Learning React, 2nd Ed

Author: Kirupa Chinnathambi
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Date: June 2018
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-0134843551
Print: 013484355X
Kindle: B07CQPL2BM
Audience: Would-be web developers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

React - the new kid on the block, but this book is a 2nd edition. Not so young any more.

Is the enthusiasm for React wearing off? Probably and who knows what might have happened by the time you read this review. Even so interest is hardly likely to go to zero and so a well -established book is likely to continue to be well established.

This is the second edition of a book that is very definitely aimed at beginners. I'd say its ideal reader was an HTML/CSS expert who knows some JavaScript. But be warned, this is not for you if you don't know any JavaScript at all because React is a JavaScript framework. 

Chapter 1 starts off very slowly with an explanation of how a traditional web site has evolved into a single page app. You get a presentation of why React is so wonderful and, it might be just me, but I'm not sure the author actually thinks it is so wonderful. Chapter 2 gets on with a small example. At this point you might begin to realize how slowly the material is going to be introduced.   


Chapter 3 moves on to components which is a key feature of using React. Chapter 4 explains how you style things using code. Again, I get the impression that the author isn't too enthusiastic about giving up CSS and going to code.

Chapter 5 begins to move a little faster with the construction fo some more complex components. Chapter 6 is about transferring property and Chapter 7 is a deeper look at JSX, React's layout language. From this point on the topics are introduced in small chunks, a chapter to each: State, Data, Events, component lifecycle, DOM elements and external data.


Chapter 15 is the first of a set of chapters that look at applications with a simple ToDo list. Chapter 16 is about a sliding menu and Chapter 17 deals with avoiding unnecessary rendering. Chapter 18 is the biggest example - a single page app using the React Router. The final two chapters are about Redux, a state management package. Of course you don't have to use Redux with React.


This is a very slowly paced book and if you are a reasonable JavaScript programmer you might want something that moves faster and doesn't spend so long on the basics. I also have to warn you that the author has a quirky sense of humour and occasionally you might be irritated by some of the things that are included just to be "cute". Personally I found the conversational style very acceptable, but you might not.

If you are struggling to get into React, or any client side framework for that matter, then this is highly recommended with the warning that you still might find it slow at first. If you are familiar with any other framework, or are confident in JavaScript/ HTML/ CSS, then you might not find it at the right level for you - you probably don't need a getting started book at all!

Further Reading

The Programmers Guide To React 


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Essential Skills for the Agile Developer

Author: Alan Shalloway, Scott L. Bain, Amir Kolsky & Ken Pugh
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-0321543738
Print: 0321543734
Kindle: B005HXMZ0S
Audience: Newcomers to agile methodolgies
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Andrew Johnson


A "stop-gap" title that forms part of the  Net [ ... ]

Healthy SQL

Author: Robert Pearl
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 408
ISBN: 978-1430267737
Print: 1430267739
Kindle: B01IQP3HPU
Audience: DBAs and developers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Ian Stirk

This book aims to ensure your SQL Server databases are healthy, how does it fare?

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2018 )