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Review: Mastering Web Application Development With AngularJS

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In my old blogs I had a reviews section, so let’s start with Mastering Web Application Development with AngularJS

It is awesome, period.

Ok ok, let me review it properly :P

Prologue

This book is written by two awesome Angular.js developers, Pawel Kozlowski and Peter Bacon Darwin. They did an amazing job explaining all the best practices to learn Angular.js. Let’s review the book content.

Book content

The first chapter is just an overview of what Angular.js is which just tries to sell Angular.js to you. It explains a little bit all the pieces that compose Angular.js.

For me, it is in the second chapter where you start to love the book, it introduces you on angular-app which is probably one of the best little examples of code that has a lot of best practices in one place. So they made this application as the sample application for this book and to be honest, they did an awesome job because people are really interested in this angular-app and now they have all the answers they need in the book.

The authors explain all the reasons behind the decisions they made to build the application. The persistence store, the build system, tools… and they also did a really good job explaining how they organized the files and folders of their application. I personally find their way really interesting, maybe a bit overkill sometimes but I really like it, and since there are always people asking about how to organize your applications, here is one good solution.

The chapter doesn’t end there, they also explain how to test your application and why. People still code without doing tests and I think that everything we can do to encourage other developers to do testing is good enough. The downside here is that they explain how to do some end-to-end testing and that part has changed a little bit since the book was written and on the other hand, the end-to-end tests have disappeared from the angular-app too.

The third chapter talks about server side communication and it is pretty interesting. It talks about how we can use the $http service to communicate with out backend. Everything (and when I say everything, it is everything) from how to use $http to what’s CORS. It also explains what are promises and how we can use them with the $q service. On the other hand, if you want to use RESTful endpoints they explain how to use $resource which is a wrapper around $http to make this kind of communication easier.

Chapter 4 talks about how to display and format our data. It explains all the ways we have to display data on the screen, conditional display, rendering collections using ng-repeat, and a really really interesting chapter about filters. Apart of the explanations of what a filter is and how we can write a custom one, it has the BEST explanation I ever seen about the filter filter, I think I knew like the 10% of what that filter can do.

I hate forms and if I make a club, I will get hundred of members. Yes, that is what chapter 5 is all about. The good part about it is that it explains everything we need to know about forms. Remember when I said everything in chapter 3? There is a known bug involving dynamic inputs with names, well, they even explain how to workaround that. Isn’t it great? Yes it is.

The chapter contains what you expect. Validations, what directives we have regarding forms and how to work with them. It also has a outstanding explanation of how to use ngModelController which is a thing that a lot of people ignore and it is very very interesting.

Chapter 6, navigation around our application. It talks about the $route and $location services. The thing I like the most from this book is that they explain everything (yes I know, I am repeating myself) and I am the kind of guy that likes to do that. There is not a missing piece in this chapter. Want to know how to configure HTML5 mode? They explain that to you but they also explain how to configure the server side to support that; I appreciate that on a book. Apart from this, explanations of how both services work and a bunch of tips and tricks. I missed some ui-router explanation which is on fire right now.

Securing our applications, that is what the chapter 7 is about. This is an important chapter because a bad security can be really problematic for our business. The chapter is divided in two parts. One of them explains the types of malicious attacks we can get and how to prevent them, the other part explains how we can provide support to our security system on the client side. As everybody knows, Javascript is not secure, but that doesn’t mean that we should skip the client side security. It provides the right experience for our end users. Pretty good chapter that explains how they implemented their security support using some advanced stuff that is pretty interesting.

Chapters 8 and 9, directives. They explain every… Alright, you know what I mean :P. Taking advantage of Pawel’s work on ui-bootstrap, he explains a lot of things about directives and the best part of it? Always with tests, so you can write the tests yourself and then implement the directive to learn more. Directives are a complex beast but I promise that they did their best explaining all that involves directives. Chapter 9 is more about advanced stuff that is rarely found on the Internet. My suggestion here is to dive into ui-bootstrap when you finish the chapter or just stay tuned for my upcoming articles about them :).

Chapter 10 is all about internationalization. I like the chapter because it also talks about the drawbacks that some of the current i18n solutions out there on the Internet have. They just explain all the solutions we have and also the problems they have.

Chapter 11 is more than enough to buy this book, seriously. I thought that my explanation of how data binding works is good, but their explanation is better than mine, I have to admit that. They also explain A LOT of tricks to keep our application fast. Everyone knows that Angular could be a little bit problematic when we have a lot of watches but the real thing about this is that 90% of the times the problem is ours. Bad code tends to deliver a bad performance. After you read this chapter, all of your applications will be much faster.

Chapter 12 and the last chapter is, like in other books, reserved for final tricks and deployment. They explain what any decent workflow like lineman does for you, AKA minification safe code, $templateCache, etc.

Conclusions

I thought that I gave my conclusions at the beginning of this review :P. This is an outstanding book, with an outstanding quality. One of the best books I have read in my entire career and the number is big enough.

Angular needed a book like this because I get a lot of questions everyday and I really think that this book addresses 90% of them at a cheap price.

The bad part is that it doesn’t cover Angular.js 1.2. Well, it has like 3-4 things (no more than that) which have been improved now but the book still explains 100% of the things you need, even if you start right away in 1.2.

Good things:

  • It covers everything (last time I say it, I promise :P) about Angular, good parts, bad parts, workarounds…
  • Awesome chapters about directives, this will end the excuse of: There are no good docs about directives.
  • The chapter about data-binding and how to improve the performance is a master piece.
  • Testing, there is a lot of tests in the book, I appreciate that.
  • Many of the examples have a live preview in Plunker so you can try them right away on your browser.

Bad things:

  • As I said, there are little things that have been improved in the new version, but nothing problematic.
  • I missed some stuff about ui-router.

My final score is 9,7 out of 10 because nothing is perfect and I haven’t released a book yet! :P

Buy it here

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