JavaScript 24-Hour Trainer
JavaScript 24-Hour Trainer

Author: Jeremy McPeak
Publisher: Wrox, 2010
Pages: 456
ISBN: 978-0470647837
Aimed at: Existing programmers
Rating: 4
Pros: Highly practical and includes video lessons
Cons: Doesn't take object-oriented aproach
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

The 24-hour series from Wrox with book and DVD packages - does this format help?

Personally, I much prefer reading about things I'm trying to learn - it's easier because I can skip bits that are going too slowly and it's more convenient because I can read anywhere without annoying anyone. This book is a fairly standard introduction to JavaScript but with the added feature of having a DVD with video lessons bound into the back. I'm going to review it first and foremost as a book rather than a video course. 




Part I of the book starts from the very basic idea of embedding a script in a web page and moves up through nine lessons to prototypes and inheritance. The lessons start fairly slowly - what is a variable, data types, operators and so on. Lesson 3 deals with functions and it is here that the level starts to ramp up with not only the creation of functions but passing them around as if they were values. Lesson 4 introduces the If statement, 5 the for loop, 6 deals with the tricky matter of scope and 7,8 and 9 deal with objects. At the end of Part I you should have a basic idea of how JavaScript works but you will not have seen enough code to really know if you have mastered anything.

Part II is all about putting JavaScript to work and it is here that you will discover how it all works in practice. The focus of the 27 lessons in this part is essentially using the DOM to work with HTML dynamically in script. It also covers some of the problems of working with different browsers. Later lessons are about topics such as animation, timers, drag-and-drop, working with forms and of course, Ajax techniques.  In this part of the book there is a lot of JavaScript code to look at and sometimes the explanations look a little thin.

The final part of the book is on matters such as error handling, debugging, best practices and so on. It also deals with topics such as code optimisation and code style. 

Overall the book takes a good modern approach to JavaScript which emphasizes its good points and warns about its bad points. It is reasonably advanced in that it explains how objects work but it doesn't go the whole way and take an object-oriented approach to coding JavaScript. This is probably reasonable given the level it is working at and the sort of tasks it considers. For the same reasons it doesn't go into the more advanced aspects of JavaScript such as using closures or functional programming - this is also probably the right thing to do.

The lessons are all quite short, which is an advantage but it can mean that a lot of ground is covered and you need to keep up. The book probably isn't suitable for the complete beginner unless they are prepared to work fairly hard. The videos help in that they walk you through the examples and provide comments which aren't in the book. 

If you are looking for an introduction to JavaScript that focuses mainly on how you use it within a browser this is a good choice. 


Android Apps with App Inventor

Author: Jörg H. Kloss
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Pages: 600
ISBN: 978-0321812704
Aimed at: Newcomers to App Inventor
Rating: 2
Pros: Includes a dozen projects
Cons: Not beginner-friendly
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

Do you need a book to learn how to use App Inventor?

Learning PHP Design Patterns

Author: William Sanders
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 362
ISBN: 978-1449344917
Audience: PHP programmers
Rating: 2
Reviewer: Alex Armstrong

PHP design patterns? Sounds just what you need to build an enterprise standard website. Does this book succeed in educating you? 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 March 2011 )

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