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Interactive Front-end Web Development
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Since the negative aspect is so small, let's just get that out of the way. As with other technical books, this one has its share of grammatical errors. Even so, the number of them is surprisingly small for this genre. And they don't interfere with comprehension.
There's another negative aspect, but it's beyond the control of the author. Let me explain it with a similar situation. I write articles about the National Electrical Code (NEC). The current NEC runs 829 pages, not including its index. Obviously, the typical electrician doesn't carry a copy in his pants pocket. And the NEC is notoriously complex, difficult to understand, and tricky to apply.
Many years ago, a colleague of mine (Fred Hartwell) gave an excellent presentation on an NEC topic. An attendee told Fred he hated the presentation, because it was too complicated and what Fred needed to do was focus his efforts on getting the NEC code-making panels to simplify the NEC. Fred responded that the application of electricity is complicated, and addressing those complications is what makes the NEC complicated. When Fred told me this story, I suggested we should get started right away simplifying electricity by eliminating a dozen or so laws of physics. Laugh, laugh....
But that can happen only with a clear, unrushed, "start from the beginning" explanation of these foundational concepts. And this is exactly how Duckett begins. The Introduction is lean on text, using a summary style to get the main points across quickly. I like the graphical organization technique used here. It helps move the reader right along, rather than bury you in dense prose or complex diagrams. If only authors of Calculus books would take this approach!
And it's not just the smart use of graphics for organization that makes this book stand out visually. I don't think words can do it justice. Not even words like stunning or beautiful. You just have to see this book. The graphics aren't gratuitous eye candy, either. They aren't an afterthought slapped in there to meet the publisher's minimum graphics requirement. They are integral to the book. Jon manages to mix graphics and text in a way that makes less work for the reader. And they are really great graphics; the people who created these (and their names are disclosed on the Credit page) as masters in their respective crafts.
Chapter One follows a similar pattern of graphics used to make the material more accessible, but with the complexity level raised a notch (as I think it should be). But it also raises the helpfulness of the graphical cues a notch. If you have zero programming or Web development experience, this chapter gets you in the game. If you've got that experience, this chapter makes for a good refresher.
The next three chapters take you into a lot of jargon, and there a long stretches where it seems that all we're doing is learning vocabulary. For example, yada yada yada and we call that a function. Then yada yada yada and we call that a method. Then yada yada yada and we call that an object. While reading through this I was trying to think of how Jon could have done this part better. This issue takes us back to my earlier point about the NEC. Or another way of looking at it would be to imagine a medical student taking anatomy classes and not learning the names of muscles or other body structures. This just has to be done.
Chapter 8 is about Ajax and JSON, which might be useful for you. Ajax can load data into part of a page without requiring a refresh; applications for it are endless. JSON is a data format commonly used with Ajax.
The next five (and final) chapters cover what I consider advanced topics. These include error handling, debugging, content panels (something I've implemented using Project Seven's scripts), filtering, searching, sorting, and forms.
So I see this book partly as a tutorial that gets you going, but mostly as a reference so you can build from there. Using its index and its table of contents, you should be able to find exactly the guidance you need to get the job done.