I like Packt Publishing books for their simplicity and a chance to get starting knowledge on some topic without investing too much time. So recently I had a chance to try "Instant" series which provide short, fast, focused guide with immediate results.
The book focuses on Gridster, a drag-and-drop jQuery plugin which recently ended in my "check it out when you will have some available time" list. As the web moves forward you should constantly look for a chance to provide something new and interesting for you visitors and Gridster might be what you need. I'm sure frontend developers could think of a lot of interesting ways to use this plugin, however as a backend developer I was thinking more about enhancing the experience for the backend users. It can be really useful to provide customizable dashboard and layout for you backend users, because everyone has his personal preference, and something that works for one user might push away someone else.
The book is split into six recipes which get more and more complex (not that complex that you might decide to look at the ceiling for an hour or two) and adds more features of the plugin and examples how you can use them. You can download the source code with all recipes if you don't feel like typing it yourself and just follow the step-by-step instructions and expanded explanation of how it works.
However, the book ended a bit abruptly, at least for me. I knew I was somewhere near the end, but one more quick recipe or at least conclusion/summary would have ended the book nicely.
In conclusion if you want to use Gridster for your project and don't feel like reading plugin documentation (which is quite poor at the moment) to figure out how it works, the book is definitely worth a read. It would give you a jump-start in an hour or few so you could start implementing interesting layout solutions in your projects.
After proofreading my review I think some might still be wondering why they should spend money on the book then they can read the documentation for free (remember I'm still new to the writing so please bear with me, I will get better at it). In my opinion it all leads to financial reason (or available time resources). If your hourly rate is small/nonexistent or you just have a few bored hours hiding in the corner you can definitely learn it by documentation or source code. If on the other hand your hourly rate is a bit higher or you need something working ASAP without wondering "what is this variable for?" the time saved compensates the cost of the book. Don't get me wrong, checking documentation and source code can be a great learning material, but it's a rare luxury messing around with something for hours. When a project manager says "The project requires these new features, it should be finished two hours ago" you just need to cut some corners to save your .. ummm .. bottom pillow.