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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, avoid., 14 April 2011
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This review is from: Smashing JQuery: Professional Techniques with Ajax and JQuery (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A couple of months before getting this book I read the Sitepoint book "jQuery: Novice to Ninja". It's an excellent book and I highly recommend it jQuery: Novice to Ninja (or alternatively, jQuery in Action, Second Edition though not as easy for beginners as Novice to Ninja).

When the Smashing book came out, I thought I'd get it to compare - Smashing Magazine being quite a trendy setup and I had high hopes for it.

The initial impression was wow - lovely colour screenshots, great layout and even the code samples are colour highlighted as in an IDE.

Looking at the contents, a sense of deja-vu - it's almost the same, and in the same order, as the Sitepoint book. But no harm there. Jake Rutter emphasizes the importance of unobtrusive Javascript, graceful degradation, progressive enhancement - just like Sitepoint, clearly on the ball there with trendy (and true) thinking.

Then I started to notice the errors. So I looked at the other reviews on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and yes, lots of complaints about errors, sufficient for one person to return their copy! I jumped to the advanced chapter to see if there's any useful info there not in the Sitepoint book - how about Ajax? In the Sitepoint book it's relegated to Appendix A. Jake's book covers Ajax, but again, spoils it. The server side is a cop out, assumed to be beyond the scope of the book. A simple PHP form handler would have been much more useful! And again, statements that shock me with disbelief:

"POST requests are different from GET requests in that they post the data to the server-side process behind the scenes, which makes them safer, especially for transmitting sensitive data." On the next page he writes "The POST request is perfectly suited for submitting contact forms because they usually contain personal and confidential information that you need to keep secure." WOW! You mean like credit card details? Without SSL encryption? This guy is clearly on the designer side of life, without a clue what goes on "behind the scenes". Of course, the only way POST is more secure than GET is in the latter, the parameters are on the URL and can therefore be copied as bookmarks or emailed as a URL - not something you want to do with "sensitive" data. But anyone with wireshark or juggler can see the data is transmitted unencrypted, and therefore just as insecure.

Finally the writing style, or lack thereof. Maybe it's the over-use of writing in the first person present-tense: "I'm going to show you how to manipulate data that is in the tables. When I say manipulate I mean... I explain the following solutions... I use the following HTML table..." (page 161, but very typical, and that's over just a few sentences). It quickly gets tedious and reads as if self-centred.

Switch over to the Sitepoint book, and it's all about us and we... it just seems friendlier.

In short, the Sitepoint book was written by two highly experienced writers and was proof-read by a team of experts. It looks like Jake had no help, and he needed it.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

CMB
(VINE VOICE)   

Location: London UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,362