Learning React, 2nd Ed

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

Further Reading

The Programmers Guide To React 


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HTML, CSS & JavaScript (In Easy Steps)

Author: Mike McGrath
Publisher: In Easy Steps
Date: July 2020
Pages: 480
ISBN: 978-1840788785
Print: 184078878X
Kindle: B08FBGXGF1
Audience: would-be web developers
Rating: 5
Reviewer Mike James
The three core web technologies in a single book.

Microsoft SQL Server 2019: A Beginner's Guide, 7th Ed

Author: Dusan Petkovic
Publisher: McGraw-Hill 
Pages: 864
ISBN: 978-1260458879
Print: 1260458873
Kindle: B082K92PL7
Audience: DBAs/Devs
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Ian Stirk 

This book aims “…to provide a comprehensive introduction to SQL Server that is friendly to beginners.” How does it fare?&n [ ... ]

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2018 )