Javascript Web Applications - A Review

Last month I read a great book. It is one of those “must reads” about JavaScript as far as I’m concerned. I’m talking about Alex MacCaw’s book “Javascript Web Applications.”

As the book progresses he walks you through various concepts around building better JavaScript web applications. He starts fairly simple, focusing on JavaScript inheritance and then events. Next he starts moving into subjects like building models and “ORM”s as he calls them (I think a poor term for what he is talking about, loading data), controllers, dealing with state and templating views. If you have spent much time with client-side MV* frameworks, you will notice that he has basically talked about the core bits of most MV* framworks.

Then there are a few miscellaneous chapters, on subjects like dependency management (an excellent chapter) and a few other useful, though perhaps not exciting chapters. He ends the book with a chapter on using Spine.js (his MV* library), a chapter on Backbone.js and finally a chapter on JavaScript MVC.

What I like so much about the book is that he leads you through the thought processes behind the core ideas of many client-side MV* libraries then shows you how to use them. It’s a great way to get into these types of libraries. I’ve been interested in JavaScript MV* scene for a while and I’ve used Spine.js the most. Having Alex walk through his thinking on how the bits should fit together is very helpful.

So what if you aren’t planning on using Spine.js? Well, the books about the ideas behind these frameworks. It’s about modular code, JavaScript techniques and inheritance. That means it has quite a bit to say about JavaScript for the large number of us developers these days who seem to be writing more and more of it. If you are not interested in the various MV* frameworks, you can still get a lot out of this book.

But a little of a warning before you start working through the book. If your JavaScript skills are a bit rusty, I would recommend getting re-acquainted with JavaScript before you read this book. Perhaps get Crockford’s “Javascript: The Good Parts.” MacCaw's book good read but not an easy read. But it was certainly worth it.

You can get your copy here at Amazon. If you live in the Dallas area, you can also pick up a copy at nerdbooks.