java hosting


Title
Author
Publisher
ISBN
Reviewed by
Review text
Category

Your search returned 69 matching documents




Web 2.0 and Social Networking for the Enterprise: Guidelines and Examples for Implementation and Management Within Your Organization
by Joey Bernal


IBM Press
1 edition
October 25, 2009
312 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, December 2009
  (6 of 10)


"Web 2.0 and Social Networking for the Enterprise" is an overview of IBM products for the social networking. (See my review of "The Social Factor" for a better, less IBM specific take on the world while still being written by IBMers.) I also had a "this book is in search of an audience" moment at the beginning. It assumes you haven't heard of AJAX and then goes on to show long detailed code.

As far as product overview, I think the book does well. It covers different IBM offerings (portlets, connections, quickr, etc.) There are many screenshots and the book talks about what each one is good for. There are some tips throughout, but I felt they got buried in the "how to use the tools" descriptions.

If you are working an a shop using IBM social networking products, this is a good guide to them all. My low rating is because I didn't get that's what it would be about from the title or subtitle. I expected it to cover more "guidelines and examples for implementation and management within your organization." I feel "The Social Factor" does that in a less product centric way.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of JavaRanch.

More info at Amazon.com




Head First HTML5 Programming
by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson


O'Reilly Media
edition
October 2011
608 pages

Reviewed by John Wetherbie, November 2011
  (9 of 10)



So, what's in it for you if you buy Head First HTML5 Programming? Well, you'll get a book that focuses on helping you "get" HTML5 and helping you not to forget what you learned. The authors approach this task by providing short introductions to a topic, such as a particular aspect of JavaScript, and then having you work exercises - some paper and some coding. The authors even encourage you to write in the book. Make sure you have a pencil!

Keeping your interest, and hence your attention, is a strength of the book. Lots of pictures and notes all over the place? You bet. Its all part of getting the important information about HTML5 that you want to learn (otherwise why did you get the book?) to your brain. Once they have your attention the authors help you retain the material by presenting it in a variety of ways and having you do a variety of exercises. The exercises are key to getting the knowledge into your head and keeping it there.

The book expects that you know HTML and CSS to some extent and provides very good introductions to JavaScript and its new APIs. The topics covered in the book include:

- An introduction to JavaScript
- Using the Geolocation API in your web pages
- Web apps & JSON
- Being artistic with the Canvas API
- Becoming a video star with the Video API
- Using storage in client browsers
- Using Web Workers to get the job done outside the main JavaScript thread

I highly recommend this book. It is aimed to help you learn, have fun while you're learning, and to help you retain this knowledge so you can go out there and do great HTML5 stuff.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Drupal's Building Blocks: Quickly Building Web Sites with CCK, Views, and Panels
by Earl Miles, Lynette Miles


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
January 1, 2011
384 pages

Reviewed by Roel De Nijs, November 2011
  (7 of 10)



When I got the book I was a complete Drupal newbie, but not a complete CMS newbie (I knew a bit of Joomla!).

I followed a 3-day Drupal course and afterwards started reading this book. Even with this course I'll found the book hard to read, so certainly not for dummies.
I also didn't like the style of writing: the authors fly through difficult concepts and are curiously wordy in explaining simple concepts.
On the positive side this book offers you plenty of keys you won't find elsewhere: from customizing themes to building powerful Views and optimizing queries.
But to get the most out of this book, you'll definitely need to know your basics or you'll get lost on the steep learning curve Drupal is known for.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




The Social Factor: Innovate, Ignite, and Win through Mass Collaboration and Social Networking
by Maria Azua


IBM Press
1 edition
August 23, 2009
272 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, December 2009
  (8 of 10)


"The Social Factor" was a fascinating book that kept my interest easily. It is like a 200 page, easy to read whitepaper. The diagrams were clear. I particularly liked the reasons 3% of energy mined goes to useful IT work and the early adopters/hype cycle graphs. Many of the chapters give tips on how to start/promote Web 2.0 tools. There were useful tips on how to monitor your brand.

Chapter one presents the thesis that we are in the "Social Age" - a new era tantamount to the Industrial Age. The rest of the book covers different Web 2.0/social media facets and how they have affected life/business. These facets include usual suspects - blogs/wikis/tagging/cloud computing/twitter/linked in/etc. The later part of the book covers open source, ideation (idea generation), innovation and mobile effects.

While the book is an IBM Press book, that is because the author and contributors are all from IBM (and it was presumably written on IBM's dime.) It is not a sales pitch for IBM. Some case studies are from IBM and consulting they have done. The few IBM product references are subtle. It is a really good book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the social aspects of everything we do.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of JavaRanch.

More info at Amazon.com




Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting
by Ray Harris


Murach
1 edition
August 17, 2009
760 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, January 2010
  (9 of 10)


My Wii says the 767 page "Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting" book weighs three pounds. Yet it only costs $38.15 with free shipping in the US (at murach.com). Note the book covers CSS as well although the title doesn't mention it.

The book starts with the really basic - what is HTTP - but suggests which parts to skip if you already know these. The book introduced good practices such as accessibility and the least common denominator. It also showed using tools properly such as Firebug.

What I particularly liked: the book source code was easy to download, the exercises got you to try the concepts, Section 508 got a mention, the OO approach.

All examples/applications are self contained. This means there is some repetition. I get it - we need to define the "$" function everyplace if we want to use it. It does get one used to reading JavaScript apps.

I also would have liked some more explanation about WHY one does certain things. The Murach two page layout worked well. In many cases, I chose which side of the page to read which let me read at my own pace.

Overall, I think the book is a great one for starting out with JavaScript/CSS/DOM. Unless you need to carry it around with you.

---

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of JavaRanch.

More info at Amazon.com




Adobe AIR for JavaScript Developers Pocket Guide
by Mike Chambers, Daniel Dura, Kevin Hoyt, Dragos Georgita


O'Reilly
1 edition
April 2008
204 pages

Reviewed by Balaji Loganathan, May 2008
  (8 of 10)


I was trying to learn Adobe AIR and was looking for some good set of learning resources. I found the book "Adobe AIR for Javascript Developers" from O'Reilly by and started reading it online. A cool book, the authors have done great job on presenting the topics as an easilit readable pocket guide. Soon after reading this book, i felt i got the right resource i want for now.
I found this book a bit more than a usual pocket guide.If you are a beginner and don't know anything about AIR, then this book is the best bet.The chapters were well organized to take you from novice stage to advanced stage in AIR.Covers ADOBE AIR 1.0Chapter I and II of this book teaches you many information and technical details about the AIR which might lots of time if you have to get it from Internet.The authors have given lots of code snippets while explaining a topic instead of lots of theoretical text. Some thing that programmers always look for.This book also gives an insight about Webkit engine, architecture of AIR and the security model of AIR. The most interesting part in this book is the "Mini cookbook". The mini cookbook chapter contains worked out samples with complete code explanation. It includes samples that can help you understand (from AIR perspective) Application Chrome, Windowing, File API, File Pickers, Service and Server Monitoring, Online/Offline, Drag-and-Drop, Embedded Database, Command-Line Arguments, Networking, Sound.This book is worth buying for its content coverage and its also very cheap.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Murach's Android Programming
by Joel Murach


Mike Murach & Associates
edition
September 2013
702 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, October 2013
  (9 of 10)



"Murach's Android Programming" follows the style we've come to expect from a Murach book. One side of the page is text description. The other is images, tables and bullet points. This approach lets them deliver on the same book being for both training and reference.

The only pre-requisite listed for reading the book is basic Java. This is true - the book explains everything else - XML, databases, etc. Chapter 1 moves fast to give an overview, but the book circles back and covers everything in depth.

I particularly liked the parts on how to debug and use the emulator. There was very strong coverage of core concepts throughout. I liked that the database overview covered SQL injection. The screens of layouts and widgets were a good use of pictures.

The only thing that didn't feel smooth to me was that I couldn't find a picture of a D-Pad. Or rather I couldn't find one that was labeled that way. (The first reference to a D-Pad was on page 54.) This is minor and it's good when your biggest gripe about a book is something trivial!

"Murach's Android Programming" is a great way to learn how to write your first Android app. You'll get started quickly and then have a reference when you need idioms or how-to's for that app and later ones.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Mike Murach & Associates
edition
September 2013
702 pages

Reviewed by Greg Charles, November 2013
  (8 of 10)



Murach's Android Programming is a good introductory course to Android development. Its style is dry and matter-of-fact, and lacks the visual punch of something like the "Heads First" series, or the conversational tone of various other texts. However, it is clear and accurate, and the many downloadable examples are well integrated into the text, which makes it easy to follow along and try out the techniques as they are presented.

Mr. Murach assumes basic to intermediate Java programming abilities, but otherwise the prerequisites for this book are very low. In addition to covering Android specific topics, he gives thorough explanations of how to set up and use Eclipse, how to work with XML files, and even about event handling and listeners. Seasoned developers will find themselves skimming some of the early sections, but that is certainly better than being lost.

I was disappointed with the Eclipse tooling for Android development and found it very difficult to work with. That's hardly the fault of this text, but I would have liked to see more coverage of alternate tools or at least clearer explanations of how the Eclipse tools are organized, and some discussion of known bugs and advice for workarounds.

In short, this book will get you from no knowledge of Android to being able to write moderately complex apps and deploy them to Android devices. It won't be the only book you'll read if you decide on an Android career, but it will set you down the path.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Mike Murach & Associates
edition
September 2013
702 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, December 2013
  (10 of 10)



Murach's books are more oriented towards practical learning and this one's no different. The book covers the topics in an order and has grouped topics in accordance to their level of complexity and use. The author has chosen appropriate examples to explain these different groups of topics. The examples are not mere use this component that component and print out something, instead they are quite useful and closer to real-world applications.

This is a complete guide to Android programming and I would strongly suggest anyone who wants to learn Android programming to pick this book. The screenshots showing the application layout, IDE options are all very clear. Also there is a very clear appendix which I found to be really useful to setup your Android Development environment. I found the state diagram explaining the states of an Activity to be very clear and it didn't require me to read anything more to understand it.

This book though assumes that you are already familiar with Java, so if you want to learn Java you can pick Murach's Java Programming or any other famous books like Head First Java.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Mike Murach & Associates
edition
September 2013
702 pages

Reviewed by Rob Spoor, December 2013
  (8 of 10)



"Murach's Android Programming" is a good introduction into Android programming. The book requires only basic Java knowledge, and it shows at times. The book sometimes spends a bit too much time explaining code snippets that should be clear for anyone experienced in Java.

The chapters discuss several controls and techniques, using good example apps. Unlike the previous Android book I read this book doesn't stop at the UI, but also explains how to write back-ground services and listen to broadcast events. After reading this book you will be able to write small-scale programs without much trouble.

That said, there are two things that annoyed me about this book:
1) When discussing releasing apps, the book mentions several billing options but then only descrives publishing free applications. When referring to in-app billing or adds, the book literally says "To learn how to add XXX to your app, you can start by searching for "XXX" in the Android documentation". I expected a bit more coverage for these topics. The book might as well not even mentioned the possibilities.
2) The first 16 chapters discuss several topics for creating apps. Chapter 17 then discusses publishing these apps, only for chapter 18 to follow with another possible feature to apps (map support). It's like "you now can create and publish any app you want. Oh wait, here's one thing we forgot". Chapter 18 doesn't refer to chapter 17 in any way, so it wouldn't have been hard to swap the two around. That way, the book first discusses all technical aspects followed by publishing. That would have made more sense to me.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja
by John Resig, Bear Bibeault


Manning Publications
original edition
January 2013
300 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, January 2013
  (9 of 10)



"Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja" has four parts. Two are awesome, one was ok and one went over my head. Let's look at each section in turn.

Preparing for training
The first two chapters cover some important concepts such as how to test, log and watch out for performance problems. I'll be honest. At this point in the book, I was thinking the book was "fair." There was important information but it was a little dry. And there was page of code without any footnotes explaining it and only a brief description after. Luckily I kept reading. Because these two chapters were like a long introduction and nothing like the rest of the book.

Apprentice training
Here the book became fun. The writing style became more vivid and the information became more interesting. The authors point out gotchas and clearly walk you through examples. The code is set up that you HAVE to understand it and not just read along. We were introduced to closures by GENTLY bringing us up to speed and I particularly liked the regular expression coverage.

Ninja training
Advanced statements were covered clearly with pros and cons. I didn't see a warning about eval being slower than other statements but I did see a warning about security implications. I liked the cross browser chapter and advice on how to deal with differences in a supported manner. And the authors didn't just say "use jQuery" which was impressive restraint given we have the creator of jQuery and author of a jQuery book writing this one.

Master training
More than I think I ever want to know about events, the DOM and CSS in JavaScript. I'm treating these chapters as a reference. I wound up skimming because I had trouble focusing on that much detail. It was still good - and if you needed to use the information - it would probably be easier to focus on.

And some overall comments - the book assumes you know the basics of Javascript, HTML and CSS. If you don't, go pick up an intro to JavaScript book before reading this one. If you are doing any non-trivial JavaScript development you need this book. And if you are developing reusable JavaScript code (used on more than a handful of pages), you need this book badly.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




jQuery, jQuery UI, and jQuery Mobile: Recipes and Examples (Developer's Library)
by Adriaan de Jonge, Phillip Dutson


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
November 2012
400 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, March 2013
  (6 of 10)



"jQuery, jQuery UI and jQuery Mobile" is meant to be read on a computer with you trying the examples. I reviewed the print version and was disappointed by three things. (And I was an airplane reading it with no computer or internet so I physically couldn't run the examples.)

1) In the first half of the book EVERY example had all the HTML code to run it. This is overkill in a print book and wastes time reading in discerning the important parts rather than "every document has a head section". And no, the relevant lines weren't highlighted.
2) Many places say things like "it becomes apparent " or "as you can see from running the code". This was immensely frustrating not being able to run the code. Additionally, I can't find an electronic copy of the code on any of the book's pages or referenced in the book. I feel like it was assumed everyone would buy the e-book.
3) There weren't screenshots in the book. This would have been useful for the UI and mobile sections.

There were also many things I liked. The second half of the book had some example snippets that honed in on specific features. Important idioms were covered. I learned a lot about jQuery UI and jQuery mobile. I liked that options for the UI elements were listed in a table without being shoved into a long working example. I really liked the emphasis on performance. And the parts about accessibility.

Some elements were used without defining though. If you weren't already familiar with jQuery selectors, I think the book was too fast moving/jumping around. For example, > was used on page 34 before being explained. Oddly, chapter 8 (about look and feel) was in the mobile section even though it had nothing to do with mobile and was before mobile was introduced. Proofing issue, maybe?

But then there were sections I got nothing out of like here's a list of mouse events; just a statement you can learn by playing. And worse, there is a vital difference between mouseout and mouseleave. The fact that there was a difference was highlighted. What the difference was - not mentioned at all.

Ultimately, the book was fine. It didn't match my learning style and I couldn't get past that.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Hello! HTML5 & CSS3: A user-friendly reference guide
by Rob Crowther


Manning Publications
pap/psc edition
October 2012
560 pages

Reviewed by Greg Charles, December 2012
  (7 of 10)



"Hello! HTML5 & CSS3" gives a fast yet thorough survey of what's new in web development. It's targeted towards experienced web developers looking to understand what's newly possible in web apps and what's up in the near future. In each section, the new features are presented with short but complete examples of how to use them (also available via downloadable source code). There are also helpful pointers on how to handle browsers that don't yet support all these new features, or at least how to degrade gracefully when support is lacking. I found this information very useful since no single browser yet supports all the new features of HTML5, and the still popular IE8 supports frustratingly few of them. This practical advice lets us use many of the new features of HTML5 now, rather than waiting for some imagined future date when our users have all upgraded to modern browsers.

The author intersperses "User Friendly" comics into the text, and frequently uses the characters in sidebars to make additional points about the subject matter or to bring up and answer questions the readers might have. This is similar to the style used by the "Heads First" series, and I found it to be sometimes helpful, but other times distracting. It would definitely be a turnoff to anyone looking for a pure reference book.

Although several appendixes introduce the history of web development, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, I wouldn't recommend this book for a complete beginner to web development. The focus of the book is to show what's new, and I think a beginner would quickly get lost. Even I occasionally got lost in the terminology. The proofreading is also a bit spotty. At times, there seemed to be words or whole sentences missing, and a few of the tables are mislabeled. For the most part, though, this book was very accurate and informative.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




WebSockets
by Scott Mattocks


Developer.Press
1 edition
October 2012
24 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, April 2013
  (5 of 10)



This book is a very short one with around 18 pages of real content. It immediately starts with the history of Web/HTTP and then somehow manages to introduce the concept of WebSockets and its importance. I dont think the history was necessary. Author could have started from Ajax and then introduced Comet and then WebSockets.

And in the introduction chapter there is an example of Pirates which made me a bit confused about my understanding of the WebSockets. In all the introduction occupies close to 50% of the book.

Then when it comes to the real content- there's nothing much useful. In no way I could run those examples without the Server running. And there was no mention of how to go about creating the server for trying out the example code given.

This book on WebScokets is not worth buying because one can find lot of better articles for free on the web. I would not recommend this for buying.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Murach's HTML5 and CSS3
by Zak Ruvalcaba, Anne Boehm


Mike Murach & Associates
edition
December 2011
656 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, February 2012
  (9 of 10)



"Murach's HTML5 and CSS3" covers HTML and CSS from the ground up. It's a great book for starting out as it shows basic constructs. It's also a decent book even if you know "old" HTML and CSS. The repetitive parts are easy to find/skim. Granted the book is heavy (600 pages) for skimming. There are good guidelines/tips on browser compatibility, SEO and accessibility.

The book has a bit of an identity crisis on whether you should know JavaScript. They say you don't need to know it. Then they show a bunch of JavaScript. Then they say it is ok if you don't know it. Then they talk about how to debug it. I think they meant you can copy/paste without being able to write your own.

I do learn some things from the book and the material was well presented. Unsurprisingly, it uses the standard Murach style. One side of the book is text and one side is examples/bullet points. I also like that the book used HTML 5 and CSS 3 properly rather than tacking it onto an older book as an afterthought.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Mike Murach & Associates
edition
December 2011
656 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, March 2012
  (8 of 10)



This book covers all the aspects of web development- HTML, CSS, Javascript, Hosting, tools. The coverage of HTML5 and CSS3 has been blended into the existing approaches of HTML and CSS, so you may not find HTML5 being discussed in a special section. This way one can get an hold of how the HTML5 enhancements can be used with the existing HTML.

The book takes a more practical approach which is what is expected from web development. The code sample is given on one page and the explanation on another- this might be a bit annoying while reading a ebook as one would have to scroll up and down repeatedly.

If you are familiar with HTML, CSS, Javascript then lot of sections might be redundant, but there are lot other content which can be used as a reference. So the initial sections are good for those starting new with HTML and then few sections in jQuery which can be read on demand basis.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Mike Murach & Associates
edition
December 2011
656 pages

Reviewed by Rob Spoor, March 2012
  (8 of 10)



The book follows the Murach style - on the left pages there is text, on the right pages there are screen shots, code snippets, and short summaries of the text on the left. Unlike the previous Murach books I've read, I was never tempted to read only the right pages, as it's all just very good to read.

Although the title is "HTML5 and CSS3", it doesn't limit itself to those new techniques, instead covering large portions of both old and new HTML and CSS versions. That makes the book good for both beginning and experienced web developers. Where needed it also mentions how to create workarounds for browsers that don't support HTML5 and CSS3.

Though in general HTML5 is discussed pretty well, it does fail in a few chapters. These all require knowledge of JavaScript, yet the authors claim this isn't is necessary. I disagree with them. The sections on GeoLocation and Canvas are nowhere near as complete as the previous HTML5 book I've read, and that's really a shame. The JQuery chapter is by far the worst, showing several snippets of code but explaining very little. I'm an experienced programmer, and I once was really wondering what the code was doing because it wasn't explained properly. Surprisingly, the JQuery Mobile chapter is a lot clearer, but that's probably because it actually contains very little JavaScript as JQuery Mobile does a lot under the hood. All in all, I'd definitely suggest getting a proper JavaScript / JQuery book to fill these gaps.

Finally, one thing really annoyed me. The introduction section looks very familiar. It looks as though it's a required section of Murach books about web development. Having already read a few Murach books it really felt repetitive.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Drupal User's Guide: Building and Administering a Successful Drupal-Powered Web Site
by Emma Jane Hogbin


Prentice Hall
1 edition
September 2011
464 pages

Reviewed by Peter Johnson, December 2011
  (9 of 10)



I have used Drupal a little before reading this book and hoped that the book would provide insight into areas that I did not understand.

The book is geared towards non-programmers. It consists of 5 parts:
1) Provides an introduction into Drupal. Shows how to create a simple web site.
2) Covers general web site project management that any developer would already be familiar with. Covers general web-site design issues such as identifying your users, organizing the site information, and ensuring you have permission to post photos or other images.
3) Provides step-by-step details on creating two different types of web sites using both built-in and contributed modules.
4) Digs deeper into various Drupal concepts such as lists of helpful modules, how to use existing content types and add new ones, and displaying contents and menus.
5) Discusses themes, including how to create your own, how to deal with search engine optimization and making the web site accessible to people with disabilities.

In general, I found the step-by-step instructions to be fairly accurate. However, too much time was spent on what to click and not why one should click that. In some cases, so many different settings on way too many pages was required to perform a single task which that it made we wonder whether I would ever be able to repeat that process on my own. In addition, the book didn't provide enough information on what various configuration options would do. Finally, when I got into trouble (which was often), there was no help at all about how to get back to a working state. Not all things worked as indicated in the book. Of course, part of that could be because I used more recent versions of some of the modules which no longer behave as they did when the author used them.

However, if you are willing to take the starting information provided in the book, and spend some time reading the documentation for the many modules described, and experimenting on your own, then the book provides a very decent lists of modules to explore. And in general it did help me to understand Drupal better and make me more confident on building web sites using it.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




HTML5 Guidelines for Web Developers
by Klaus Förster, Bernd Öggl


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
July 2011
320 pages

Reviewed by Rob Spoor, September 2011
  (8 of 10)



After an uninteresting itroduction (do we really care about all the meetings that lead to HTML5?), the book finally starts with why I got it - all the new features! Starting with semantics, the new form input elements and audio/video, the book contains a very lengthy chapter on the new canvas; 71 of the 290 pages are dedicated to this subject. This is caused by all the images, code snippets and, well, many features of the canvas. It's quite an impressive and overwhelming chapter.

After that lengthy chapter you get the complete opposite in the SVG and MathML chapter. There are just 5 pages, and they don't really cover much, stating that these topics require books of their own. This chapter could and should have been omitted.

Next are some more interesting chapters about geolocation, web / offline storage, web sockets, web workers and microdata, to end with a catch-all chapter with all the remaining stuff the authors wanted to mention. Although there are nice features in it, but the chapter feels incoherent.

All in all it's a good book that describes quite a bit of new features. Just don't expect a full reference of what HTML5 does and does not have. Also, be prepared to read a lot of JavaScript. If you don't know it, several chapters are going to be hard to understand.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Ext JS in Action
by Jesus Garcia


Manning Publications
1 edition
November 2010
496 pages

Reviewed by Ankit Garg, March 2011
  (9 of 10)



If you are looking for a resource to learn ExtJS, this book is your guide. Its a wonderful book to say the least. The chapters are well organized and the teaching approach used by the author is really good for anyone learning ExtJS for the first time. The book starts from the absolute basics and moves on to advanced topics covering almost everything you'll need on a job.

The first six chapters cover the basics after which you can skip to any chapter you are interested in. The last two chapters teach you how to use ExtJS in a more manageable and efficient way in your application. The chapters on drag and drop were one of my favorites. The examples in the book make Ajax requests to extjsinaction.com to get a JSON response of random records which help you learn how to use ExtJS with data coming from an Ajax request without worrying about the server side code.

The only reason I've not given this book full 10 horseshoes is because of the errors in the book. You can easily find two to three errors in each chapter and there doesn't seem to be an errata as of now. The errors are not very severe so it can't be held too much against this wonderful book.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Murach's PHP and MySQL (Murach: Training & Reference)
by Joel Murach, Ray Harris


Mike Murach & Associates
edition
November 2010
840 pages

Reviewed by Rob Spoor, February 2011
  (8 of 10)



The book follows the Murach style - on the left pages there is text, on the right pages there are screen shots, code snippets, and short summaries of the text on the left. For experienced programmers it's tempting to skip the entire left pages and focus on the right pages only.

The book seems to be aimed at absolute beginners, as evidenced by the quite basic 6 chapter introduction. After that you'll learn the essentials of PHP and SQL. For experienced programmers there won't be much new information, but beginners will have a field day with these chapters. The book ends with some more advanced topics: security and authentication, sending emails, file handling and image processing.

The book promises that you will "master" both PHP and MySQL. To be honest, it doesn't live up to that promise. It's good for beginners but it doesn't go far enough to call yourself a "master" afterwards. Several topics are handled too briefly, especially regular expressions and database normal forms. These are quite advanced topics yet they take up only 16 and 10 pages respectively. That's simply not enough. Another major flaw is the handling of SQL injection. It's mentioned briefly only once with the suggestion to search the Internet for more information. Given the lack of parameter validation in some examples I fear for security on web sites based on this book alone. One single page pair on the subject would probably have been enough.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




HTML Manual of Style: A Clear, Concise Reference for Hypertext Markup Language (including HTML5), Fourth Edition (4th Edition)
by Larry Aronson


Addison-Wesley Professional
fourth edition
October 2010
336 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, November 2010
  (8 of 10)



If someone were just learning HTML/CSS now, what you would you tell him? That's how the "HTML Manual of Style" is written. Not about hobbling together a web page through a tool. But a back to the basics intro. The author covers why clean code is important both for humans and search engine robots.

The book includes the basic HTML 5 features amidst the "old stuff." One thing to watch out for - the section headers say "HTML 5". They don't really mean HTML 5 though. They really mean here's HTML that happens to include HTML 5. This is fine. It is an HTML book and not meant to highlight what is new specifically.

There are lots of short code examples along with showing how a browser renders them. It gives tips for planning, SEO and hosting. I particularly liked the list of attributes and easy to follow style. I also liked seeing jQuery mentioned.

While the book isn't geared for web developers, it is a nice review. And I think it is a great guide for those starting out. Or those relying on a tool to generate the web page. Or those who still embed style information in their HTML.

Note - while the title was originally about HTML, it has grown to HTML/CSS. The cover could highlight this better.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Sams Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML and CSS in One Hour a Day
by Laura Lemay, Rafe Colburn


Sams
6 edition
September 2010
768 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, January 2011
  (8 of 10)


Let me first let you know I hate HTML. I learned it back in the 1.0 days in the early 90's. I am a visual person and can't use text to draw a screen. Just doesn't work for me, seems backwards to me, use text to create something visual.

Anyway, I found this book to be very enlightening to perceive HTML in a different way. Not to think of it as a UI visual screen, but just holding the contents in the page. Leaving the CSS to create the UI. Now this is the best practice to separate content from UI, but now I guess I hate CSS and like HTML.

I still can't make a pretty web page with CSS, but at least I get my content out now. And I can download CSS files from the internet to get a nice look and feel.

This books does explain things in a clear way and the end of chapter labs and quizes help cement what you just learned.

I highly recommend this book for anyone learning HTML and CSS.

However, I found it difficult to use as a reference.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Sams
6 edition
September 2010
768 pages

Reviewed by Amit Ghorpade, February 2011
  (9 of 10)



This book is yet another "Teach yourself" tutor which is nothing less than a complete guide to web publishing and designing production quality web pages for novice web designers. It is also helpful web developers who are usually not well accustomed to CSS including me.
In HTML, you get detailed information on tags and attributes widely used, hence its easy to digest for pure beginners and will help to strengthen concepts if you already have a feel of HTML.
One part I missed is that although the book claims to cover HTML 5, few new things are not covered like the new way of creating forms in HTML 5.
Also I upgraded my knowledge on CSS and now I can better understand web pages by looking at their style sheets. CSS has been nicely interwoven with HTML at appropriate places.
One thing more interesting is that you get a chapter on jQuery along with JavaScript.
Also there are chapters focused on good practices, hints and general information for designers

There are chapters dedicated to publishing, comprehensive information needed, people serious in putting up their own site can get good pointers here.
The quiz and Q&A at the end of each chapter is quite appealing and explanation is elaborate at right places. Altogether its a must-have all-in-one book for web page designing for beginners.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




HTML 5 Up and Running
by Mark Pilgrim


O'Reilly Media
1 edition
August 2010
240 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, October 2010
  (7 of 10)


"HTML 5 Up and Running" is the print version of the book posted at diveintohtml5.org. It covers the new features in HTML 5 along with which browsers support what (and how to do feature detection.) It's a concise book at 205 pages and sells for just under $20 dollars.

At the moment, the content is current. This may or may not change depending on how faithfully the browsers implement the spec.

I bought the book for two reasons:
1) I read the HTML version in it's entirety and wanted to support the author.
2) I like reading books away from the computer and scribbling it them.

Before buying the book, check out the website and see what you think for yourself. For me, it was buy.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Introducing HTML5 (Voices That Matter)
by Bruce Lawson, Remy Sharp


New Riders Press
1 edition
July 2010
240 pages

Reviewed by Deepak Bala, March 2011
  (8 of 10)



The world of the web is changing everyday. The introduction of HTML 5 into the midst makes life more interesting for the average web developer.

This book is very hands on with HTML 5. It begins by answering the question 'Why are we here ?'. The content then eases into various topics like 'The semantic web' / Form validation / Working offline / Audio and video / Geo location etc.

At around 200 pages long, you can whiz past this book in a few days. The pages are however full of practical content and advise. The topics are also presented with a developer's perspective in mind. For example as I read the about 'Offline storage / cache', the problem of debugging popped into my head. After a few pages the authors were describing how to manually debug / clear the cache.

The 2 things this book could have done without are...

1. The authors try really hard to introduce humor where it does not belong. That threw my concentration off sometimes.

2. There were repeated attempts in all chapters to use external APIs / hacks to finally get a HTML 5 feature working. Given that most browsers are still adopting the specs, I wonder if this is really necessary.

Overall I had a lot of fun reading this book. I am certainly more enlightened that I was a week back. If you need a quick intro to HTML 5, this is the book you want.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Murach's HTML, XHTML, and CSS
by Anne Boehm


Mike Murach & Associates
edition
July 2010
506 pages

Reviewed by Katrina Owen, October 2010
  (8 of 10)


Murach's HTML, XHTML, and CSS is an excellent introduction to clean, correct, modern (X)HTML and CSS. It is likely to be highly beneficial to novices and advanced beginners.

The book starts out with a 30,000 foot introduction to what the internet is and what web pages have to do with anything. It then proceeds to give the reader a solid foundation in modern HTML/CSS concepts and practices. I was particularly pleased to see that validation was brought up early -- in chapter 2. After the first 6 chapters, the reader can cherry-pick from the chapters in section 2 per their interest and needs, as they are stand-alone introductions and how-tos to a variety of topics, from working with forms, embedding media, and basic JavaScript usage. The final section of the book, gives a quick overview of the end-to-end process of actually creating a website including topics such as accessibility and usability.

Each chapter includes a large amount of interesting and helpful diagrams, examples, and technical bullet points to help the reader quickly gain insight into the important points covered.

The cover says "Training and Reference", though my perception is more training than reference. I'd suggest Apress' "HTML and CSS Design Patterns" for use as a reference once you've mastered the concepts in this book.

In short: A very valuable learning resource for beginners to reach level of skill and productivity that allows them to deliver high quality code in a fairly short amount of time.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




JavaScript for Programmers (Deitel Developer)
by Paul J. Deitel, Harvey M. Deitel


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
March 2009
448 pages

Reviewed by Campbell Ritchie, April 2009
  (8 of 10)


Before buying, go to the Deitel website (www.deitel.com) and see whether there are text samples (there weren't when I reviewed the book). Deitel books have their own characteristic style which some people (myself included) like and others detest. Much of it consists of showing examples of the technique, and explaining how it works, line by line. I personally find this an effective way to learn.

As well as JavaScript, the book covers introductory XHTML, style sheets (CSS), XML and rich internet applications with AJAX.

The examples are clear, simple, and easy to understand; I often learn by copying and changing them. The book is clearly printed in greyscale and sturdily bound. I have even dropped Deitel books in the street without losing pages! I only found 1 misprint. It is generously supplied with links to other resources, and appears to be up to date.

The "Programmer" books appear to be taken from the corresponding "How To Program" books, with some of the simpler stuff taken out; they assume a "programmer" knows what a browser is, and (see page 307) what an IEEE785 number is! This book appears to be the "client-side" half of a "How To" book. Many of the twee drawings of ants have gone, too, and unfortunately there are no exercises at the end of the chapters.

I recommend buyers look at the "How To" book, ISBN 0131752421, and see how it compares for value for money.

More info at Amazon.com




Assemble the Social Web with zembly
by Gail Anderson, Paul Anderson, Todd Fast, Chris Webster


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
December 2008
400 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, March 2009
  (5 of 10)


"Assemble the Social Web with Zembly" is the official book for Zembly. It shows how to use Zembly for Facebook/iPhone/flickr/Zillow/Dapper. Parts of the book read a bit like a commercial. For example chapter one spends eleven pages giving roughly the information you would get at a free conference talk. Then it gets more informative.

The introduction says the audience is people who either know or are willing to learn JavaScript. They do give references for those who don't know it yet. I had some difficultly with the intended audience. A good part of the book is step by step - almost as if the audience is new to the web (here's how to edit your profile, here's how to add a contact, etc.) Then periodically the book shows reams of JavaScript code. Something I'm not fond of in a coding book let alone a more general one.

A few places refer to features that are in beta or may change before release. Despite the disclaimer, this seems out of place in a book.

I did like how the book didn't assume you've built widgets before. The list of Facebook integration points was particularly interesting. I also really liked the activity diagram in the iPhone chapter.

The book had it's moments that I liked and didn't like. Overall I was neutral on it.

More info at Amazon.com




Learning Dojo
by Peter Svensson


Packt Publishing
1 edition
November 2008
264 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, February 2009
  (7 of 10)


"Learning Dojo" gets you up to speed on using DoJo widgets quickly and efficiently. While the book does cover some advanced JavaScript concepts like closures, you should be comfortable with JavaScript before you start out.

The book was well organized. It starts with the basics of how to use the library and widgets. Later on, internationalization, theme and locales are covered. The example of a basic threading error in AJAX was helpful because it showed WHY approaches wouldn't work. I particularly liked the chart in chapter on with the "selling points" of Dojo.

While I did find one font error (page 28), if this is the biggest error I noticed things are in good shape. There was also a bit of wasted space. For example the almost two pages of character codes (listed one at a time) could have been a table to save space. These are just nits though and don't interfere with readability. And the authors does abbreviate code where possible. The examples build on each other so it isn't too overwhelming reading all that code.

Overall, I did learn a lot from the book. The "real world" examples have a good scope to them - a CRUD example is something many people do! And I really liked the unit testing widget. I learned of several sites to bookmark. Finally, Packt gives some money to the open source project when they sell copies of the book - a very neat concept.

More info at Amazon.com




Ajax - The Complete Reference
by Thomas A. Powell


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
February 2008
654 pages

Reviewed by Jesper de Jong, May 2008
  (9 of 10)


This book is about writing Ajax web applications. It consists of four parts: Core Ideas, Applied Ajax, Advanced Topics and appendices.The first part explains what Ajax is and describes different ways of implementing Ajax in considerable detail. It describes some pre-Ajax techniques for implementing dynamic web applications, discusses the XMLHttpRequest object, data formats such as XML and JSON and goes quite deep into the issues that you will encounter when using the different techniques. In the second part, a number of concepts are presented by developing an Ajax library. There are chapters about networking, security, user interface design and website and application architecture. In the third part some more advanced techniques are described, such as calling web services.

What I especially liked about this book is that it goes deep into the details if needed. For example, differences between web browsers are described in detail. The book isn't just a cookbook that explains step by step how to build an Ajax web application - it focuses on making robust and secure applications that will work well on the different browsers and operating systems that are out there.

I would highly recommend this book to people who are developing serious Ajax web applications. This book contains a lot of valuable information, I certainly learned a lot by reading it.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




jQuery in Action
by Bear Bibeault, Yehuda Katz


Manning Publications
1 edition
February 2008
376 pages

Reviewed by Ernest Friedman-Hill, April 2008
  (10 of 10)


jQuery is a Javascript framework that aims to let you think structurally and conceptually, rather than worrying about syntax and other details. In that largely succeeds, and so does this remarkable book.

Every technical book should be like this one; having written a few myself, I know that's a tall order. "jQuery in Action" is concise but clear, humorous but not silly, and answers all the questions it raises, quickly. The reader is never left wondering "But what about..." for more than a sentence or two. The authors clearly gave a lot of thought to pedagogy, because things are explained in a clear way which progresses naturally from chapter to chapter. Factor in the extremely readable style and the handsome diagrams, and it's easy to see why reading this book is a sheer joy.

For each major feature of jQuery, this book provides a "Laboratory page", a kind of interactive HTML playground where you can try the feature out using different options. The remarkable flexibility of these pages is a testament to both the power of jQuery and to the imagination and creativity of the authors.

Perhaps the most commendable feature of "jQuery in Action" is its unflinching honesty. Too often authors are selling you on a product, and they'll gloss over rough spots to win you over. These authors don't do that. They present their topic as it is, describe its merits, and let the reader decide.

More info at Amazon.com



Manning Publications
1 edition
February 2008
376 pages

Reviewed by Katrina Owen, September 2008
  (9 of 10)


jQuery in Action is rock-solid documentation, well-written, and easily assimilated - even for a relative neophyte such as myself. The book is not a how-to write JavaScript book, but it does contain an appendix which helps readers who are less than proficient in JavaScript to get up to speed.

While the book starts out with the very basics of selecting elements and interacting with the DOM, the text rapidly progresses to much more complex uses, including animations, ajax, and how to extend jQuery with plugins and custom functions. It includes non-trivial examples (yeah!) and 'labs' where the reader can get their hands dirty and experiment in a controlled environment.

I'm certain that readers with a good background in JavaScript (object-oriented, unobtrusive, robust JavaScript - not the cowboy stuff) could whip through this book in a day or two and be well on their way to using jQuery library to build elaborate applications. After reading through the book once, I spent several months slowly digesting morcels of it, writing a lot of code, and reading (and re-reading) sections as the need arose.

I keep the book handy as a reference, as I am constantly 'almost' remembering how to do something or other.

My first real project using jQuery was transforming a relatively brittle (and very confusing) homegrown ajax application to use jQuery. One of my colleagues commented that the code now "reads like a story". Bear, Yehuda - you guys are making me look good. Thank you!

More info at Amazon.com



Manning Publications
1 edition
February 2008
376 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, June 2009
  (9 of 10)


"jQuery in Action" grabbed my interest and kept it. This was a great contrast to the previous book I read - "Learning jQuery 1.3" which made me want to pull my hair out at the copious HTML code. By contrast, the longest "jQuery in Action" code example was 3.5 pages and there were only a few approaching this length. The vast majority were significantly shorter and all were easily digestible.

Note that this review is for jQuery in Action 1st edition which covers jQuery 1.3. If you go to the publisher's website, you can buy the second edition which covers jQuery 1.4. While only three chapters of the second edition are available, you can see them as they get written. Plus it includes the e-book for the current edition. If I were buying the book now, I'd choose this arrangement. It's a great idea on the part of the publisher as it solves the "I want to read a good book about jQuery now but don't want the latest edition ASAP."

The book comes with some "labs" that you can download to try out concepts. I really liked following along and trying out the selectors/effects interactively. There was an emphasis on good coding concepts such as Unobtrusive JavaScript and Progressive Disclosure throughout. I really liked the emphasis on idioms and good techniques. I also liked how there was a page on why browser detection is bad before showing how to do it.

More info at Amazon.com




Head First JavaScript
by Michael Morrison


O'Reilly Media, Inc.
1 edition
January 2008
650 pages

Reviewed by Katrina Owen, May 2008
  (9 of 10)


Head First JavaScript starts off by illustrating why JavaScript can be useful (adding pizzaz, interactivity, and excitement to a website), and then goes about leading the reader in experiments, exercises, and games which introduce various aspects of the language: variables, scope, objects, control statements, and events. The book also introduces debugging and very basic Ajax.

The irreverent Head First style cleverly disguises the fact that you will walk away from the book understanding 'stuff'. This is not a recipe book, and it is not a code mill. The examples are for one purpose only: trick your brain into understanding a concept. The exercises do the same thing - often adding emotional spice by letting you walk straight into a trap (a typical mistake made by most novices), and then helping you understand exactly why you made that particular mistake on the very next page.

Did someone say "Just in Time" learning?

If you are a JavaScript guru, the book will probably be an entertaining read, but not much more than that. If the extent of your javascript knowledge is copying and pasting scripts written sometime prior to y2k and then tearing your hair out when they don't work the way you need them to, then this is the perfect place to start gaining the proficiency you need to start writing your own scripts from scratch.

Head First JavaScript is a great foundation, and will have you reading and enjoying more advanced texts in no time.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Ajax Security
by Billy Hoffman, Bryan Sullivan


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
December 2007
504 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, February 2008
  (9 of 10)


With the advent of more sophisticated client-side web apps -- facilitated by AJAX and the JavaScript XmlHttpRequest object -- have come more numerous and more easily discovered security issues. As the authors point out, AJAX combines the vulnerabilities of traditional web apps and web services.

This book is billed as "The Hands-On, Practical Guide to Preventing Ajax-Related Security Vulnerabilities", and it delivers admirably on that count. It covers in detail the wide range of attack possibilities - from traditional web attacks and JavaScript hijacking over client-side storage and offline vulnerabilities to request origin issues, mashups and even CSS. An analysis of two JavaScript worms and a couple of chapters presenting tools to help test AJAX application and popular AJAX frameworks round out the book. Many illustrations and code examples help convey the subjects, as do details of what to look out for in particular browsers or server software. It's hard to picture a web worker (be it developer, tester, producer or manager) that doesn't take away something (and more likely quite a bit) from this book.

It's written in a style that makes it easily approachable, and complex topics are explained well. Although some of the later material assumes knowledge of the earlier stuff, most chapters can be skipped if the reader isn't interested in a particular topic, and revisited later. I recommend the book to every web professional.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
December 2007
504 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, January 2008
  (10 of 10)


Anyone involved in developing/testing AJAX should read "AJAX Security." It covers preventing a hacker from attaching your application. The audience includes developers, QA and penetration testers. While there are code snippets, they are explained well. While managers aren't in the target audience, I think they could benefit from understanding the concepts presented in the book.

The book begins with a brief review of AJAX architecture with an emphasis on security. The writing style is quite engaging including a chapter walking you through an attack from a hacker's point of view. All the major known categories of attacks are included including resource enumeration, parameter manipulation (with SQL and XPATH injection), session hijacking, JSON hijacking, XSS, CSRF, phishing, denial of service, etc.

I particularly liked the analogies to things that happen in the physical world such as resource injection into a roommate's "to do" list and hijacking another customer's paid order in the deli. These made it easy to visualize the problem even for people who don't code often.

The authors were realistic and included the limitations and drawbacks of each tool/framework mentioned. I liked the chapter analyzing two major JavaScript worms including the source code. This really hit home on the importance of certain practices!

All information was up to date as of printing including comments on all four major browsers (IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari.) They even mentioned the HTML 5 specification. The book is not server side language specific, which was nice.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Pro JavaScript Design Patterns
by Ross Harmes, Dustin Diaz


Apress
1 edition
December 2007
269 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, April 2008
  (9 of 10)


"Pro JavaScript Design Pattens" is a useful read regardless of whether you have a JavaScript or server side language background. An advanced topic that appeals to such varied audiences is tough to do, but the authors succeed admirably. In fact, I can't do such a job, so read the chapter that applies...

JavaScript developers:
The book covers how to write good clean object oriented code in JavaScript. It introduces concepts that are not present in JavaScript along with how to simulate them. The sections on when to use a given pattern are well written.

Server side language developers:
The book covers how to implement in JavaScript the design patterns we are accustomed to. Before getting to this, there are several chapters on JavaScript idioms which are very useful. There were also a couple patterns that a server side developer might not have encountered because the server side is not so memory constrained.

Everyone:
The book also covers tradeoffs of using the patterns. I appreciated where they mention the slight performance hit and how to check/profile if it is a problem for you. All patterns were described clearly and succinctly. There were some real examples as well. At times, it is a bit code heavy -- one example had 1.5 pages of implementation details that had nothing to do with the topic at end. Overall, I think the book was great. If you have a significant amount of JavaScript code, the concepts in this book are critical.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Advanced Ajax: Architecture and Best Practices
by Shawn M. Lauriat


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
October 2007
384 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, January 2008
  (6 of 10)


"Advanced AJAX" is targeted towards AJAX application architects. Note that readers should be comfortable learning by reading code. For example, chapter 1 has two pages of code for a GUI widget. This seems heavy for a conceptual book. Elsewhere, the main idea got lost in six pages of view code.

I liked the non-technology specific sections. Browser tools included Safari and Opera plugins. All the "hot" security topics were covered (SQL injection, XSS, CSRF.) Tradeoffs were listed for different alternatives. Performance included CPU, memory and bandwidth. Trying out examples on the companion website was nice.

Many server side techniques were PHP specific, such as SQL injection. While six pages of code is good for PHP developers, I was surprised. The code was readable without being fluent in PHP, but unnecessarily narrows the audience. The 15 pages of screenshots/description on the PHP documentation tool could have been used for another topic. Wouldn't a PHP developer already know how to use PHP?

While I liked the presence of an accessibility chapter, I was confused. WCAG/Section 508 were introduced clearly early in the chapter. For the rest of the chapter, I wasn't clear on what pertained to WCAG, what was 508 compliant and what was coming in the future.

If you are a hands on PHP AJAX developer interested in architecture, this is an excellent book. Non-PHP developers or people who want to focus on architecture (rather than code) are better off with a different book.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Enterprise AJAX
by David Johnson, Alexei White, Andre Charland


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
August 2007
496 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, November 2007
  (7 of 10)


The subtitle of the book -- "Strategies for building high performance web applications" -- nicely sums up what this book is about: Not so much a tutorial about AJAX that takes the reader from 0 to 100%, but rather a collection of topics that relate to AJAX-based web applications, bundled into book chapters. The chapters span a wide gamut, from basic browser technologies like CSS/DOM/JavaScript and XMLHttpRequest, to more advanced stuff like the design of JavaScript code, Web Services, and the handling of sizable chunks of data within JavaScript. The book also covers issues of the software development process as they relate to AJAX applications, like usability, prototyping, testing and project risk management. Three case studies round out the book, but don't provide much additional insight.

If a chapter isn't of interest to the reader, it can generally be skipped without impacting the understanding of later material. Everything is explained with plenty of code examples, along with explanations of what gotchas to look out for when running under different browsers.

The book would have benefited from a more thorough proofreading. As it is, an annoyingly large number of typos, duplicated words and sentence fragments, and even incorrect picture captions and footnotes, have crept in. Nevertheless, the authors clearly know their stuff, and break it down into pieces that are easily digested and readily applied. Just about any web developer will get useful ideas out of Enterprise AJAX, no matter how big his projects.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Ajax Construction Kit: Building Plug-and-Play Ajax Applications
by Michael Morrison


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
July 2007
312 pages

Reviewed by Katrina Owen, August 2007
  (7 of 10)


This book is aimed at people who make web pages for fun, and have little to no (java)scripting experience. If you haven't the faintest idea what Ajax is and does (I didn't when I picked this book up), you may emerge with understanding and excitement. This book will help the uninitiated realize just how many slick tricks can be accomplished with Ajax.

The Ajax Construction Kit promises to hand you working Ajax goodies. It delivers on this promise! It also provides you with a good understanding of how to tweak and nudge the applications provided, so that you can incorporate them into your own websites. If you wish to transform the goodies to any significant degree, or learn how to build your own Ajax applications you will need to find a different set of resources. This book does not set out to teach you how to program.

The book comes with a CD which has the source code for all the goodies in the book - AND a working webserver for your convenience in the form of a Live CD. If you would rather work in your own, familiar, environment rather than Ubuntu Linux, it also provides both the code and a server which you can install locally on a Windows, Mac, or Linux variant.

The author does apologize a lot when things get technical. Come on! We love this stuff, and it is presented well, so it isn't the least bit scary.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Ajax Starter Kit
by Phil Ballard


Sams
1 edition
June 2007
224 pages

Reviewed by Christophe Verre, September 2007
  (7 of 10)


This kit comes with an Ajax Quick Start Guide and CD.

First of all, the Quick Start Guide, which actually is a book called "Sams Teach Yourself AJAX in 10 Minutes". You'll get introduced to Web technologies, such as HTML and JavaScript. Then starts a fast paced Ajax introduction where you will learn what Ajax is. It goes straight to the point so don't expect detailed explanations, but nothing should leave you clueless. There is a nice chapter on Ajax common traps, which explains what you should take care of when developing in Ajax. I wish there were such a chapter on debugging too. Finally, you are introduced to some common Ajax libraries, like Prototype and Rico.

The CD contains sample files, utilities, Ajax libraries, and an amazing PDF file. This PDF contains six books in one. You get the "Ajax Quick Start Guide", "Sams Teach Yourself (STY) JavaScript in 24 Hours", "STY XML in 10 Minutes", "STY HTML in 10 Minutes", "STY CSS in 10 minutes", and "STY PHP in 10 minutes", all in the same PDF.

All in all, this Starter Kit gives you a quick overview of what Ajax is. If you're impatient to know about Ajax, this 200 pages guide will suit you. If you don't know anything about HTML, CSS or JavaScript, then this package can be handy. If you are looking for something more practical, you will need some other materials, as there is no good tutorial in this guide.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Ajax in Practice
by Dave Crane, Bear Bibeault, Jord Sonneveld


Manning Publications
1 edition
May 2007
456 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, June 2007
  (9 of 10)


The back cover says that "Ajax in Practice" is a "second generation" book. The book covers a mix of problem/solution descriptions for common problems, Ajax tips and advanced JavaScript techniques. The cookbook style is useful if you are trying to implement a specific Ajax effect. The book touches on a number of libraries/toolkits where appropriate. It also covers integrating with existing Ajax libraries.

The book assumes you know basic JavaScript, CSS and HTML. If you are new to Ajax, I recommend reading a "first generation" book like "Ajax in Action" first. This book is a lot easier to follow if you have some exposure to Ajax. In particular, the problem/solution style involves learning by reading a lot of code. This is overwhelming on the first shot. I had to pull out my copy of "Ajax in Action" to follow parts of it. While some of the examples are long, they don't include unnecessary code.

I liked that the book has a common flow to it. Even though there are seven authors/contributors, the style is the same and it makes sense. I learned a lot about specific uses of Ajax along with examples/techniques of good Ajax code. This should definitely be the second Ajax book you read!

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns
by Michael Bowers


Apress
1 edition
April 2007
494 pages

Reviewed by Katrina Owen, May 2008
  (9 of 10)


I absolutely love this book. I have two copies of it - one at work, one at home.

The author focuses on browser compatibility, and accessibility to screenreaders. I have been disappointed only once - when I thought 'accessibility' included those who do not use a pointing device. But that is more of a javascript question than CSS/HTML, and therefore falls outside the scope of the book.

Most CSS/HTML code I see employs the "programming by coincidence" model. Add a rule here to fix something that doesn't quite work there, use a negative margin here, maybe a browser-specific hack there. In the end, it works. It might even look pretty good, but invariably, the result is unnecessarily bloated.

Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns makes it possible to code deliberately. It provides a solid fundamental understanding of how elements and rules interact, and especially how the same element or attribute will behave differently in different environments.

In several cases, it has saved me hours of trying to achieve something which simply cannot be done in the current specification. At the same time, it has provided enough information to find a different approach that does work.

The book is very systematic, and while it is a great read cover-to-cover, it functions very well as a reference volume. The 'patterns' format (name/problem/solution/pattern) makes it very easy to locate the exact information you are looking for.

Summary: Buy this book. Read this book. I mean it.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Apress
1 edition
April 2007
494 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, July 2007
  (9 of 10)


"Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns" is a valuable reference for using CSS on your website. You should be familiar with reading or writing CSS and have some experience with HTML for this book to be readable. In particular, you should feel comfortable with CSS syntax and high-level concepts.

The book is still useful if you know CSS "a little" -- you may have to read parts a few times. In particular, there are a few places were terms are defined after they are used. It's a bit of a catch 22, for the author as introducing those terms relies on the initial sections. There aren't many of these and all becomes clear by reading the patterns twice.

I liked the style of having code/screenshots on one side and the pattern/description/limitations on the other side of each two page set. This consistency made the book easy to follow. I particularly liked the emphasis of making the patterns accessible to people using different browsers, screenreaders and with Javascript disabled.

Some of the design patterns are teaching patterns to understand concepts and terminology. The rest are techniques you could want to use when designing a web page. Some techniques are self-contained, like styling text. The end of the book builds more complex patterns out of those that came before. The box model and layout ones are quite valuable.

The companion website lets you play with each pattern. In summary: buy this book!

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




ppk on JavaScript
by Peter-Paul Koch


New Riders
1 edition
September 2006
528 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, October 2006
  (9 of 10)


"ppk on JavaScript" fills an interesting void with the focus of today's JavaScript books. Most books either focus on "JavaScript in 21 Days", "JavaScript -- Complete Reference" or "AJAX". This book covers techniques for creating clean and accessible JavaScript functionality.

The book's stated audience is someone who knows at least some JavaScript -- a beginning level or up. Basically, you should feel comfortable reading and understanding code. I think the book might be a little overwhelming for a beginner to understand. A beginner could read it twice; once right away and once after reading another JavaScript book.

The author views JavaScript as a technique to add usability. He shows how to create "unobtrusive" JavaScript. In other words, the JavaScript stays out of the HTML page and the page works without JavaScript, albeit with less functionality.

Eight case studies (real life examples) are used throughout the book. The author points out why he selected certain techniques. He also notes bugs and where he would have done things differently. I particularly liked the emphasis on separation of concerns.

Keyboard users are also discussed from an accessibility point of view in several chapters. In other chapters, only users without JavaScript enabled were discussed. I would have liked a little more consistency with how accessibility was treated.

Overall, the book was very good. The tips were useful and I enjoyed the emphasis on design. And AJAX is discussed from the point of view of how it was used before it was called AJAX.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




JavaScript & AJAX - Learn JavaScript and Ajax the Quick and Easy Way
by Tom Negrino, Dori Smith


Peachpit Press
6 edition
September 2006
512 pages

Reviewed by Pauline McNamara, January 2007
  (4 of 10)


My opinion about this book would be much higher if it had not claimed to be a learning book. The intended audience are people with basic familiarity of HTML, and the authors "don't assume that you know anything about programming or scripting." If you fall into this category, I'd wouldn't recommend this book.

It starts with a couple gentle introductory chapters, followed by a very dense syntax dump in the third chapter. The intended reader may survive the sink or swim approach, but I suspect they're more likely to give up after that chapter. The now requisite Ajax chapter towards the end seems quite out of place, again because of the context of non-programmers just picking up scripting.

The rest of the book is a collection of useful examples in a cookbook style, with line-by-line annotations of the code (however not explaining the syntax specifically). If you learn by watching, or if you already write code and are looking for a good JavaScript cookbook, you'll be happy to have this on your shelf. If you've never coded a loop before, you'll need other books to really learn the mechanics.

Strengths: good cookbook for experienced programmers, sprinkled with useful tips (albeit buried in code explanations).

Weaknesses: way too much information that a learner has to take on faith, narrow column format drastically reduces code readability.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




HTML, XHTML and CSS
by Elizabeth Castro


Peachpit Press
6 edition
August 2006
456 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, October 2006
  (9 of 10)


My first impression was that the page layout was strange for a book, but then I realised that the layout and presentation of data was the point of the book, so I stopped worrying and went with the flow.

It treats HTML and XHTML as the same thing, only distinguishing one from the other when a specific point needs to be made. This was a nice way to start as it removes the mystery of XHTML and allows the reader to concentrate on getting things displayed. I was also interested in the way the book worked from basic structure to applying ids and classes without introducing styles. These aren't introduced until chapter eight where you (hopefully) already have a feel for basic structure, layout, and markup.

The book races through the easier parts of HTML and I guess it could be possible for a complete novice to get lost, so pay attention in the first chapter. The book is rated for 'intermediate users' though, so complete beginners may want to be wary. The good news is this leaves room at the end for bonus content like character encodings, problem solving, marketing and RSS.

It is easy to see why this is a popular web design book. Topics are laid out in a no-nonsense manner that makes everything look easy and achievable, there is plenty of content without being heavy, and the layout provides the flexibility for colored examples and additional points of interest. Also, don't overlook a web book that is printed in color!

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




AJAX - Creating Web Pages with Asynchronous JavaScript and XML
by Edmond Woychowsky


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
August 2006
432 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, September 2006
  (3 of 10)


This book misses the mark of explaining where and how to use AJAX.

Less than half the pages deal with AJAX itself; the rest is taken up by introductions to (X)HTML, JavaScript, XML, Path, XSLT and Ruby (on Rails) - technologies that are related, but which the brief coverage here doesn't do justice. Furthermore, pages upon pages of HTML element/attribute listings, DOM methods or XSLT functions don't further the insight into AJAX.

The sole in-depth example is a shopping cart application, which is fine, but plenty of simple ready-to-run examples that show various aspects of working with AJAX would help much more. Other examples use outdated techniques like XML islands and hidden frames, which muddles the picture further.

The authors' style of writing also gets in the way. It's probably supposed to be easy-going, but includes a stream of witty and self-deprecating remarks that detract from the content, and by the 10th repetition of "this is all mad-scientist stuff" this reviewer was yearning for some actual stuff, not fluff.

The chapters of the book that do talk about AJAX provide a decent introduction to the XMLHttpRequest object, and how to use it to transfer information back and forth from the server. It?s all bits and pieces, though, and no big picture is ever provided. Anyone who was inspired by Google Mail or Google Maps to build AJAX apps will not know where to start after reading this book.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Practical Ajax Projects with Java Technology
by Frank Zammetti


Apress
1 edition
July 2006
528 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, September 2006
  (8 of 10)


I have read some AJAX books and enjoyed them, but they typically concentrate on the client side and coverage of what occurs on the server side, if any, is generally PHP or a smattering of almost anything. But I'm a Java guy. The book I've been looking for would have not only the server side examples in Java, but would also use Java as the basis of discussion on client-server communication and the tools available to ease the whole process.

The examples cover a variety of interesting projects and technologies, but the coverage of CSS, JavaScript, Servlets etc is very light as to be almost non-existent. Some of the sample code has been cut and paste without too much scrutiny, so they are often bloated by useless or even empty javadoc blocks but this is more of a annoyance than a real problem. Appendix B has several pages of useful links, but I would have liked to have seen this as a closing chapter of the topics that didn't warrant complete coverage.

Interestingly, while core AJAX books tend to favour the client action and be light on what happens on the server, this book leans the other way. If you are looking to buy a single book to cover AJAX this will cause you a problem, but now that you are fore-warned if you get the correct combination of client and server AJAX coverage you'll be well served for your future needs.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Pro Ajax and Java Frameworks
by Nathaniel T. Schutta, Ryan Asleson


Apress
1 edition
July 2006
336 pages

Reviewed by Balaji Loganathan, October 2006
  (8 of 10)


The authors have taken good efforts to neatly introduce, analyses and compare various javascript tools specifically meant for AJAX.

The flow of the book is well managed and its very reader friendly.

This book is definitely a one stop reference for knowing what development tools, editors, libraries available for supporting AJAX in Java web applications.

Comes with 50MB examples source code. The source code has been configured to easily deploy and test using ANT.

This book mostly addresses the freely available AJAX tools.

Few drawbacks I found:
A lot of pages have been spent on describing and comparing between java frameworks, the authors could have avoided it since this book about using AJAX in java framework.
The code listings in the chapters (like html, javascript, jsp) were not well formatted, so it very difficult to read.
The authors gives more preference to JSF framework which is again not the context of the book.
That's it.

Since the book is published recently(July06), this book covers many latest AJAX and JAVA Framework products, so its saves your time on finding a right tool for your AJAX based websites.

I don't want to write again the table of contents of this book but want to mention that you will sure learn all the bit and pieces that you need have for setting up a AJAX based java web applications.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax
by Christian Heilmann


Apress
1 edition
July 2006
512 pages

Reviewed by Andrew Monkhouse, September 2006
  (9 of 10)


Up until now, most JavaScript books I have seen have not really described how to be a good JavaScript programmer - most of them have lead by example (which is how many JavaScript programmers I know learnt JavaScript). Unfortunately learning JavaScript by simply viewing other people's code without understanding why it was written the way it was could also lead to learning by bad example.

Christian Heilmann's "Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax" is different - it teaches the reader the concepts that will help them to become a good JavaScript programmer. Perhaps more importantly, it teaches how to use JavaScript, CSS, DOM, and Ajax in a degradable manner, so that all visitors to your web site will be able to access it. Christian explains not only the guidelines for developing good code, but the reasons why it is important.

Christian's passion for creating maintainable, standards compliant, usable websites is clearly visible in his writing. Throughout the book he reiterates key issues that good programmers should know, and demonstrates them in his code.

This is an excellent book on JavaScript, and one that I will thoroughly recommend to anybody new to JavaScript programming. I also recommend it to anyone who plans to make their website more accessible to a wider audience (and who doesn't want that?).

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Professional Ajax
by Nicolas Zakas, Jeremy McPeak, Joe Fawcett


Wrox
1 edition
February 2006
432 pages

Reviewed by Ernest Friedman-Hill, March 2006
  (8 of 10)


"Professional Ajax" shoots from the hip. Go ahead, scour the web. Find every forum, article, or review about Ajax that allows users to post comments. You'll find a common complaint: "We've been doing that for years, we don't need a fancy new name." These guys understand this comment. They know what they're doing here, and they've got the battle scars to prove it. Call it what you want: Ajax, Web 2.0, or just business as usual, these authors know how to get the job done.

You won't find oversimplifications here: the authors don't skimp on details as they describe what goes into Ajax applications and show you how to build your own. The book concludes with a large and lovely guide through the process of developing a realistic Ajax-based email client similar to Gmail.

This is a nice pragmatic guide to coming up to speed with what's happening in interactive Web application development. You won't go wrong with this book.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Foundations of Ajax
by Ryan Asleson, Nathaniel T. Schutta


Apress
1 edition
October 2005
296 pages

Reviewed by Gregg Bolinger, December 2005
  (8 of 10)


The first round of Ajax books have hit the shelves and Apress is trying to make their mark with Foundations of Ajax. A thin book with only 273 pages including the index, Foundations of Ajax hits the mark with its recipe style format and examples.

Foundations of Ajax starts out the way most tech books do with a bit of history and primer for what's to come. Most people familiar with web applications and design can probably just skip chapter 1 and possibly 2. But don't skip anymore. Chapter 3 jumps right in with your first fully functional Ajax enabled web page and it doesn't let up. Some of the examples are dynamic tool tips, textfield autocomplete, dynamic drop down lists, and my favorite, the progress bar. The elements of each example are well explained and easy to understand but aren't diluted with pages of theory and why's. This book is all how.

The last few chapters all deal with tools for the developer to help make Ajax development easier. It talks about Firefox extensions, JSUnit, and lightly touches on some Ajax frameworks though no working examples of any of the frameworks are shown.

The book was not without its faults, however. There are syntax errors lightly scattered throughout some of the examples. This was frustrating because I had to debug javascript for someone else's errors. The book also assumes a fair amount of Servlet knowledge and J2EE web app deployment know how. While I'm all for examples in Java, this does limit the books potential customer base. Ajax is pretty much server side technology agnostic. It can be used with ASP, PHP, J2EE, Ruby, and many others. And while the book does touch on this fact, newbies to Servlets will find running the examples difficult.

I whole heartedly enjoyed this book and it really wet my appetite for Ajax and how I can use it to improve my own applications UI and provide a better experience for the end user. I'd highly recommend this to anyone wanting to learn the "Foundations of Ajax".

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Apress
1 edition
October 2005
296 pages

Reviewed by Lasse Koskela, November 2005
  (8 of 10)


"Foundations of Ajax" is the first book I've read about the technology, regardless of the astonishing hype it has received lately. It was an easy read, I learned a lot, and, while I was left wanting something more, still, I'd say this is a great book for getting started on Ajax.

The first half of the book runs through a quick history of web technologies and gives a pretty balanced view on the "why" and "why not" of Ajax, explains the fundamental technologies and techniques, and showcases some typical Ajax features like auto-completion, auto-refreshing pages, and a file upload progress bar. While at times the pace of the discussion seemed a bit slow even for myself (not being too familiar with JavaScript in general), I found the fundamentals given on XMLHttpRequest and DOM to be very valuable in terms of understanding what's happening "under the hood" when using those fancy Ajaxian features.

The second half of the book is more focused on tooling. The authors have done a huge favor to the reader by showing how to debug and test JavaScript code, although I had to re-read a page or two of the jsUnit chapter after falling off the sled on how and where the tests are actually executed. The first appendix gets an honorary mention as well, as I found the list of cross-browser compatibility tips to be extremely useful.

The downside to the book, in my opinion, is that while the second appendix does enumerate a long list of Ajax frameworks, only Taconite (the authors' own framework) is presented in any detail. Frankly, I would've wanted to see the authors present even short examples of more "mainstream" frameworks such as Dojo and Prototype. Somewhat related to this, while after reading the book, I feel I have a good foundation for Ajax and would certainly be capable of putting together some fancy Ajax widgets, I'm afraid I wouldn't get as much "done" as I could if the book would've allocated more inches on using state-of-the-art Ajax frameworks. Having said that, I knew that that wasn't a goal for the book so it's not really too big an issue for me.

In summary, a great book for building a foundation on Ajax technology. Get it, read it, hack on some JavaScript, and then go learn the latest and greatest Ajax framework.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Apress
1 edition
October 2005
296 pages

Reviewed by Ernest Friedman-Hill, September 2005
  (9 of 10)


Ajax is an unusual beast. It's not a product. It's not a standard. It's not a tool. It's not a proper noun -- it's an acronym. Instead, Ajax is a collection of techniques for building highly interactive Web based applications using industrial-strength JavaScript and asynchronous communications, and it's taking the Web development world by storm. This is one of the first books to appear on this hot topic, and it's a good one.

"Foundations of Ajax" takes you through the whys and wherefores of Ajax, as well as the meat and potatoes, at a brisk pace. The examples are crystal clear. Multi-language code as used in Ajax is hard to describe clearly. Choosing a particular language for server-side code might have alienated some readers unfamiliar with that language. This book uses fixed XML files to sidestep the problem, which leads to startlingly simple descriptions.

I found the second half of the book even more valuable. The last few chapters talk about tools and techniques for building real-life professional-grade applications. There is excellent, detailed information about documenting, unit testing and debugging for JavaScript, debugging Ajax communications, and using some of the newfangled Ajax frameworks that have begun to appear. These chapters credibly demonstrate that it's possible to treat JavaScript as a Serious Programming Language.

In sum, I think that "Foundations of Ajax" is an excellent piece of work which belongs on every Web developer's bookshelf.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Ajax in Action
by Dave Crane, Eric Pascarello, Darren James


Manning Publications
1 edition
October 2005
680 pages

Reviewed by John Wetherbie, December 2005
  (8 of 10)


Ajax In Action is a code-driven introduction to the collection of technologies and techniques that are known as Ajax. The book has many code examples and the last five chapters take you through the development of some Ajax applications including combo boxes, type-ahead help, and adding Ajax to a portal site.

The authors emphasize that developers and architects need to have a different mindset when developing applications that use Ajax versus traditional web applications. An asynchronous (the first A in Ajax) web application will act differently than a traditional web application and needs to be thought about and designed differently. There will also be more JavaScript code to manage and the authors emphasize good coding and code management techniques.

I enjoyed the chapter on performance and the fact that it focused both on speed and memory use. The appendices cover Ajax tools for your toolkit, an excellent JavaScript overview, and Ajax-related frameworks and libraries. The appendices are really good but I appreciate that their information is located such that it does not break the flow of the book.

This book is a very good overview Ajax and its technologies. It assumes you are reasonably familiar with JavaScript, CSS, DOM, and how web applications work. My one complaint is the feeling that the discussion of patterns and refactoring for a developer not familiar with these tools was a little light and could have been beefed up a bit.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Manning Publications
1 edition
October 2005
680 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, December 2005
  (10 of 10)


"Ajax in Action" is not only an excellent book on Ajax, but the best JavaScript book I have ever read. The authors note early on that Ajax is a process, not a technology. This theme permeates the book. There is an emphasis on requirements, design, implementation, testing and maintenance. So the book shows how to do a real project, not just how to code.

Keeping with the real project theme, there is information throughout on refactoring and design patterns. The authors present low level coding idioms as well. All this creates a language for coding Ajax applications. The second half of the book walks you through the entire development process for five sample applications.

The book targets a wide audience range, from enterprise developers to self-taught scripters. Basic concepts are explained concisely for newcomers and experienced developers may skim certain sections. However these sections are a very small part of the 600+ page book.

An appendix covers an introduction to JavaScript. While you would want to supplement it with materials from the web, it clearly covers the advanced topics that are hard to find elsewhere. There are also introductions and tips on CSS and DOM. In short, I learned a ton about non-Ajax development and page manipulations too.

And the book even has a screenshot of JavaRanch! I was expecting a good book when I saw Bear and Ernest's comments on the back. But it still managed to exceed my expectations!

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Manning Publications
1 edition
October 2005
680 pages

Reviewed by Valentin Crettaz, September 2005
  (9 of 10)


Over the past months, the Ajax commando has been actively pursuing its revolution on the web petitioning for a richer and more standardized interaction model. Everyday, the commando manages to substantially increase its headcount by enrolling a growing number of frustrated developers who were promised to an execrable future.

With "Ajax in Action" out of press, the commando will now be able to drastically accelerate its evangelization process. The word is spreading that this book is a tremendously useful field guide specially written for developers in the trenches waiting for the killer solution that will help them build cutting-edge web applications of unprecedented quality. After showing how to switch from traditional to Ajax web development, the authors present the core techniques underlying Ajax as well as a couple design patterns and how these fit into the Ajax development model. Furthermore, the book also contains great best practices that can considerably enhance the user experience and that teach you how to design Ajax applications with security and performance in mind. The second part of the book is fully dedicated to presenting five hardcore examples (live search, etc.) whose main goal is to provide developers with ready-to-use off-the-shelf Ajax components that can be seamlessly integrated into any web application.

Whether you are frustrated by low tech web development or you are willing to discover how the potential of Ajax is greater than the sum of its parts, swallow this 600 pages bible and join the commando now.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



Manning Publications
1 edition
October 2005
680 pages

Reviewed by Ernest Friedman-Hill, September 2005
  (9 of 10)


Ajax is a Web programming technique for developing rich, interactive interfaces using only JavaScript, HTML and CSS on the desktop. It's changing the landscape of the Web, and this book will help you gear up to be part of the revolution. Renaissance men David Crane and Eric Pascarello show you how to weave together the pieces that make up an Ajax application: JavaScript, server scripts, HTML, CSS, and XML. They teach you the tools and techniques you'll need to develop industrial-strength applications using JavaScript.

This is really two books in one: first, it's a look at the Ajax technologies and prescriptions for their effective use. There are detailed discussions of relevant design patterns and of strategies for designing usable and secure applications. There are substantial discussions of a number of Ajax frameworks, libraries, and development tools, as well as developer features of Web browsers that you've probably never learned about but can't live without.

The second half of the book is a cookbook, with detailed blueprints for concocting your own versions of several Ajax showcases: dynamic double combo boxes, typeahead select boxes, and Web portals with selectable, draggable portlets. There are even recipes for assembling standalone Ajax applications that use existing third-party Web services as a back-end. The cookbook builds on the earlier parts of the book by applying the design patterns and refactoring techniques therein described.

If you're serious about helping to revolutionize the Web, you need this book.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




The Unusually Useful Web Book
by June Cohen


New Riders
1 edition
June 2003
408 pages

Reviewed by John Wetherbie, June 2003
  (10 of 10)


The Unusually Useful Web Book could have been titled The Book You Should Read To Help You Plan, Design, Build, and Maintain A Successful Web Site. Everyone who is on a team developing or maintaining a website should read this book and then re-read it frequently to keep the information and lessons fresh.

This book provides an overview of the processes, the techniques, and the technologies that can (and should) be used to develop and maintain a successful web site. If you are looking for an in-depth technical book on HTML, CSS, or other specific tools this is not that book. Buy this book anyway! It will be worth it.

The book is divided into four major sections: Planning Your Site, Designing Your Site, Building Your Site, and Maintaining Your Site. Each section has good information that you can use right now whether you are starting to create a new site or are involved in the maintenance and upgrade of an existing site.

A conscious effort was made to make the book look and feel like a website. This approach works very well. Sections are short, important points are highlighted, and I found myself following "links" to more in-depth information on topics that were of interest to me. This book lives up to its title by being full of unusually useful information and also being unusually readable. I think this book is going to be an instant classic.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Designing with Web Standards
by Jeffrey Zeldman


New Riders
1 edition
May 2003
456 pages

Reviewed by John Wetherbie, November 2003
  (8 of 10)


Designing with Web Standards by Jeffery Zeldman has two main points: 1) using web standards will save you and your clients time and money and; 2) you can achieve great effects by using web standards. The author takes the practical view that using web standards is a good thing but isn't dogmatic about it. The majority of examples in the book focus on a "hybrid" strategy that makes web sites compatible with older browsers by using tables to provide some of the layout structure in conjunction with CSS.

The first four chapters provide an overview of where web design has been and where it is currently with the advent of XML. Even if you aren't into history I highly recommend reading the latter part of chapter four for the pointers to resources on the web.

The second section focuses on constructing the design of a web site using the "hybrid" approach mentioned above. The reader is introduced to the differences between HTML and XHTML, to CSS, problems you will run into with various browsers and their solutions, accessibility, and the DOM. Designing a site only using CSS for controlling the presentation is the topic of the last chapter in this section.

I found the book an enjoyable read. This book is more for web designers who don't have much experience with CSS. I would also have liked the book to have more on "pure" CSS approaches but can understand the author's pragmatic viewpoint.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Web Bloopers: 60 Common Web Design Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them
by Jeff Johnson


Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
April 2003
344 pages

Reviewed by Jessica Sant, June 2003
  (9 of 10)


If you get paid to develop a website, you should have this book. As the title says, "Web Bloopers" (along with its companion website www.web-bloopers.com) details 60 of the most common (and annoying) design mistakes committed by web developers and then tells you how to avoid them.

Each blooper is explained in words as well as in pictures (snapshots are taken of various sites around the web), and then the author explains why the blooper is so bad and how to avoid it. As with any design, there are trade offs, sometimes you have to commit one blooper to avoid another, but as long as you realize that's what you're doing, you're gold. This book is very well organized. The title of each blooper is a good summary of the problem. The index in the back helps you to quickly find examples both good and bad (and it also lets you see if you're company has been made an example of) the author even points out some blooper's in his own publisher's website).

If everyone who is responsible for creating websites took the time to read this book, think about the user, how intuitive their site is, and how easy it is to glean information from it, the Internet would be a much nicer and friendlier place. I highly recommend this one.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook
by Danny Goodman


O'Reilly
1 edition
April 2003
576 pages

Reviewed by Eric Pascarello, May 2003
  (8 of 10)


JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook is a unique recipe that will teach you the most discussed topics in JavaScript and DHTML. The book is set up like a forum. A question is asked, the answer is given, and a discussion follows. The method this book follows is great for those who learn from vast examples on a broad range of topics.

The book looks at regular expressions, arrays, cookies, strings, objects, and much more on the JavaScript side. The DHTML side explains how multiple level menus are made, contextual menus, navigation trees, event handlers, validation methods, style sheets, and much more. The book discusses browser compatibility and problems that it may cause. In the discussion, solutions are proposed to counteract those problems.

This book is great for the person that wants to jump into the DHTML realm of programming and does not want the weighed down basics of JavaScript coding. This book will not teach you how to program JavaScript from the fundamental level, but it will teach you how to make scripts that are powerful and compatible!

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




How to Do Everything with JavaScript
by Scott Duffy


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
February 2003
448 pages

Reviewed by Eric Pascarello, March 2003
  (9 of 10)


"How to Do Everything with JavaScript" is a great book for everyone, from the beginner to the expert who needs a good refresher. This is one of many books on JavaScript I have read and this definitely will not leave my desk. "How to Do Everything with JavaScript" can be used as a reference for difficult topics, or a quick guide to the fundamentals of JavaScript. The book topics are covered in great detail with well thought-out explanations and examples. Classes, arrays, functions, objects, DHTML, browser compatibility, debugging your script, frame communication, and countless other things are delivered in manageable chunks which make this book a great resource. Many of the basic questions asked in the HTML and JavaScript forum can be answered just by reading this book!

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization
by Andrew B. King


New Riders
1 edition
January 2003
528 pages

Reviewed by John Wetherbie, May 2003
  (8 of 10)


Ever been on the web waiting for a page to download and thinking it was never going to finish? It's a pretty safe bet that the answer is "Yes". It is even possible that you are responsible for creating one of those pages (or even an entire website of them). If you want to make the webpages you create load faster, run, don't walk, to get Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization.

This book presents techniques for optimizing your webpages by optimizing the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images that compose them. Speed Up Your Site shows you where and how to cut the unnecessary bytes from your pages. As the author says in the Introduction: "every byte counts." This book will make you stop and think about how you construct webpages.

The book starts with some theoretical background and then dives into optimizing HTML/XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The remaining sections cover optimization for graphics and multimedia, search engines, server-side techniques, and compression. There are also five case study chapters that provide additional insight into the techniques presented. The many references that point the reader to additional information are a very nice touch. I definitely learned a great deal reading this book and think you will, too.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Maintaining & Evolving Successful Commercial Web Sites
by Ashley Friedlein


Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
December 2002
442 pages

Reviewed by Eric Pascarello, May 2003
  (8 of 10)


Maintaining & Evolving Successful Commercial Web Sites is for people that have a small commercial site and want to make it grow. The book talks about how to manage the data that your website contains and the data it receives from your customers. The book explains the importance of repetitiveness between each page of the site so the site can be easily navigated. This book explains in detail Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and how to apply it to your website. Also, there is a section on how to manage meetings with your client/boss so you are time efficient. The section I found very helpful was how to measure and report how your site is doing. It shows you what statistics are important and where you can get services to keep this information.

The book is laid out in four sections that can be read separately. It is an easy read and explains each topic in great detail. The book contains real-life examples and shows how they are implemented. This book will not tell you how to make a web page, but it will tell you the tools you will need to make it flourish.

I would also highly recommend this book to all the clients out there that own a website and have no clue what is going on. After reading this book, you will be able to ask your web designer questions on improving your site, you may even be able to understand what the web designer means when he throws XML, ASP, CRM, CMS, or CGI into the conversation. This book allows you to get more from your site while spending less time working on it.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Webmaster In a Nutshell
by Stephen Spainhour, Robert Eckstein


O'Reilly
third edition
December 2002
520 pages

Reviewed by Corey McGlone, February 2003
  (10 of 10)


Webmaster In a Nutshell is a conglomeration of reference materials for today's web developer. Nary a web development project goes by when you're not called on to remember something that you'd done so long ago that you can't quite remember how it goes. That's where this book comes in. Webmaster In a Nutshell covers everything from HTML syntax to dynamic content to server performance and everything in between. Keep in mind that this is not a become a webmaster in 24 hours book. Unless you've done a good amount of web development in the past, it's doubtful you'd get much out of this text. The reference materials are great, but this text is not designed to teach you to be a web developer. Rather, it's a handy reference for the jack-of-all-trades that is today's web developer.

The writing is very straightforward and little time is spent on introductions of topics. In most cases, a topic will have just a couple pages of introductions followed by many pages of reference materials. With the exception of PHP and XML, which are covered heavily in this text, it's doubtful that you'll learn any technologies from scratch with this book. However, as a reference for technologies that you already have experience with, this book succeeds brilliantly. It covers a wide range of technologies and is remarkably complete and concise everything a webmaster could would want in a reference text.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Apache: The Definitive Guide
by Ben Laurie, Peter Laurie


O'Reilly
third edition
December 2002
536 pages

Reviewed by Matthew Phillips, February 2003
  (5 of 10)


If you are looking for reference material to sit on your bookshelf, you can't go wrong with this book. If you want learning material this book might help, but I would look elsewhere.

The title is very descriptive. All the directives are in here and organized pretty well to make a great reference. There are sample configuration files throughout the book so that you may see how the directive should look. The book covers extending Apache with Perl scripts, PHP, Java, and Cocoon.

I did have some problems with this book. Although the back cover refers to it describing Windows support, I found the coverage of using Apache on Windows to be lacking. The coverage of connecting Tomcat to Apache used Tomcat 3.2. There was also an obvious bias on the part of the authors against Java technology. I downloaded the source code, but there were no instructions on how to unarchive it in Windows or how to use it. I am sure I will refer to this book when I need to know something about Apache, but if you really want to learn the ins and outs of Apache to become a professional webmaster then look elsewhere.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
by Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld


O'Reilly
1 edition
February 1998
202 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, October 2001
  (8 of 10)


This is a relatively slim book with a clear focus. It's not about web page design - it's about web site design. In particular it's about designing a scalable site where information is well organized, consistent and easy to find.

This specific topic is covered in great depth, and includes all aspects of categories and labelling, navigation, searching, links and layout. It also covers the process of researching and deciding on who and what a web site is for, and managing the practicalities and politics of getting a large and complex site up and running.

The authors are librarians and information architects, and it shows. The style is dry and to-the-point, with relatively few illustrations. This book won't help you build beautiful sites, or implement database-driven "web applications", but if you want users to be able to find the information they need, this book is a vital addition to your bookshelf.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com



O'Reilly
second edition
August 2002
486 pages

Reviewed by Margarita Isayeva, June 2003
  (7 of 10)


The second edition is about twice as long as the first. The first part of the book covers the same ground as the first edition. I was somewhat less enthusiastic about this than Frank. Since the first edition was published, this subject has had some (albeit scattered and cursory) coverage in other books and articles, and many things now seem self-evident. I did find that classification of information seeking behaviors -- browsing, searching, and asking questions provides a useful mental framework; and the hierarchical vs. faceted classification approach has interesting parallels with Object-oriented vs. Aspect-oriented programming counterparts. Other than that, the first part lacks the "A-Ha!" effect that I usually look for in books.

Chapters added in the new edition discuss the process of building an information architecture. Here the discussion is centered on methodological, political and business issues in large organizations and is more useful for someone who wants to become a professional Information Architect than for a general audience.

I would define the book's genre as "textbook": it introduces the main concepts in Information Architecture and teaches the vocabulary of this professional community. When I subsequently came across the "Boxes and Arrows" site, I found that I could understand its vernacular without problems.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




XSL FO
by Dave Pawson


O'Reilly
1 edition
August 2002
264 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, October 2002
  (6 of 10)


XSL:FO is about taking XML documents and transforming them into XSL:FO documents which can then be sent to an FO procecssor to create PDFs or other print formatting documents.

It focuses on the tags and properties of XSL:FO. This book does not cover using it with your Java programs.

After trudging through a reading of O'Reilly's book on XSL:FO, I have determined that this is not a book to read straight through. I have also determined that this is not a good book to read if you are a beginner to the XSL:FO world.

This book is very detailed and covers all aspects of XSL:FO. It reminded me of the time I had read O'Reilly's UML in a Nutshell. Their examples are hard to picture, and therefore were difficult for me to understand. Maybe this is because I am a visual person. Even so, This book seems to be a great reference book to use when you are creating XSL:FO documents to transform. However, from my inexperience with XSL:FO I could not determine how valuable a reference it would be.

I would highly recommend buying this book only if you have XSL:FO experience and can grasp it's concepts quickly and need a good reference book. However, if you are a beginner like myself, I would look to some of the good tutorials that are online, or in a good magazine like Java Developer's Journal.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Son of Web Pages that Suck
by Vincent Flanders


Sybex
unknown edition
April 2002
320 pages

Reviewed by Salman Halim, October 2003
  (8 of 10)


This book teaches the reader about what constitutes good Web site design and is the sequel to "Web Pages that Suck"; it does this primarily by way of negative examples: sites where the design is somehow flawed. Then, specific explanations of why the design is wrong are presented; this is accompanied by guidelines on how to fix some.

The book doesn't stop with just a series of Web site snapshots with large red crosses through them; there are general guidelines on how one can design a site to avoid the problems outlined. Each chapter ends with a summary of the more important points from the chapter. One of the features I enjoyed is the "Two-Minute Offense" sidebar where a specific Web page's snapshot is shown and the user is told to examine it for two minutes and try to spot all the problems -- an explanation of each problem the author spotted follows.

The companion CD contains several shareware utilities as well as all the links mentioned in the text -- because of the nature of the Web, some of the links are no longer valid and some of the Web sites mentioned in the book have changed their look. (Several did so after appearing on the author's site!)

The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way were the somewhat (intentionally) creepy photos of the author in various poses and garb on all the sidebars; they are meant to be amusing, but I just found them creepy.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
by David Flanagan


O'Reilly
fourth edition
December 2001
900 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, April 2002
  (8 of 10)


This book is for programmers. The coverage of the various core-programming practices is fairly light and is usually explained in comparison to Java. It won't teach you how to code with JavaScript if you don't have something to base it on. This lends itself to programmers, who don't necessarily want to drown in familiar concepts. The down side is that the book is less likely to be useful to nonprogrammers.

The previous version of the book focused mainly on the uses of JavaScript in browsers. However the new version treats JavaScript as a complete language, with extensive coverage including DOM and CSS.

The book still has one of the most concise listings of functionality and browser compatibility, which is its greatest asset. It is an invaluable resource when you need to build some stable and compatible code. This is even more important with the recent changes in Netscape6.

Providing sample code isn't the primary aim (although there is still a bunch), but combined with the other resources available on the internet it should be all that someone with existing Java skills requires to build what they need using JavaScript.

A simpler coverage might make life easier for you in the short term, but this book will help you do whatever you want, whenever you want. If other books feed you for a day, this book won't feed you for a lifetime, but it'll stand by you until the next version.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Content Critical
by Gerry McGovern, Rob Norton


FT Press
1 edition
December 2001
256 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, September 2003
  (7 of 10)


This book is primarily about web site design, although that may not be very obvious from the title.

The overall premise is that the job of producing and running a web site has a lot in common with traditional paper publishing. Central to this idea, and the inspiration for the title, is that whatever the site, people actually visit it to read words. Not to look at pictures. Not to admire layout or coo at dynamic navigation menus. To find and read content. Everything else is at best irrelevant, at worst a distracting nuisance or even a reason to leave the site completely.

I wholeheartedly agree with this, and generally follow with the recommendations that the author makes about how to encourage and profit from this understanding: keep things simple, short, and fresh; understand your readers; make it easy to find stuff; treat editing and publishing as key business functions and so on.

What I find slightly disappointing is that the book itself doesn't entirely embody these values. The style is repetitive and often long-winded. As a well-edited web site or a conference presentation this would pack a much more powerful punch. I finished reading it mostly out of duty.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Hack Proofing your Web Applications
by Jeff Forristal, Julie Traxler


Syngress
1 edition
June 2001
608 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, October 2002
  (8 of 10)


This book aims to be a "one stop shop" covering all aspects of web application security, however your app is written: Java. CGI, Perl, PHP, Active X. To a large extent it succeeds, and in a surprisingly readable way. Each chapter covers on aspect of hacking or security, and ends with a summary, a "fast track" checklist, and a FAQ for the topics covered. The book is sold like software - you can register for a "1-year upgrade", to keep the content fresh.
Important topics include both detailed and general hints on how to read and spot security holes in code in different languages; and how to "think like a hacker", and use hacker tools to test your own security. Above all, the book emphasizes the need for creative thinking and to avoid producing code carelessly.
I know from experience that security is often ignored if it's seen as too hard to understand, plan or test. Don't be a victim of your own ignorance, read this book.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Practical information architecture, a hands-on approach to structuring successful websites
by Eric L. Reiss


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
November 2000
192 pages

Reviewed by Carl Trusiak, November 2000
  (5 of 10)


This book covers common sense information for website development through the entire design process. Beginners can gain useful information on site structure and the design/development process. However, it lacks the depth of information to make it truly useful as a reference manual. This is best suited as a supplementary text for an html or e-commerce course

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




HTML & XHTML
by Chuck Musciano & Bill Kennedy


O'Reilly
fourth edition
August 2000
672 pages

Reviewed by Angela Poynton, October 2001
  (9 of 10)


This was the very first book I've ever read about HTML, years ago I taught myself HTML by using tutorial available on the net. Over those years it hasn't changed much, but now with HTML becoming integrated with XML (therefore becoming XHTML) things are changing quickly.

This book will help those who already know basic HTML through the transition and is also comprehensive enough to be usful to someone who's never written HTML in their lives. Typical of O'Reilly books this not only has chapters which go into things in-depth but also comprehensive appendices which can be used as handy references along with a pull-out "Quick Reference" section. It's extremely easy to read and I recommend it to anyone who has to deal with HTML or XHTML.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




GUI Bloopers
by Jeff Johnson


Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
March 2000
584 pages

Reviewed by Salman Halim, August 2003
  (8 of 10)


This book discusses some of the more common problems with modern user interfaces. It takes the approach that the user interface is arguably the most important aspect of an application (or Web site) and shouldn't take a back seat to the business logic therein.

The book begins with a treatise on what a GUI should be like and serves as a good set of things to keep in mind when designing an application's front-end. The bloopers themselves are arranged by category, one category to each chapter. There are 82 bloopers in all, so the book contains quite a decent amount of information.

The individual bloopers themselves are laid out quite well: there is a description of the blooper and the common variations thereof (usually with a picture from a real or sample application demonstrating the problem); this is followed by guidelines on how to avoid the particular blooper (often with a fixed version of the original pictures).

There weren't any real problems with the book; the only thing that irked me was the author's habit of pointing out something that was a problem and following it up with, "Bzzzt. Blooper!" It was cute the first time but quickly became something that grated on me.

Recommendation: for someone who knows how a GUI component works, but doesn't know how to make it look professional, this is a great book. Everybody who does GUI work could learn something here, though.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Designing Web Usability
by Jakob Nielsen


Peachpit Press
1 edition
December 1999
432 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, June 2001
  (7 of 10)


This book is widely regarded as a web usability classic. Not everyone loves it, though. Opinions range from "he is a genius" to "the book is obsolete". The book is bigger than it need be. Nielsen argues strongly that web sites should be concise, but that doesn't carry over into his writing. In several places a paragraph or two seemed very familiar, having already been used earlier. There are lots of colour screenshots of web pages, mostly to point out flaws. I agree with most of what he says: Make things simple, easy and effective for users; make your pages download as fast as you can; provide a site search and so on. Where he lets himself down is in speculating about what the internet might be like five, ten or even twenty years from now. This is a complete waste; I got fed up wading through it. It's also too heavy on opinion and too light on practical detail for me. Nielsen claims he plans to write a "how to" book, but that's no use now. The section on internationalization, for example, tantalizingly mentions a few things (US switches go "up" for "ON", European ones go "down"; don't use baseball metaphors etc.) then leaves it up to the reader with very little help. Well worth absorbing, but I won't often dip into it again. Unless you are a collector, borrow it rather than buying.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Building Web Applications with UML
by Jim Conallen


Addison-Wesley Longman
1 edition
December 1999
320 pages

Reviewed by Carl Trusiak, April 2001
  (7 of 10)


If you are new to UML and are looking for a good book to learn with, then this book isn't for you. On the other hand, if you are experienced with UML modeling, you can save yourself some time by skipping the first five chapters. The real meat of the book gets started in chapter six. From there, it is extremely packed with information to help you model a website. The biggest disappointment for me was the minimal number of examples in Java, Servlets and JSP. There are a few. However, the complete Model Example is in Active Server Pages. I'd really love to see an erratum for the book with the example done using Java Technology. If you need to learn a standard way for your organization to model dynamic web pages, this book is a must.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Webmaster in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition
by Stephen Spainhour, Robert Eckstein


O'Reilly
second edition
June 1999
536 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, December 2000
  (8 of 10)


This is one of a small set of books which I use all the time. It doesn't cover Java as such, but is a mine of useful and accessible information on HTTP, HTML, JavaScript, XML, CSS, CGI, Perl, PHP and Apache configuration. Although I have many other books which cover these areas, usually in much more detail, this book is often all I need to answer a particular question. To me, this book, along with Unix in a Nutshell, show how good a "Nutshell" book can be. Small enough to carry about, and packed full of genuinely useful information.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing
by Philip Greenspun


Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
April 1999
608 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, September 2001
  (8 of 10)


This book covers such a wide range of subjects - HTML, web design, SQL, server configuration, e-commerce, accepting credit cards, scalability, futurology, search engines, choosing a database, the nature of buying software, system admin and loads more, all in great depth - that it'a almost impossible to characterize the contents. It's also packed full of beautiful, but completely unrelated, photographs; all taken by the author!

Philip Greenspun runs a successful web consultancy with several very busy sites, and seems to have tried to distill all that he has learned into one book. A lot of what he says is very wise, and although I disagree with some of his technology choices, he has thought everything through in great detail. There are quite a few sections which I will re-read and study for my own projects, but many others I will never bother with again. The book's main drawback is its size, which makes it hard to cherry-pick just the bits you need.

If you are looking for ways to use the latest technology to make a web site look cool, this is not the book for you. If you are building or running a site or business with lots of users, and you want to keep them and avoid going crazy in the process, you need this book. And the photos really are good.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




Web Design in a Nutshell
by Jennifer Niederst, Richard Koman(Editor)


O'Reilly
1 edition
December 1998
580 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, December 2000
  (3 of 10)


I bought this as a companion to the excellent "Webmaster in a Nutshell", but was somewhat disappointed. It seems at first glance to be packed with useful stuff, but the core of day-to-day material on HTML, JavaScript, SSI and CSS is virtually the same as in "Webmaster in a Nutshell", and the rest is mostly hand-waving introductions to topics such as streaming audio and video on the web or, strangely, an Adobe Photoshop tutorial. Even stranger, the one topic it doesn't seem to cover is web design. There's nothing about how to create interesting, useful or impressive sites, and precious little about page layout or navigation.
My recommendation would have to be to forget this book, but buy "Webmaster in a Nutshell" for the nuts and bolts, and look for a decent web design book which is actually about web design rather than just web page construction.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com




The Web Page Design Cookbook
by William Horton, Lee Taylor, Arthur Ignacio, Nancy L Hoft


Wiley
unknown edition
November 1995
672 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, November 2000
  (5 of 10)


This book is getting old now, and only covers basic HTML, so it's little use as a reference. What it does have, and what keeps me from discarding it in favour of newer and more comprehensive guides is it's sensible advice on web site design. It's one of the few web design books which actually covers web site design issues! It urges readers to think in terms of simple sites with useful content, and consider how the information might be used by people from all over the world as well as the usual issues of download speed and browser compatibility. Probably not worth buying these days, but borrow it from a friend or check it out of the library if you do see it.

Discuss book in the Saloon More info at Amazon.com

 
The Bunkhouse administrator is Ankit Garg.