Author: Tom Negrino & Dori Smith
Publisher: Peachpit Press, 2008
Aimed at: Web developers
Pros: Well written, plenty of hands-on examples
Cons: Covers a lot and necessarily gets complicated
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
A task-oriented approach is used which introduces aspects of the language by way of using it to do "real" things. If you find it difficult to see why you should learn about loops, ifs and all the other constructs of a programming language, then you could well benefit from having the need explained. However, you might also find it difficult to see the overall picture of how a programming language works and how it fits together with the other technologies. The explanations start by building a small web application, working with frames, using images, sing forms and so on. The style is also fast paced with lots of box outs, tips and asides. It is well written and not in the least bit condescending or irritating. The tips and additional comments are in the main mostly useful and helpful.
By the time we reach Ajax, however, the book is starting to change a little - the examples are longer and we have the complexity of the server side to worry about. At this point we are moving away from designing dynamic websites into the field of application development and this means real and often complicated programming. After the fundamentals, an Ajax toolkit, the Yahoo! User Interface, is introduced as a way of avoiding many of the practical difficulties and the book rounds off with a look at some additional technologies - jQuery, JSON and bookmarklets to name just a few.
<Reviewed in VSJ>