rmurphey Adventures in JavaScript

The Future of jQuery Fundamentals (and a confession)

17 Mar 2011 edit

About 9 months ago, I released jQuery Fundamentals, a free, online training curriculum for people interested in learning jQuery based on material I’d assembled while leading jQuery trainings.

The response was and has continued to be amazing: not only has the book seen hundreds of thousands of visits, but it has also received content contributions and bug reports from dozens of people. It has become something of a collaborative work, and one of the go-to resources for jQuery and beginning JavaScript learning. It has been used to teach classes internally at companies and at colleges and universities, and it’s been translated into multiple languages. It’s even made me a tad bit of money — I recently granted a license to Webucator to create derivative works for their jQuery class — and landed me near the top of Google’s search results for “jQuery training”.

And so here is where we get to the confession part: while I’ve stayed very much in touch with the evolution of jQuery these last couple of years, written gobs of sample code in efforts to make people better at using the library, and even played a bit of a role in some of the new features in jQuery 1.5, the last time I chose the library for a project was in the fall of 2008. The last time I used it on a project at all was in the summer of 2010, and in a matter of a few weeks I was gutting the fragile, bug-ridden, DOM-centric code and re-writing the single-page application with — wait for it! — Dojo. jQuery and I have gone from being in a committed relationship to seeing other people to pretty much just saying hi on Facebook now and again.

This has put me in a strange place with jQuery Fundamentals — I want to be investing my energy supporting projects that I use, and while I can still write jQuery just fine and stay in touch with what’s going on with it, I really don’t … use it. That’s made it increasingly difficult to continue maintaining jQuery Fundamentals as a resource for the jQuery community.

Burying the Lede

At the jQuery conference in Boston last fall, John Resig invited me to participate in a conversation about an effort by the project to create a learning resource for the community, and through the course of that and future conversations, jQuery Fundamentals has found its new home.

I’ve been working actively with jQuery team member (and yayQuery co-host) Adam J. Sontag and community member Dan Heberden to get the book into good shape as it transitions to being “owned” by the jQuery project. I’ve also donated a third of the proceeds of the Webucator licensing arrangement to the jQuery project, to recognize the contributions of the community and to give even a wee bit of financial support to the learning efforts.

Adam, Dan, and I will be working hard to address some of the open issues with the book in the coming weeks. If you’re interested in helping, drop me an email, hit me up on Twitter, or just submit a pull request (though you may want to talk to us first if the solution to an issue isn’t straightforward). From formatting fixes to writing new content to updating the book to reflect the changes in jQuery 1.5, there’s a lot to be done.

What’s Next?

These days I’m working with a fantastic client doing mobile application development with PhoneGap and Dojo. It’s pretty much the most challenging, engaging, rewarding project I’ve had an opportunity to work on in nearly three years of independent consulting. These days, when I get the very inquiries I hoped to get by releasing jQuery Fundamentals in the first place, I direct people to the excellent folks at Bocoup. Slowly, I’m recalibrating my efforts and attention toward the projects that make my day-to-day development life better. As soon as I feel like jQuery Fundamentals is in a good place where I don’t have to worry about its future, you can expect to see a lot more learning-related content coming from me again; just, this time, it probably won’t be about jQuery.

I hope you’ll stick around.