A while ago I was approached via e-mail and asked to review (and thus publicize) an e-book via my site by a representative (Dyson D’Souza) of Packt Publishing. (Packt is apparently a UK based publishing company specializing in focused IT books.)
The title in question was Instant Fancybox, authored by a Kyle Diedrick.
Now I’m particularly fond of the fantastic Fancybox jQuery plugin developed by Janis Skarnelis, and have of course mentioned it on numerous occasions in my code-related posts, which is why I guess I was asked to provide a review in the first place.
First of all, I have to say that I was rather surprised to learn that someone had actually bothered writing a book covering the usage of a single jQuery plugin. Sadly this thought rang true as I quickly flipped through the downloaded e-book and realized that my initial reaction had been correct – there really isn’t much point in writing a book about how to use the fancyBox plugin, as all you are really doing is rehashing all the usage/implementation documentation already present on the plugin’s primary download page.
So a pointless exercise then in other words.
Sadly this wasn’t actually the thing that left a slightly bad taste in my mouth. FancyBox is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license. It is still essentially free to use for personal, non-commercial projects as long as you correctly attribute the plugin back to fancyApps, i.e. Janis Skarnelis.
Now for decency’s sake, shouldn’t an e-book that is essentially attempting to make money off Skarnelis’ work at least acknowledge him somewhere in the text?
I would have thought it good manners to do so. (Because of this, I’ve decided not to physically link back to Packt – seems fair to me.)
So in summary, (and while I’m sure Kyle Diedrick is a great guy) this e-book really isn’t worth paying for – and it’s 7.99 UK pounds for 72 pages mind you. The reason? Well, you require familiarity with HTML and jQuery to get something out of this title, but the reality is that if you are familiar with HTML and jQuery, then the existing documentation and usage guides on the primary FancyBox download page is actually more than enough for you to achieve what you need to achieve.
My recommendation: skip in favour of a something more advanced like an in-depth guide to jQuery.