The Dojo Toolkit: Visual QuickStart Guide

Author: Steven Holzer
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-0321605122
Aimed at: JavaScript developers
Rating: 2
Pros: Interesting topic
Cons: Difficult to follow, uninterersting examples
Reviewed by: Alex Armstrong

Dojo is one of the more interesting of JavaScript libraries. It uses the idea of writing JavaScript to modify HTML tags according to additional attributes that the user adds to the tags. It's an elegant and powerful idea but one that you would be hard pressed to discover by reading this book which starts off from first principles but it makes very little attempt to give you the big ideas behind what is being presented. What makes it even more difficult to read is that fact that the examples are constantly forward referencing and using ideas that haven’t been introduced yet.

The examples are presented in long single column layouts to the side of the main text and while this might make them easier to enter if you are typing, it makes them far harder to follow. The examples take the form of complete HTML pages which means there is a lot of repetition of standard tags. It also makes the examples longer than they appear to be – often 20 to 30 lines of HTML and Javascript are used to introduce a handful of new instructions. The level of HTML and Javascript expertise that is assumed is also fairly high and if you are a beginner in need of a simple step-by-step approach you probably aren’t going to follow what is going on at all.

After getting started the book moves on to consider the use of the enhanced Dojo controls – Dijits – textboxes, buttons, combo boxes, sliders, drop down button and so on. Then we meet the layout controls, tooltips, menus, trees, and popup menus. The book closes with a look at some topics away from the user interface. How to implement drag-and-drop and the facilities that Dojo provides for implementing Ajax.

At best this is a cookbook of standard techniques but even here it doesn’t really work because all of the examples are entirely standard and mostly uninteresting.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 01 January 2012 )