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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book and decent example., 18 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Prototype and Scriptaculous in Action (Paperback)
I would say 90% of this book is very clear and easy to read.
There are a few places where I found the book lacking. Predominantly this revolved around chapter 8 where the images from the Scratchpad had no correlation with the text. It's as if things got terribly mixed up and nobody spotted this in the proof reading.
I also found the material a bit hard to understand in a couple of places. Eg Position object. Section 11.2.4.
But on the whole the book does convey information very well.
The book uses a blend of PHP, servlets and Ruby on Rails for server-side code. Personally I marginally would have preferred if they had stuck to Servlets and Tomcat, but enjoyed adding PHP and Ruby on Rails to my tool belt.
The Prototype library enhances Javascript by providing a lot of low level enhancement to Javascript and sort out event handling and cross browser issues. It provides extensive extensions to array processing and DOM node manipulation. (In my opinion jQuery is better for the latter and Dojo provides a similar event processing enhancements).
Scriptaculous builds upon Prototype and provides extensive "special effects" and drag and drop type functionality. Controls are developed like Sliders, Autocompleters, InPlaceEditors You can do things like accordion style effects, make items on the page shake and do all sorts of animations.
The download gives good lab examples to help you get to grips with the effects.
The book initially shows how to develop a regular web app without Ajax, that is a remote file manager like Windows Explorer.
The book continues to discuss the Prototype and Scriptaculous libraries providing an excellent Ajax tutorial along the way with good coverage of things like closures.
The book later returns to the web app and Ajaxifies it consolidating the information taught earlier, transforming the application into a Slideshow application whereby you can tag photos with descriptions and drag & drop them into slideshows. It mimics a trash can so you can remove pictures from the slideshow by dragging them onto it along with save/restore capabilities to a PHP server.
The book ends up discussing how Ruby on Rails makes coding easier. It sits on top of Prototype and Scriptaculous and via helpers embedded into server-side Scriplets generates you Javascript for you from more concise code.
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