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on July 18, 2012
Web Developer's Cookbook by Robin Nixon is an outstanding resource. Robin provides the reader with two things. First, there is the collection of over 300 PHP, JavaScript, and CSS recipes, all built by Robin, which the reader can use instantaneously in their websites. That in itself is enough reason to purchase this book; however, he doesn't stop there. He also provides the reader with an in-depth explanation for every single recipe. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, Web Developer's Cookbook will prepare you to add interactive content to your site in no time.

Beginners - Don't expect to master PHP, JavaScript, or CSS. That is not what this book is about. These languages take years of learning and practicing to become an expert. You can expect, however, to learn how to think like a developer, and how to code the right way. Before reading Robin's book, I would spend much of my "free" time researching how to perform some action with JavaScript, most of which was wasted on looking at poorly structured, incomplete code posted in random blogs and discussion threads. Web Developer's Cookbook has given me all of that time back! Robin has expertly pinned down the most common issues developers face, and he has written clean, concise code that resolves those issues. Recognizing that not every problem is the same, Mr. Nixon provides tips on how to customize the code to meet additional needs.

Experts shouldn't feel left out, either. Developers tend to develop a particular style of writing, like many authors, and sometimes these styles stray away from the "proper" way to code. This recipe book can serve as a refresher on proper coding techniques, and also provide developers with a different view on a problem set, thus improving the developer's toolbox.

Web Developer's Cookbook is a fairly easy read, which is saying a lot for a book of code. Robin takes great care to provide the reader with a predictable flow to each chapter, and more importantly, each recipe. The chapters tend to begin with either the most simple recipes or core recipes that other recipes will build on. This not only eases the developer into the code, it creates a solid foundation to build on as well. Robin steps through each recipe, explaining in detail how it works. He also shows the reader how apply each recipe. Finally, he displays the recipe in its entirety for the reader to review.

Bottom Line: Buy the book. It will instantly become a treasured tool in your developer's toolbox.

Negatives: I'm going to be picky here because it is really hard to identify one negative thing about this collection. That being said, I would have to say this book is a little long. At 975 pages, it can be very intimidating, especially for novice developers. If the reader's goal is to read the book cover-to-cover (like mine was), it can appear to be a lot to digest.

Positives: There are so many! First, the recipes are plug-and-play. A cursory review of the recipes is all it takes to get started. Next, every recipe is explained in a way that a novice can understand. Another plus is how easy the book is to read. There is also a companion site for the book. There, you can download all of the recipes, saving you from having to write a ton of code. I could go on for days...

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for review. (I would still purchase this book - it's great!)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 27, 2012
Web Developer's Cookbook is a beefy 975 page book that includes 301 "recipes": 100 PHP recipes, 101 JavaScript recipes, and 100 CSS recipes that are well explained and that can be tailored to your own requirements. The author claims each one has been developed and debugged and will save you a lot of time. Also, HTML5 and CSS3 features are used in various recipes, making this book more "up-to-date" with newer CSS and HTML standards. The book even mentions the new Microsoft Metro interface and Windows 8 (at the time of this review, Windows 8 is still months away from release).

The PHP recipes (part II of the book) include text processing (1-10), image handling (11-20), content management (21-30), forms and user input (31-40), "the intenet" (41-50), chat and messaging (51-60), MySQL, sessions, and cookies (61-70), APIs, RSS, and XML (71-80), incorporating JavaScript (81-90), and "diverse solutions" (91-100). The JavaScript recipes (Part III of the book) include "core recipes" (1-18), location and dimensions (19-30), visibility (31-42), movement and animation (43-52), chaining and interaction (53-59), menus and navigation (60-69), text effects (70-76), audio and visual effects (77-83), cookies, ajax, and security (84-89), forms and validation (90-95), and solutions to common problems (96-101). The CSS recipes (Part IV of the book) include manipulating objects (1-19), text and typography (20-32), menus and navigation (33-38), page layout (39-45), visual effects (46-57), dynamic objects (58-75), dynamic text and typography (76-85), dynamic interaction (86-90), incorporating JavaScript (91-93), and superclasses (94-100). As you can see, there is A LOT in this book.

Note that this is not a tutorial book for learning PHP, HTML, JavaScript, or CSS. However, the recipes are explained in detail, and one of the great benefits of that is that you will very likely learn some new things and pick up some new ideas from the code explanations, so in this regard this book can be a very good learning book, even worthy of reading/skimming through it all to make sure that you understand how everything is done. By reading the explanations of the recipes and examining the code, you can improve your knowledge about things like PHP functions, regular expressions, web client/server interaction, fighting spam, form validation, security, JavaScript, CSS, and more.

You can use the "recipes" simply by including one or more of three main files, one php file (which contains the PHP recipes), one js file (which contains the JavaScript recipes), and one css file (which contains the CSS recipes). Of course you can also create your own files to include with just the recipes you use (but some recipes rely on others so make sure any dependencies are also included in any of your custom include files).

The recipes may be used in your own projects, and you may modify them, without giving any attribution (though you can if you want). Using these recipes can saves time from "reinventing the wheel".

A companion site is given, where all recipes can be downloaded, along with example files to experiment/play with, though you'll need a web server with PHP, but you can easily run one on your desktop by installing one of the packages that make it easy (more in chapter 1).

One thing I would have liked to see is more discussion about performance issues. Some of the PHP recipes seem like they may be CPU intensive, like the spell checking recipe (PHP #8) and some of the recipes that use regular expressions in loops (PHP #3). I also found some inaccuracies/typos, but they were relatively few and minor. There were also a few instances of what I would consider "bad advice" (like suggesting you can do something that results in corrupted HTML (PHP #49). However, in the grand scheme of things these issues do not detract much from the overall value of the book.

Even if you just use a few recipes from the book, this book could pay for itself in the time saved from "reinventing the wheel" or from preventing a security "disaster" that you may not have otherwise prevented by writing your own recipe. You'll probably also discover some techniques, methods, and solutions to problems that that you might not have otherwise thought of (which is always a good thing for a web developer with jobs to do and problems to solve).

Overall this 975 page book contains A LOT of useful "recipes" (which you can modify if needed) with a great potential to learn a lot just by reading the book and studying the recipes & explanations. 5 stars overall.
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on May 15, 2012
Just got the books few days ago, while skimming through the chapters, I was thinking aha.. I can use this, this and that in my new application. Lots of the recipes are very easy to use and save lots of your time as developer.
The first book I bought for Robin Nixon was HTML5 for iOS and Android Mobile, it was a beginner guide to mobile apps programming and I am still referring to that book almost in regular bases. You can imagine what I will do with this cookbook!
I really recommend it for anyone who wants clean, fast and proven code ready to use.
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on June 10, 2012
I am programmer for more than 30 years. I consider myself a very good and experienced one - who doesn't :-) With cookbook type of books I am always a bit skeptical. Personally I have not gotten much out of them in the past. However, this one is somewhat different.

First, it covers three languages: PHP, JavaScript and CSS. This makes it very handy. Most everything one would need for web development purposes is available in one book. I must say that I did find ideas and approaches I have not thought about before, which is a good sign for me. Yes, of course, there are many recipes that I find trivial and hardly worth the pages they cover, but I guess it is important to also serve the beginner, not just advanced programmer.

Overall I found this a good collection of useful programs, explained in detail so that you can apply some of the ideas to other tasks as well as expand the code snippets to better serve your purpose.
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on August 7, 2012
This book was written for developers of any experience level. The recipes are clear, consise and deliver from beginning to end. I don't use it every day, but it's there when I DO need it. It's not really a book to just sit down and read. It's more for becoming familiar with its layout and the content to know what is included, and then turning to it when a solution is needed. It's a book I'll have for many many years.
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on July 11, 2012
A comprehensive book with tons of great resources. The resource files are a bit tough to navigate but there's a ton of them, so its hard to complain about a bunch of great scripts. Due to the size of the book, its not necessarily portable, but still a great desk companion.
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on May 19, 2012
As an aspiring web developer & designer, I found "Web Developer's Cookbook" to be exactly what I needed to confidently create a personal website and revamp an existing website. WDC provides hundreds of .php, .js and .css recipes that are fully explained, showing the specific recipe and how it should fit into your .htm or .html file. There are photo examples throughout the book illustrating how each recipe will display on your browser and a .zip file containing each example to view for yourself.

Implementing these recipes is as easy as downloading the files from WDC's companion website, adding WDC.js and WDC.css into your directory, referencing these files in your .html page and customizing the <script> to achieve the desired effects you are looking for. It's as simple as that!

This is the third of Robin Nixon's books that I have had the opportunity to learn from ("eML: eBook Markup Language", "HTML5 for Android & iOS" and now "Web Developer's Cookbook"). With the help of the author's vast knowledge of programming I've been able to create a number of Android eBook applications and websites, with more to come. I have nothing but praise and respect for his work and highly recommend investing time in the knowledge contained in his books. This book is easily a five star purchase.
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on April 27, 2012
Professional coders develop personal libraries of software modules for reuse. This saves time and effort as the modules are tested and future changes need only be applied once. The "Cookbook" is just the thing needed to start a young coder's library or extend an old dog's. Buy this book now!
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on May 28, 2013
You get three files with the book. Three large, linkable libraries of PHP, JS, and CSS. There's fantastic stuff in there, but it's not trivial to remember, or decide what you want to use, when. I'm thinking of putting this book in my bathroom so I can browse whenever I have...extra time. There are some neat tips and I think it'd be cool to see the latest CSS vs. JS animation techniques or use of third-party libraries covered in a future book. I think Flourish would be a cool library to cover in a future book; it's kind of the same sort of deal. PLEASE WRITE MORE OF THESE. Thanks!
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on May 27, 2013
Whenever I need an idea or cannot quite put my finger on something, I just open the WBC and start reading the index or table of contents. When I see the subject I am looking for I know it will not be long before my writer's block is gone and my creation will be well underway. Its got 300 examples. Surely this book has something you can use.
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