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Practical Prototype and script.aculo.us (Expert's Voice in Web Development)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2008
Prototype and script.aculo.us are influential and widely adopted. It's not surprising that book publishers are rushing to cover them. What is surprising is that most of the titles currently available are of such poor quality. This is the good one.

Practical Prototype and script.aculous is well-organized, easy-to-read, covers the feature set well and includes a wealth of non-fluffy background material that beginners and journeymen alike will appreciate. The book easily paid for itself in time savings. Use it with the API reference at prototypejs.org/api and you'll be all set.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2009
I'm a freelance web developer and received this book as a gift, but had been planning on buying it. 'Practical Prototype and Script.aculo.us' offers us a one-stop source for the popular JavaScript libraries in the title. Unlike online resources, the book gives you background on the Prototype library, which is essentially a buffer between you (the developer) and JavaScript. This allows Prototype to worry about browser-compatibility in many cases, and allows easy access to many common functions such as AJAX requests and inserting HTML into a div. Script.aculo.us, on the other hand, is built to sit on top of Prototype and provide UI (user interface) enhancements, such as dynamic sliders, drag-and-drop, and more.

While I have years of experience with building websites, this book is not written just for experienced coders. In most cases, it gives you background information on the topic at hand and doesn't assume you know too much about anything in particular.

I would recommend that readers have a basic knowledge of HTML, and an average understanding of JavaScript. This is a great resource, and every web developer should have a copy if they plan on keeping up with the industry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2009
As an experienced but not always savvy enough JS and CSS developer, I very much appreciated that this book not only shows you how to use Prototype and script.aculo.us, but also gives you a lot of background about the difference in core JS, HTML and CSS among the browsers and how Prototype overcomes those differences.
Overall I enjoyed the book quite a bit, however: the technical editing is really, really poor, so I have to reduce my rating a couple of points. I found tens of errors, from typos to technical errors in the sample code.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2008
Andrew does an excellent job introducing developers at all levels to the power of these great frameworks, providing an easy way for those new to JavaScript to get started as well as the important information required by the experienced. Add in a dash of Andrew's dry humor and direct experience building Prototype as a part of the core team and you've got a hell of a great resource for Web developers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I am finding and learning a lot from this book, and it is indeed helping me with practical solutions for using the Prototype and script.aculo.us toolkits. However, the book begins by diving into advanced javascripting concepts with an assumption that the reader is not just familiar with javascript but is fairly advanced themselves. Given that the book opens with a statement that these concepts are the foundation for using the toolkits, I felt a little overwhelmed right off the bat. But, Mr. Dupont does get practical and the explanations for how to use the toolkits are great, and it is worth it to wade into the waters of javascript development at a level beyond intermediate because that's where the real power appears to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2009
I felt like the book was mainly geared for people who are beginners in prototype and scriptaculous (which I am), and the book did a good job introducing the libraries. But as the book went on, I yearned for examples that were a little more advanced. Most of the examples in the book are a little simple to be put into play for some of the more advanced widgets that I am building. I found numerous errors in the sample code (part of this was because some functions in PHP have been deprecated, but there are still several errors not related to this).

Overall the book does a good job of covering the basics of these two libraries, and I felt that I learned them well, but I thought it could have gone in to much more detail.
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on October 24, 2009
This book provides an easy, breezy, clear introduction to Prototype and script.aculo.us. I'm only 20% through at this writing (having begun only a couple of days ago), but I love just about everything regarding this book.

The examples are usually very clear (one used a feature that wasn't introduced until a few pages later, but I've encountered that only once) and are presented in a conversational style without being chatty. Prototype itself appears to be very easy to integrate into a web app; I like both the design and the utility of the library.

Knowing JavaScript beforehand is not strictly necessary so long as one has the requisite background in another language (e.g., Ruby, Java, C, or Objective-C).

The book's physical properties are outstanding as well: the pages are substantial and bright, and the typography is very clear. (I don't care much for the sans-serif font used for the table of contents, but fortunately that's the only portion that's hard to read.)

On the downside, there are a few typos here and there (Google for apress prototype errata) and the screenshots are from Windows, but nobody's perfect. ;-)

All in all, this is an outstanding book. (I'd give it 4.5 stars because of the typos, but it's definitely better than 4 stars, hence the 5-star rating.)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2008
It's the best book in the field yet, though it would be best if it has come out earlier, the samples are easy to understand, and to incorporate in any other snippet. Great!
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on August 19, 2011
This book is a great buy for anyone looking to get started with PrototypeJS Scriptaculous it takes the novice to an intermediate level and cover the most important features in a fair amount of details while staying concise. PrototypeJS Scriptaculous is much more powerful than jQuery especially if you like to remain in control of CSS and images use, the quality and ease of use of the callbacks and events in this client library is second to none. If you can find your way around a CSS document and you can use an image editing application then I can only recommend PrototypeJS Scriptaculous over any other client library.
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on August 19, 2011
This book is a great buy for anyone looking to get started with PrototypeJS Scriptaculous it takes the novice to an intermediate level and cover the most important features in a fair amount of details while staying concise. PrototypeJS Scriptaculous is much more powerful than jQuery especially if you like to remain in control of CSS and images use, the quality and ease of use of the callbacks and events in this client library is second to none. If you can find your way around a CSS document and you can use an image editing application then I can only recommend PrototypeJS Scriptaculous over any other client library.
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