard to handle. The core of jQuery is geared towards handling the events in such a way that complexity can be maintained at manageable levels.

Now that we have discussed the main functionalities of jQuery, let us move onto the main modules of jQuery and how the functionalities map onto the functionalities.

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