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JavaScript: The Good Parts
Written by Nicholas Salvadore
Tuesday, May 12 2009 20:40
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Author: Douglas Crockford
Published: May 2008
Publisher: O'Reilly Publishing
Reviewer's Rating: 4/5

JavaScript: The Good Parts, is a concise, well written JavaScript guide intended for JavaScript developers with some degree of experience, and familiarity with the language. It does an excellent job of demonstrating to the developer how to get away from the object oriented class model that most popular languages of today utilize, and use the class free prototypal inheritance model which JavaScript was designed for.

In addition to looking at broad design of JavaScript programming, Crockford points out common mistakes and problems that plague even experienced web developers. This ranges from more complex problems like JavaScript's lack of tail recursion optimization, to the preferred ways of declaring simple arrays and objects. Things any developer can benifit from.

 Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of this book are the fully coded functions used to demonstrate shortfalls of JavaScript. These functions, such as is_array(), isNumber(), and trim(), not only provide the reader with an excellent solution, but gives a solid understanding of why the problem exists, and more importantly, why is must be corrected. Like all books, JavaScript: The Good Parts isn't without problems. While it provides an ample number of examples, some of the examples are overly condensed, and others seem incomplete.

Overall JavaScript: The Good Parts is a valuable book which I would recommend to anybody who wishes to get a deeper understanding of JavaScript, or simply just wants to write more efficient and more soundly structured code.

View more information about JavaScript: The Good Parts at the publisher's site

Object-Oriented Programming with PHP5: Learn to leverage PHP5's OOP features to write manageable applications with ease
Written by Asa Martin
Tuesday, January 27 2009 10:22
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Author: Hasin Hayder
Published: December 2007
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Reviewer's Rating: 3/5

This book covers an introduction to object-oriented programming, design patterns for php, reflection, unit testing, SPL, databases, XML, and MVC design. It is targeted for beginner to intermediate users. Being new to PHP but not to programming I found the book to be a great introduction to the language. In fact, I learned quite a bit in this read which I am sure will prove valuable in my future development. The author gives many examples and does a decent job explaining things as he moves forward. Another plus is the book is an easy read and not very long.

Unfortunately nothing is perfect and this book has some issues which are difficult to ignore. It is obvious that the author's first language was not English. He is able to convey his thoughts but the poor grammar should have been caught by the editor. I found this very distracting while reading. Another problem is while the author attempts to explain things in simple, plain language; he glosses over important points or is not clear enough in others. I realize this is knit picky but the end of his definition of the word "class" reads, "...sometimes in the book we will name an object as class, as they are both synonymous." Objects and classes are not the same thing and I feel that this distinction while not a major issue for new programmers should not be misrepresented. The last issue I will cover is in the design patterns section. He attempts to recreate the Singleton pattern which is one of the better known in development circles. While his code will work, it is not correct. He maintains a static instance variable properly but fails to protect the constructor by making it private. I am assuming from his example that the developer is supposed to call the constructor to obtain the singleton instance but by not protecting the constructor the php interpreter will create a new instance of the singleton object every time. The static instance variable will remain the same and the example will appear to work but in a real system this could become an issue as there are potentially multiple instance objects floating around on the heap waiting for garbage collection.

View more information about Object-Oriented Programming with PHP5: Learn to leverage PHP5's OOP Features To Write Manageable Applications With Ease at the publisher's site

Learning PHP Data Objects: A Beginner's Guide to PHP Data Objects, Database Connection Abstraction Library for PHP 5
Written by Matt Skinner
Monday, January 26 2009 20:27
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Author: Dennis Popel
Published: August 2007
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Reviewer's Rating: 4/5

This book is targeted for PHP developers that are moving to PHP Data Objects (PDO) introduced in PHP 5. If you have limited experience with Object Oriented Programming (OOP), the book includes an appendix with almost 20 pages of OOP instruction with lot of PDO examples. If you don't need the OOP lesson, there are 154 pages dedicated to PDO.

The benefit of spending nearly $40 on 154 pages is to rapidly experience the benefits of PDO though lots of examples. If you're an advanced php developer, this book may not be for you. If you have limited experience with OOP and/or need a quick boost, this book has my recommendation.

View more information about Learning PHP Data Objects: A Beginner's Guide to PHP Data Objects, Database Connection Abstraction Library for PHP 5 at the publisher's website

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