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Dart in Action Paperback – 1 Feb 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (1 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617290866
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617290862
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 2.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,073,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Chris Buckett is a Technical Consultant responsible for delivering enterprise-scale web-based business applications. Chris runs the popular blog, and is an active contributor to the dartlang mailing list. As a target user of Dart himself, he is well-placed to present the evolving language of Dart to the reader.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good writing style and structure, needs update 16 Jun. 2013
By A. Burnett - Published on
Format: Paperback
This really could be *the* seminal classic on learning Dart...if it were updated to recent releases of Dart. At the time it was released Dart was M1. Now I believe Dart is M4 but the book's examples do not reflect the changes which have occurred in Dart. Perhaps the author is planning to update the book after Dart reaches 1.0?

In any case, until the book is updated it is rather difficult to follow along. I wasn't aware of this when I purchased the book on So buyer beware: when updated to a recent release of Dart, this book will be awesome. Until then it's not useful to beginners, though experts in a related language (C# or Java) may be okay.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Dart in Action is a worthwhile investment. 6 Feb. 2013
By D. Douglas - Published on
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book through the manning website directly and not through Amazon, but wanted to post a review here.

Why would I buy a book about an open source language when I could find free information about it anywhere?

I was excited about the new Dart language (, recently launched by Google, because I wanted to program for the web in a way that I was familiar with other structured programming languages. While the Dart community provides many helpful getting started and hello world examples, I needed a way to dive deeper into the language. Before the book, I found myself spending hours searching for how to code something. Dart in Action collates this open source noise into more detailed examples than what is found on the Internet. Yet, each example reads in a way that isn't too complicating so I can quickly tailor it to my current application.

Why would I buy a book about this language when it is rapidly changing?

Purchase of the print book comes with an offer of a free PDF, ePub, and Kindle eBook from Manning. So as the code changes, I am still able to stay up-to-date. Not only does it serve as a great reference, it reads well. While not offered officially here on Amazon, I was able to download the .mobi kindle version and email it to my kindle (app on Android). I continue reading it to polish my knowledge when I'm not at my computer coding.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Get started with Dart easily with this in-depth book 13 May 2013
By Christian Grobmeier - Published on
Format: Paperback
Recently I read "Dart in Action" by Chris Buckett. I know Chris from the early days of the Dart language. We both joined the community almost instantly. At the day of Darts arrival, he founded and blogs on all aspects of the language. Chris is definitely one of these guys who knows what he writes. After one year, a lot of blog posts, countless e-mails to the Dart mailing lists and doing a lot of other community related things, he finished a book on Dart.

A book? This alone is impressive. Dart is a kind of moving target. There is a lot of man-power behind its development and every day there are a lots of changes to Darts codebase. Dart arrived as a technical preview and as such it was allowed to have breaking changes. Chris was not only confronted with learning a language by looking at its specification and find out about hidden features in the bug trackers; he also had to rewrite whole sections over and over again just because the language changed. A simple example: suddenly the + operator for string concatenations was removed. A more complicated example: the whole library/import thing changed.

Still Chris kept on writing. Finally Dart became more stable in its core, and the book was released. What I got was a book from a dedicated and passionate Dart-developer, who knows the language, its ecosystem and the community from day 1.

The book itself reads like that. It's a fantastic book which takes you by hand and leads you through the whole world of Dart. With that I mean it doesn't stop at just explaining some grammar or how to use API $x. Dart is not "only a language". Dart is a whole ecosystem consisting of language, APIs AND tools. Chris shows from the beginning where you need to look at, like using the Dart Editor or how to deal with third party dependencies.

You almost do not recognize how you get into all these new technologies. While he explains how to write code, he also shows how to debug it or what you can do with it in practice. It is far from boring grammar descriptions or rephrased API docs as one can often find in books. You can work on your program while reading this book. It's for people like me, who do not want to read through 500 pages with boring examples just to make up something cool after the memorized all of the thousand keywords. This book shows you what you can do, how you do it, and what you should be aware of. It's easy to connect the books content with your real-life-problems.

The writing style is clear, precise and well balanced. An easy read. The tune is one of a colleague who did find some great new toy to play with and now explains it to you. It is a motivating and inspiring text and very enjoyable. There was not a single chapter which made me bored or drifting away.

The content is a great mix of everything important in Dart.

You will learn about running Dart from the Browser but also how to run it from the shell, maybe when building your backend with Dart. You learn how you can write test driven code. Unit testing with Dart is especially something which I did not know much about before. In the early days of Dart it was not so much a topic, and due to work I did not follow it to closely later. Chris sent me back on track. Now I even know how to do browser testing, which is big win for me.

He explains on how properly to use classes, interfaces and constructors. Also he looks into libraries and shows possibilities here. What I like much is the fact he is also explaining best practices. Not only Darts best practice, but general ones. These are experiences he made maybe from his time as GWT developer. They are very helpful if you just start with your programming career.

In general, the core part of this book feels complete and balanced. There is even a part describing Futures and Completers. Both are heavily used async concepts in todays browser programming world, and with "Dart in Action" it is easy to get into them. Another bonus point is he is explaining how you can test asynchronous code. As this is a very difficult matter, I have not expected that.

The chapters on client development are also very good. One can first find a great introduction into single-page web apps. I wished I would have read this before a long time now. It also gives you a great view how you can actually build your Dart app. If you are coming from the classic approach of maintaining multiple pages, you might find this section very useful. He is also writing on how to use Cookies and Data Storage. Especially the browser db part I found very interesting.

One often asked question is how to interact with JavaScript from Dart and vice versa. You will find an answer in this book. Even more: Chris describes how to make apps for the Chrome web store. With this, you already have enough knowledge to start with your App, integrate it to existing libs and finally deploy it to its final destination. A complete cycle. But there is even more.

The book closes with looking at server side Dart. It's shown how to interact with Apache CouchDB as data store and how one can serve [...] requests with Dart. Everybody who is into Node.js knows that it is a great feeling to just use the same language for frontend and backend. Finally he looks into Isolates, one of my favorite topics. Even when I know a lot on Isolates (some kind of multithreading in Dart), I found this is a very competent introduction into it and I did not regret to have it read.

My conclusion is this a great book. Usually I do not read books on programming languages anymore. They tend to be boring and quickly out of date. But this book is different. It shows you more than just grammar and APIs. It shows you how to move in the Dart world. How you solve things. It's an enjoyable read from a very competent Dart programmer. If you want to learn Dart you already have the great docs on the website. But if you would like to get even more quickly into Dartlang, then you should definitely look at this book. Despite the language is still evolving, most of its content will be true for a long time. If not, then the author can be found in one of the Dart communities.

Please note: Dart envolves, but this book is still great. While a few things may have changed meanwhile, you are still recommended to buy this book (or any later version).

About the review author:

Christian is an Open Source developer, focussing on web technologies. He is mainly active in the Apache Software Foundation, but also very interested in Dart. Besides Open Source, he works as independent Software Developer & Trainer. He founded Time & Bill, a free time tracking tool: [...]

More on Dart, the author of this review or other technical topics can be found at his website: [...]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great Instruction, not enough Angular/Polymer 2 May 2014
By Skyler - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a novice web developer who has read about many programming/web dev concepts, but little experience building apps myself, particularly web apps. I read through this book and worked from it alone, and I am still learning from what it has to offer.

That said, this is a solid instructional book. The explanations for what Dart is all about, the language features, DOM manipulation, the event loop, the future (callback) system, the class system, and the browser's local storage APIs really gave me the understanding I needed to follow the example code and adapt it to my own projects. And yes, did I mention; The book contains a link to example code that you can download and run on your own machine. This is an awesome feature.

That said, the section on setting up a server contain examples that use API that has since been dropped and no longer work. If you are a skilled web developer this might not be a problem, but I spent a ton of time looking back and forth at the example code, following it, looking up the docs, and reading the book on what they meant. Eventually I was able to re-adapt the new server APIs to the descriptions, and it turned out to be a somewhat helpful exercise, I suppose.

While I was online, I ran into a bunch of Dart tutorials and examples that refer to two dart libraries called Angular and Polymer. Both are complex beasts with a ton of powerful features, I think some of their features partially overlap, and I don't understand them fully, but from what I can tell, they are essential for any serious dart developer. Neither were mentioned in this book. This is a more serious issue than the server examples, because almost all of the information I could find on Polymer or Angular refer to the javascript versions, and the free documentation on the dartlang website is just not good enough for a novice like myself to self-teach from. However, I imagine someone who understands the web technologies themselves would have better luck following said documentation.

EDIT MAY10: A new tutorial on Angular Dart has been published, called "Today's @Directive: Get Up to Speed Using Angular with Dart" by Richard Griffith. Search it. It's very helpful.

In conclusion, this book will give you an excellent overview of how the language works and how you should think about it, lots of great examples, but if you are unskilled with the latest web technologies and want to use libraries like Polymer or Angular, I would consider some kind of supplemental material (other Dart book, HTML5 book, or polymer/angular book).
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Companion for learning Milestone 1 29 Jan. 2013
By Bomin - Published on
Format: Paperback
If your background is in JavaScript and you need to get serious with classes or you want to learn a web language to enhance your Java or C# skills, this book teaches you to create single page web apps with Dart. The book covers the essential language features and tooling of the first milestone version (M1) of this new structured, object oriented and optionally typed web language from Google.

Main focus in the book is to iteratively build example apps and at the same time teach you language features. Both client- and server-side use cases are introduced.
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