JqGrid is an ajax enabled jQuery plugin for showing and editing data in a grid. I’ve been using jqGrid extensively throughout my projects, and created an Html Helper to ease the implementation in ASP.NET MVC. Because of my experience with jqGrid, Packt publishing asked me to review one of their latest books, Instant jqGrid by Gabriel Manricks.
The book is mainly focused on people starting with jqGrid, experienced users will probably know most of the stuff that is written in the book and is of no added value to them.
The book can be divided in two parts. The first part teaches the jqGrid basic concepts, installation and walks you through the steps of creating your first grid. The second and biggest part is called ‘Top 7 features you need to know about’ and takes a deep dive in the most important features of jqGrid.
Covered in the second part are formatters, adding controls, editing data, connecting to a backend server and a description of some common methods and events of the jqGrid API. I especially liked the the example of connecting jqGrid to the backend. The backend code is written in PHP, but should easily be understood by developers of other platforms. The example shows how to retrieve data from the server, and page, search and edit data on the server, which are the core features of jqGrid. The author describes every step thoroughly and in a clear and simple form.
What I missed in the book is how to deal with custom styling. It is mentioned you can use jQuery UI themeroler, but doesn’t give any information or example how to further customize the styling of the grid. Also I thought it was too bad the author did not mention the option of virtual scrolling when describing the pager, which I like very much and is easy to implement.
The book is very easy to read and to follow. After going through the book, and the examples, a developer should have a sound knowledge of jqGrid, and be able to customize the grid to their needs. I remember the pain going through the online documentation and examples when I first started with jqGrid, this book is a real time-saver for people who want to start working with jqGrid. Not every feature or option is covered in the book, it only counts 58 pages, but I think gives you enough baggage to get started and explore more features, like subgrids, treegrids and data grouping, on your own using the online documentation and examples.