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on August 23, 2008
One line conclusion: Recommended for serious developers using Dojo.

Comparing this book with the other two Dojo books (one published by O'Reilly and one by Addison-Wesley Professional), I feel the title of this book is justified. The contents of the other two are greatly overlapped with the free online documentation of Dojo [...]. If all you wanted is a Dojo book that resembles a print copy of the free on line book, then you can buy the other two. If you are asking for something more, like how Dojo actually works and how to customize Dojo build (a pivotal step to speed up your product) then this is the one you need. You will not find such detailed documentation from either the Dojo documentation or the other two books.

I take one star out because the contents of the book does not fully cover the functionality of Dojo, which is somewhat understandable as Dojo itself keeps evolving.
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on June 21, 2008
I'm up against a deadline for a web application. The going is slow when you
have to hand-carve the HTML, JavaScript, CSS and PHP. Dojo saves you at least
two-thirds of the work, so I'm very grateful for it. But it takes some getting
used to, and the on-line documentation is, well, succinct.

Russell's book came along just in time. It's a lifesaver.

The Introduction alone is worth the price. I found out about
some invaluable Web development debugging tools that I'd never seen before.
Russell provides a clear, concise explanation of some very important JavaScript
notions: Closures, Context, and Anonymous Functions. And all of this before
we even get to the toolkit!

The book makes the Dojo easy to use and easy to understand. There's a wealth
of coding examples, as well as complete lists of objects, methods, and so forth.
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on August 10, 2013
Great material for Dojo v1.5 and earlier. Unfortunately, I had to use Dojo v1.8.1, and the book was useless, since the entire syntax for Dojo commands changed for v1.8... I had to go online to get the new syntax for v1.8.1, and there is no book available for this version...
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on August 10, 2013
Great material for Dojo v1.5 and earlier. Unfortunately, I had to use Dojo v1.8.1, and the book was useless, since the entire syntax for Dojo commands changed for v1.8... I had to go online to get the new syntax for v1.8.1, and there is no book available for this version...
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on July 1, 2008
Matthew Russell has captured what makes Dojo the "magic sauce" of the Ajax world. As he indicates in the book's dedication, Dojo can be your friend in combating browser idiosyncrasies. Since Russell has been an active participant in the Dojo development community for a long time, he's in an excellent position to write from an expert's viewpoint. Another Amazon reviewer has covered the book's contents thoroughly. "Dojo: The Definitive Guide" is very well-organized and covers lots of ground. I appreciate the fact that the author doesn't simply rehash online documentation; instead he provides real insight and coherent explanations. Like most O'Reilly books, the table of contents and index are invaluable in rapidly honing in on a particular subtopic.

To get the most out of this book, you do need to have some web development background (JavaScript, CSS, HTML), but then who else would be purchasing this book? While the book might have benefited from a discussion of Dojo use with YUI, Google Gear, or other toolkits, the author points out this is out of scope. I imagine this saved more than a few trees. (Check out the ongoing efforts of the OpenAjax Alliance if you need to combine multiple frameworks.) I would have preferred access to the code examples packaged in a convenient zip file; perhaps the author will add that to his O'Reilly catalog page (URL given in the preface or just search for "Dojo" at oreilly.com). However, these points do not detract from the thoroughness in which Russell has covered a difficult and rapidly changing topic.

This book is certainly worthy of the fine O'Reilly imprint. The fact that it is edited by the always discerning Simon St. Laurent is definitely a plus. If you are a web developer who needs cross-browser support, you need this book in your library.
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on September 30, 2008
This book is an outstanding resource for anyone who plans to work with the Dojo Toolkit. Dojo is my personal favorite toolkit for JavaScript development. This book really helps to explain not only the "how to" of Dojo but also the "how come". It is a great reference for Dojo's core functionality, for Dojo's Dijit widgeting system and for the Dojo build system and test harness. It gives great practical advice on how to exploit the power of dojo.query, and provides great coverage of Dojo's data stores for data source abstraction. It has excellent coverage of dojo.fx for animations, it provides an invaluable desktop reference for Dijit. There is also a excellent coverage Dojo's Data Transport apis like XmlHttpRequest, dojo.io.script(Dynamic Script Tag injection for JSONP or JSON with a check string mechanism), as well as the use of iframes for data transport.
If you are working with Dojo this book will make your life a whole lot easier.

One thing you should know before buying this book. It does not have in depth coverage of anything in the Dojox package, so you will not find anything in this book on the Data Grid!

Take a few days and give it a read, then keep it on your desk for reference. You can't go wrong.
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on May 25, 2010
I concur with all the excellent reviews here, but it only covers Dojo 1.1 and we are now at 1.4 and so much has changed, I can't even get his examples working. How about updating the book...it is 2 years old!!!
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on January 15, 2014
While this book is a reasonably complete introduction to Dojo, it has several flaws.

One: it's badly out of date, and needs to be expanded to cover the many changes made in Dojo since it was written.

Two: it spends an awful lot of time cheerleading Dojo for being powerful, simple, revolutionary, etc. Effectively, it spends a lot of pages "telling" rather than "showing". This wouldn't be a problem if the "showing" part were better, but that brings us to the next point.

Three: while the book does cover the vast majority of Dojo, the organization is fairly poor. Concepts are thrown at the reader in an unintuitive order, connections between concepts aren't drawn clearly, and the result is that the user's concept of the system as a holistic tool will likely not be especially strong at the end of the reading.

Overall, it's probably still the best intro book available if you HAVE to buy something, but that's not saying a lot. The average user will probably get at least as much out of reading the documentation on the Dojo website.
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Dojo is a comprehensive JavaScript toolkit that provides a layer of insulation between you and browser inconsistencies by leveraging JavaScript and other web technologies. Dojo is very good in situations where YUI is already being used. Dojo has a standard JavaScript library with a collection of drop-in replacements for customized HTML controls and CSS layout hacks, build tools, and unit tests.

Part 1 of this book is a standard library reference that exposes you to the various nooks and crannies of Base and Core, the parts of the toolkit that comprise a JavaScript standard library. Base contains rich functionality as diverse as AJAX calls, DOM querying based on CSS selector syntax, standardized event propagation, and functional programming utilities like map and filter. Core includes lots of additional features for operations like animations and drag-and-drop. While this can be incredibly useful, these features just aren't as common to all use cases as the features in Base.

Part 2 explores the rest of the toolkit, including complete coverage of Dijit, the rich layer of drop-in replacements for customized HTML controls. Dijit is designed so that it can be used in the markup with little to no programming required, and makes it possible to build attractive web pages that already look and behave much like user interface controls from desktop applications.

Part 2 concludes with a discussion of the build system and unit testing framework provided by Util. The build system includes a highly configurable entry point to ShrinkSafe, a tool that leverages the Rhino JavaScript engine to compress code by as a third or more. DOH stands for the Dojo Objective Harness, and provides a standalone system for unit testing your JavaScript code. This is also discussed here.

This book assumes that you've done some web development with client-side technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. You by no means, however, need to be an expert in any of these skills and you really don't need to know anything at all about what happens on a web server because Dojo is a client-side technology. Just knowing what they are and how they are used is more than enough. As in most O'Reilly applied programming technology books, there are plenty of code examples. The book just doesn't talk about all of this stuff, it actually shows you the technology in action.

If you are an existing web developer or even a hobbyist who is able to construct a very simple web page and apply a little JavaScript and CSS to brighten things up a bit, then you are qualiified to read this book. If you haven't even heard of HTML, JavaScript, or CSS, and have never written any code that works with any of these languages and technologies, then you might want to consider picking up a good introduction on web development before tackling this book.

The following is a detailed table of contents:

Part 1: Base and Core
Chapter 1. Toolkit Overview
Chapter 2. Language and Browser Utilities
Chapter 3. Event Listeners and Pub/Sub Communication
Chapter 4. AJAX and Server Communication
Chapter 5. Node Manipulation
Chapter 6. Internationalization
Chapter 7. Drag-and-Drop
Chapter 8. Animation and Special Effects
Chapter 9. Data Abstraction
Chapter 10. Simulated Classes and Inheritance
Chapter 11. Dijit Overview
Chapter 12. Dijit Anatomy and Lifecycle
Chapter 13. Form Widgets
Chapter 14. Layout Widgets
Chapter 15. Application Widgets
Chapter 16. Build Tools, Testing, and Production Considerations
Appendix A. A Firebug Primer
Appendix B. A Brief Survey of DojoX
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on October 12, 2008
Any computer library strong in web development will find DOJO: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE an excellent introduction which covers all 1.x versions and offers plenty of examples and tested code sets. From customizing Dojo to overseeing developers using Dojo in larger settings, this offers the programmer/manager a set of keys to working efficiently with Dojo to produce superior layouts and web applications.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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