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Prototype and Scriptaculous in Action

General Information
Type.................: Ebook
Part Size............: 11,610,600 bytes

Post Information
Posted by............: ~tqw~

Release Notes
JavaScript libraries have been in the spotlight the past two years and have been
gaining popularity especially the past year with new ones popping up like
JQuery, YUI!, Mochikit, etc. Though all of these libraries take after in some
form or another the base library Prototype and effect library Scriptaculous.
Thomas Fuchs is the main developer of the Scriptaculous library and Sam
Stephenson is the developer of ProtoType. Although you can go to web site and go
through the documentation at each site, having a book with other people’s
explanations and examples are a great help for the newbie and advanced user.
Each library has its own purpose so the authors take them one by one and explain
what can be done with each and then show examples as they go. I like how all the
example code are pointed out in the text as the author goes through them so you
can understand the program flow as you are reading through the explanations. As
a preface for people interested in buying this book, you should have a solid
foundation on JavaScript or at least have a good understanding of OOP techniques
in other languages. Since this book goes through many Ajax implementations as
well, knowledge of a server-side language \'PHP, ASP.NET, Java\' would also be
helpful. I feel that if you are a beginner to JavaScript or programming that
this book may well overwhelm you with technical information that you might not
fully understand. But enough of that, let’s get on with the details of the
book…. Chapter 1: A description, history and simple sample usage examples are
given to the reader about Prototype and Scriptaculous. Basically Prototype
provides a set of language extensions for JavaScript, for the browser
environment and for the XMLHttpRequest \'object used for Ajax\' object.
Scriptaculous \'and other libraries\' build on Prototype’s foundations to create
widgets and other end-user stuff. The thing that sounds weird for people like me
who don’t use JavaScript on a day-to-day basis is that JavaScript can be
“extended”. I use JavaScript at work on some projects creating some simple DOM
scripts but I never knew you could extend the language. JavaScript provides a
mechanism known as prototype-based inheritance which allows for this. Prototype
doesn’t really “do” anything apart from making it easier to create complex
client applications. Though it does do a lot in that sense, but the author has
to then use these extensions to create their applications. Scrptaculous makes
creating cool effects such as drag and drop, animation and such in only a few
lines of code. The author expands on this as well as some simple Ajax
illustrations using Prototype’s Ajax.Request class in the first chapter. Chapter
2: A sample application is discussed called QuickGallery that displays a set of
images in a photo gallery display using PHP to perform some server-side
functions. The author created two versions of this web app \'classic – page
refreshing\' and the web 2.0 \'Ajax version\' to show the readers what changes
would be made and why. The application is simple enough but has enough detail to
make this example a realistic scenario of converting a real web application to a
more Ajax-based application. Chapter 3: Some basic techniques of Ajax
development are discussed such as content-centric Ajax, script-centric Ajax, and
data-centric Ajax. A review of Prototype’s Ajax classes: Ajax.Base, Ajax.Request
as well as using XML and JSON for data storage and transfer. A very good base
for general Ajax knowledge. Chapter 4: The web applications is continued to be
updated using some of the more advanced Ajax classes in Prototype such as
Ajax.Updater, Ajax.PeriodicalUpdater, Ajax.Responders. The author also touches
on performance issues with different techniques which really can open your eyes
when you are thinking of implementing Ajax in your own web apps. Chapter 5, 6:
If you ever have a need for a nice effect \'hiding/showing, highlighting, sliding
in any direction, transition effects, etc\' or how to quickly use a widget this
is where you want to go. The Scriptaculous library allows developers to create
Flash-like effects with text and graphics without making the user download any
plugins. But be warned, do not create effects for the sake of creating effects.
These should be used for a particular reason and no matter how cool the effect
is, after a few times everything gets old. Useful widgets like the Slider,
AutoComplete loader, InPlaceCollectionEditor and text-editor are discusses with
great examples. If you in need of some nice pre-created controls to use with
your custom CMS or data-entry web pages these could come in handy. Just be aware
of the overheard of some of these. These are probably more useful for in-house
or intranet sites. Chapter 7: Continuing with the Scriptaculous library, the
author goes in to how to use Drag and Drop in creating some useful Ajax sites.
The author goes into great detail of how the process works and all the
properties and methods that are available to the developer. This chapter alone
gives you 10x more information that the existing documentation on the
Scriptaculous website or any resources online that you could find. Very well
written and useful chapter. Chapter 8-10: These chapters are very useful as a
reference tool for any developer who needs some assistance \'like me\' on creating
JavaScript objects, hashes, or DOM. You would probably have to get at least
another book to the information in these 3 chapters alone. A great addition!!!
This book should be in your library if you are planning to use one of these
powerful and useful libraries as well as if you want to learn more advanced
topics in JavaScript too! Worth every penny…

Table Of Contents

PART I GETTING STARTED ...........................................1
1 Introducing Prototype and Scriptaculous 3
2 Introducing QuickGallery 26
3 Simplifying Ajax with Prototype 45
4 Using Prototypefs Advanced Ajax Features 71
PART II SCRIPTACULOUS QUICKLY ............................95
5 Scriptaculous Effects 97
6 Scriptaculous Controls 140
7 Scriptaculous Drag and Drop 204
PART III PROTOTYPE IN DEPTH ..............................249
8 All About Objects 251
9 Fun with Functions 277
10 Arrays Made Easy 292
11 Back to the Browser 325
PART IV ADVANCED TOPICS ................................... 357
12 Prototype and Scriptaculous in Practice 359
13 Prototype, Scriptaculous, and Rails 410
Appendix A HTTP Primer 443
Appendix B Measuring HTTP Traffic 458
Appendix C Installing and Running Tomcat 5.5 469
Appendix D Installing and Running PHP 477
Appendix E Porting Server-Side Techniques 489

Product Details

* ISBN: 1933988037
* ISBN-13: 9781933988030
* Format: Paperback, 511pp
* Publisher: Manning Publications Company
* Pub. Date: March 2007

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