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JavaScript Web Applications [Paperback]

by Alex MacCaw
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 30, 2011 144930351X 978-1449303518 1

Building rich JavaScript applications that bring a desktop experience to the Web requires moving state from the server to the client side—not a simple task. This hands-on book takes proficient JavaScript developers through all the steps necessary to create state-of-the-art applications, including structure, templating, frameworks, communicating with the server, and many other issues.

Throughout the book, you'll work with real-world example applications to help you grasp the concepts involved. Learn how to create JavaScript applications that offer a more responsive and improved experience.

  • Use the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern, and learn how to manage dependencies inside your application
  • Get an introduction to templating and data binding
  • Learn about loading remote data, Ajax, and cross-domain requests
  • Create realtime applications with WebSockets and Node.js
  • Accept dropped files and upload data with progress indicators
  • Use major frameworks and libraries, including jQuery, Spine, and Backbone
  • Write tests and use the console to debug your applications
  • Get deployment best practices, such as caching and minification

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JavaScript Web Applications + JavaScript: The Good Parts + JavaScript Patterns
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

jQuery Developers' Guide to Moving State to the Client

About the Author

Alex MacCaw is a Ruby/JavaScript developer & entrepreneur. He has written a JavaScript framework, Spine and developed major applications including Taskforce and Socialmod, as well as a host of open source work. He speaks at Ruby/Rails conferences in NYC, SF and Berlin. In addition to programming he is currently traveling round the world with a Nikon D90 and surfboard.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144930351X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449303518
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars JavaScript reloaded September 11, 2011
Being a Java Swing developer for many years, I was never a fan of JavaScript. There were no mature tools and frameworks a few years ago. Straight DOM programming was just error-prone and difficult to debug. Over the last few years, JavaScript has come back with a big bang, thanks to a lot of companies, among them, Google. This book is for people, like me, who gave up on JavaScript years ago because of a poor model but need to know new frameworks that help in writing concise, readable code, and also help design scalable and robust architecture, not to mention, using JavaScript with a large team that could be geographically spread out.

Frankly, this book won't teach you the basics of JavaScript. There are plenty of other books for that and the author mentions this up front. However, in my opinionion, the author does a great job of teaching how to use the simplified and concise form of JavaScript, sticking to OO way of doing it. He starts with MVC (and who doesn't love MVC!), events, models, data, controller, state, view, and templating. The examples are mostly in JQuery which is also my framework of choice for JavaScript development.

No real-time discussion of JavaScript is complete without the mention of WebSockets, Node.js, and Socket.IO. The author does a great job of explaining this in chapter 8. He also provides an example of how to make your applications look faster (perceived speed) as compared to actual speed. The later chapters focus on testing and debugging, deploying, and an overview of the Spine, Backbone, and JavaScriptMVC libraries. Appendix at the end of the book provide a JQuery primer and a reference to CSS extensions and CSS3.

I cannot say that after reading this book, I have fallen in love with JavaScript since I am a big fan of Adobe Flex.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You just might learn a boatload of stuff... July 12, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think this can be an incredibly helpful book if you hit it at the right stage in your JavaScript (JS) learning process, even if you don't need to implement full-blown MVC for your immediate needs. I can honestly say that I've learned as much, and probably more, from working through the core of this book (Chapters 1-5) than I have from any other single JS book.

But, you need to be at the right stage... which is basically, when you can follow the book, although it may take a bit of effort. If you're already a ninja, you probably don't need to read the book at all, unless you simply want to be exposed to another POV. And, for a lot of non-ninja, the book will be too advanced. Luckily, O'Reilly put the entire first chapter on-line so you can judge for yourself.

Chapter 1 is no namby pampy intro. In the chapter McCaw defines a constructor function used to create constructor functions that emulate classes in languages which support classes natively. He also includes a useful discussion of how the 'this' context switches in JS and how to control it with bind or by defining a jQ-like proxy method. Later design patterns have some similarity to what he does in chapter 1 (using Object.create instead of constructors), so if you can follow this chapter, you're probably ready to take on the book.

I'd describe the audience for the book as developers who've already built an app, or at least added fairly complex functionality to web pages and are comfortable with prototypal inheritance, closures on inner functions, call/apply and who know basic DOM scripting. Additionally, you may well have a sneaking suspicion that although your apps work, they're not designed as cleanly as they could be.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but un-necessarily hard going October 18, 2011
By C. Jack
Great idea for a book and much of the content is first class. Make sure you've read JavaScript the Good Parts and/or JavaScript Patterns and have learned the basics of JQuery before even attempting to read this book though, otherwise your going to have trouble following along with some of the content.

Unfortunately it does have some falws. In particular I found some of the descriptions of code samples were lacking, additionally many of the code samples seemed un-necessarily terse/confusing. Normally I wouldn't massively care about this sort of thing in code samples, however when coupled with the use of some of JavaScripts odder features they make the code a bit painful to read. Thats not to say you can't understand whats going on, you just have to put in more effort than you might expect and you probably won't find it as enjoyable as you'd like.

These issues are the main reason I've given the book just three stars. I'm hoping the issues will be addressed in any future second edition, at which time this will definitely be a five star book.

One other thing, chapter 11 is on Spine.js. This chapter is now a little out-of-date, for example Spine now uses CoffeeScripts classes, so you may want to use the excellent online documentation for spine.js instead.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect intro to Javascript web apps February 20, 2012
After only three weeks into owning the book, this is already among the most dog-eared books in my collection. It provides a clear and timely intro to developing apps in Javascript, making sense of what is otherwise a very dynamic and turbulent field of development.

It is an engagingly written and concise guide to exactly what its title describes: developing web applications in Javascript. It covers a wide range of topics, from setting up a generic MVC framework, persistence locally and via ajax, controllers, views, working with files, debugging and systematic testing, CSS and templates.

It's like getting a complete set of legos as a kid, with initial models to follow at first and then adapt to your own creative directions. Working through the examples is quick and addicting, and at the end you have the beginnings of the beautiful web app that you always wanted to develop.

In contrast to other reviewers, you definitely do not need to be a Javascript expert to follow along. You do need to know some Javascript and jQuery, but that's about it. You'll learn Javascript along the way.

The author does present his own framework, Spine JS, but in a completely equal even-handed presentation with Backbone JS and Javascript MVC. This book is equally good for learning all three. (And having done so, the motivation for Spine JS becomes clear, it's a simple elegant way of doing the same things with less code, plus a few extra benefits like decoupling the client from the server).

It's helpful to know how to set up your own RESTful web service (not included in this book) to try out the Ajax persistence, but even so you can get by just fine without it using local persistence in HTML 5.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-have book for all JavaScript Programmers
This book is immensely practical while still teaching concepts. It is far clearer than, "JavaScript: The Good Parts", which you can skip entirely if you read this book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated so be careful
The book is interesting and well written. Also, I really liked the simple examples. But like most things in the tech world, it can get outdated. Read more
Published 5 months ago by kevin s. templer
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly out of date
Published in 2011, there are a few things that are slightly out of date in 2013, but it's overall a good book. For example, Backbone no longer has a Backbone. Read more
Published 7 months ago by COLIN M FORD
4.0 out of 5 stars A great primer for understanding single page apps
First of all, this material is not inaccessible to the average web developer. In fact it should be required reading for anyone who wishes to maintain a relevant skill set in this... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Daniel James
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book if you are a web developer
A good book on JavaScript with nice examples. Good introduction to MVC approach in JavaScript, HTML5 and much more. Alex MacCaw is the author of spine. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Viorel
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Code Examples
I had high hopes for this book as I wanted to have a good source of the best practices and techniques for moving state to the browser. Read more
Published 10 months ago by buyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot on
With 3 firm examples of projects which take you through the MVC philosophy in Javascript, you can find no firmer way to learn MVC in a way that is relevant to every browser. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Richard Chen
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Expect to Lean Anything From This Book
Don't expect this book to teach you anything about how to use JavaScript to buld Web Applications. The author states at the outset that the book assumes most Javascript authors... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Richard L. Shockney
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Primer for the Budding JavaScript Architect
I began developing in JavaScript just over a year ago. The company I'm working for had announced a brand new product that was to be web-based, and with not a single web developer... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Cody Sand
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Intermediate JavaScript book!
This is not a book for fresh, new beginning coders. That said, this is the perfect book for anyone who has experience coding and you want to get into JS, or anyone who has been in... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Haelix
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