This week's book giveaway is in the Mac OS forum. We're giving away four copies of a choice of "Take Control of Upgrading to Yosemite" or "Take Control of Automating Your Mac" and have Joe Kissell on-line! See this thread for details.
Well, I'm not one of the authors .... Practical Ajax Projects with Java Technology builds complete 10 projects. Ajax In Practice is a kind of cookbook. Have you read any Cookbooks from O'reilly ? If you did, I think you know how Ajax In Practice smells. Sorry authors.
I'll disagree with that categorization. In fact, everyone involved with the book, be it the authors, or the many involved editors, worked very very hard to make sure that even though the format of the book presents problems that require solutions, that the book would not degrade into a simplistic cookbook offering high-level answers to simple questions.
Rather, the book offers in-depth solutions to complicated, real-world issues that face web developers using Ajax. [ April 12, 2007: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
The last o'Reilly cookbook that I read was Nat Torkington's Perl Cookbook (some time ago), and I remember finding it pretty useful, actually. I don't know whether they've kept up the quality since, but I'd be loathe to dismiss the format out of hand.
Cookbooks work best as reference books rather than read-em-all-in-one-go narratives. The other popular format for documenting large tracts of code, again pioneered by o'Reilly, is the Nutshell format, which is more of a straight tour through the API with working examples very much a secondary feature.
On the whole, I prefer the cookbook approach, because it's more hands-on. It depends on the topic, but in the case of Ajax, we're dealing with technologies with a long and chequered history, so much of the important knowledge to impart to the reader lies in the 'gotchas 'and workarounds, as much as a blow-by-blow account of the API.
Within the cookbook format, there is a lot of scope for variety. At one end of the spectrum, with very small, focused examples, it starts to look like a nutshell book. At the other end, it begins to look more like the Apress book that Satou described, with relatively large examples.
We're somewhere in the middle with 'Ajax in Practice', leaning more towards the large example end, I'd say - particularly in the later chapters. And yes, we've adopted the cookbook format only inasmuch as we present the examples with a problem:solution iscussion structure. So, I'd agree with Bear that we're not presenting simplistic solutions - wherever it's necessary, we've gone into the gotchas, implementation issues, different ways of getting the job done, etc. And that's what readers want most of the time, according to the people I speak to at training events, conferences and mailing lists.
I don't know Frank Zammetti's book well, but I guess it's very high quality. He was a technical reviewer of 'Ajax in Action', and did a splendid job of it (hi, Frank!). I suspect that the difference between our book and his lies in the fact that 'Java' is in the title. The site for his book mentions Ajax Tags, Ant and various other Java-specific stuff, so it looks like he's providing a complete development overview for Java developers. While we're also using Java exclusively for this book, we're using simplified, dumbed-down Java as much as poss, just to get the job done, and focusing our attention on the client-side. Ajax in Practice isn't aimed only at Java Developers, so we want our server-side examples to be readable by PHP-ers, Rubyists, .NETters etc.
(This is an ongoing non-issue for me in the Ajax books that I've been involved in. Ajax in Action used PHP, Java and C#, P & S in Action uses Java and PHP, and a bit of Ruby - whatever the co-authors are comfortable with, as long as its fairly easy to port, and doesn't detract from the client-side techniques, which are the important bits).
OK, that turned into a long post, I think I'll stop there - thanks for the discussion!
---<br />Author of...<br />'Ajax in Action' <a href="http://manning.com/crane" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://manning.com/crane</a><br />'Prototype & Scriptaculous in Action'<br /><a href="http://manning.com/crane3" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://manning.com/crane3</a><br />'Ajax in Practice'<br /><a href="http://manning.com/crane2" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://manning.com/crane2</a>
The above article(Reply) is nice. It will bring end to many doubts of the audience.
I just want to say you "hi". Also today is the last day and I maynot see you again in the ranch.
I have kept kicking those tyres as hard as possible since I have discussed with you during the "prototype and scriptaculous in action" book promo and I have also given a good deal of kick from your side as you once told me.
Thanks & Regards Prithiraj Sen Gupta
David C. Crane
Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Thanks for the kind words, and to all of you Java-ranchers for your hospitality recently.
I don't think I'll be able to keep up with the discussion threads here all the time, but I'll try to remember to drop in now and again.