A couple minor blog updates

I had some time over the weekend and tweaked a couple of things in the sidebar to take advantage of some capabilities within WordPress that I hadn’t used before (showing recent comments, for instance), shuffled the order of the sidebar to make more sense (at least to me), and then added a bit of jQuery goodness to allow a couple of the sidebar panels to be collapsed and expanded.

We’ve been incorporating jQuery into more and more of the apps we’re building at work and I’ve been amazed at the kinds of things that can be done in a matter of just a few lines of JavaScript. Adding the ability to collapse and expand those sidebar panels is a total of about 15 lines of code and the only change to the page layout was to add a the request to load the jQuery file itself in the page header and to add a CSS class or two to the elements that provide the collapsing/expanding and to those that get collapsed/expanded.

Anyone interested in learning jQuery should consider two books, both by Jonathon Chaffer and Karl Swedburg: Learning jQuery: Better Interaction Design and Web Development with Simple JavaScript Techniques and jQuery Reference Guide: A Comprehensive Exploration of the Popular JavaScript Library. Both are published by Packt Publishing, Ltd. It’s rare that I find technical books these days that I consider worth purchasing in lieu of or in addition to on-line references or tutorials, but these are two: well-written, actually readable, and they combine to provide a great introduction to what this amazing library can do and how to take advantage of its capabilities.