Effective JavaScript Book Review

Looking for resources to help you maximize your learnings and minimize your time use is often fruitless. Publishing deadlines cut books short, real life gets in the author’s way, and personal preference, well there isn’t much you can do about that. In many ways, this book is an oddity.

The voice is at ease, nothing is crammed down your throat and it doesn’t feel like he was slamming caffeinated beverages just to get it done. It is refreshing being the recipient of an exposition that not only teaches you, but questions you, and sets expectations of you and what you should learn. The book is broken up into 68 different lessons, and it ends up being a perfect approach. It gives you time to pick it up when you are free and dig as deep as you want. It also is very humble, the sections make the point and pose the advice, and if you don’t grok it then you had better revisit it. Again, it makes for peaceful and pleasant reading, without sacrificing the seriousness or even urgency of the valuable points contained within.

Books like this are few and far between, at least when it comes to industrial concerns. This book is a gem for the JavaScript technology, because it poses the technology for thoughtful grownups instead of obsessing over the 24h tricks, recipes of the week, and “one way to do it right”, it will be a timeless contribution that will always be valued.

Just like the author said, it is not for new learners of the language, it is for experiences programmers who have gotten through the first 80% and now want to master the remaining 80%.

On the Kindle it looked great, text, code, and pictures.

In my eyes, this is the missing manual that should have gone out with ECMA-262. 5/5

JavaScript: The Good Parts Book Review

If you are new to JavaScript, then you have voluminous options available to your for your pursuit of knowledge. In my case, I started with the ECMA-262 standard for ECMAScript 5. You can tell that there was a lot of love there; though it wasn’t really the right place (at least for me) to get started. Instead I wanted a “when the tires hit the pavement” overview, and the book delivered that.

The book is lovingly written in a way that all technical people should behave, or for that matter, every conscious entity should behave: focus on the positive, respect the negative, and move on with life. The book covers tons of great guts of the language and how to use it “for real”. I need not say more, the book delivers on its promises, and that is why I gave it a 5/5.

The Kindle version looks great, everything is readable. The chapters and sections are light and terse, you get a lot of bang for your buck. In terms of the voice, it wasn’t my personal preference, and for me it was really hard reading, but that is my problem, not the author’s, and consequently the rating stands.

Mastering Web Application Development with AngularJS Book Review

My journey to using AngularJS (NG) was quite raw, relying entirely on the online
documentation, API documentation, blog posts, Google group, and stackoverflow
links. Surely, not unique, but definitely lacking in some ways since the NG
documentation is notoriously brief when you get to the “rich” (aka hard) parts.
After 6 months hacking on NG apps, I got really curious about what “the experts”
had to say and this book seemed to fit the bill.

The first thing that struck me is that the book is not meant to be your first
introduction to web application development of any kind SPA or not. All dev
topics are given some coverage, but it is pretty clear that the authors are
master NG users, so be aware before purchasing it. Topics about how to utilize
NG functionality, debug performance issues, and also optimize them reveal a
solid and in-depth understanding. Although they are at the learning-arc where
they grok it, they are still on that path, and the result is copious amounts of
code in some areas in an attempt to “make the point”, when teaching the point
would have saved a lot of time and space. At times there is a lot of fluff
and over-speak, seemingly meant to blow up the page count, and I blame the
editors for that.

There are many lovable things about this book but I’ll focus on the top two.

First, the book covers real world issues. The build process, authentication,
authorization, build and deploy, artifact management, dependency management,
project structure, and testing are covered in depth. If you want to maintain
your sanity, this book is priceless for the topic alone (experienced developers
will already know all this, but listing the best of breed tools is still
helpful). Second, the authors have a passion for the technology, and that comes
through as they get into relatively under-taught topics like the engine that
powers NG and what you need to know to keep your apps performant. That is
really one of the most interesting things that this book reveals: NG makes
simple apps easy and impossible apps possible, but with a price, you must grok
the engine. Dev teams that laze-out and “wait until we need to” learn how the
guts work will suffer accordingly due to the non-obvious interdependencies of
the event structure inherent to the technology. Their explanation of
transclusion warrants purchasing the book, seriously, no one else seems to truly
understand how to explain the feature (or I’m too dumb to grok the API docs).

The formatting on the Kindle is super. The book is oddly overly simplistic
offering poor coding styles in some parts and extremely amazingly over technical
in others. The coverage on forms is better than everything else out there, and
yet at the same time doesn’t seem to cover reusability of validation and data
models across the enterprise. The chapters on directives are quite nice, and
helps you to “think different” about what it means to serve your client, and
your team using the tech. Pages and pages of code samples could be summarized
with eloquent teaching, but everybody has deadlines so I get it.

_Mastering Web Application Development with AngularJS_ is a delightful book. It
tackles what you will eventually learn on your own. It is kind of like being
able to sit with a NG master and brainstorm with them and listen to their war
stories turned lessons. It is for developers who have been around the block a
few times though, so start elsewhere to learn HTTP, CSS, JavaScript, Async
programming, multi-threaded programming GUI programming, and architecture before
diving into this book. If you grok a functional programming language like
Scheme, and a declarative programming language like CLIPS, then you will
appreciate the amazing and awesome power of AngularJS even more. Thanks for the
great book. 5/5

Pro Git Book Review

As a Subversion master-user I was hoping for a lot from \_Pro Git and was rewarded greatly. The author gives Git a fair shake without throwing Subversion under the bus. He does a great job teaching not just the tools, but the culture and “how to think” the Git way. The latter is devoid in literally every tutorial I’ve seen online, and I’m not sure it is even possible to sum it up in anything less than the entirety of this book. The length is just fine, chapter are brief, terse, light, and information packed. The multitude of tools and approaches revealed in the book make it worth reading, and buying, too. Although the book is free online, the author should be rewarded with a purchase. Before reading this I spent 5 months using Git with the typical docs: man pages, stackoverflow.com, and random posts. This book pulled everything together, it was kind of like sitting with a hacker who really groks it all (as you will see in the last chapter), and that alone is priceless. 5/5

Addendum: the formatting and graphics in the Kindle version look excellent (forgot to mention this key point as not all Kindle books look this great).