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Review of JavaScript Performance Rocks!

This ebook does rock!  I’ve been doing various kinds of web development for years and I learned some useful tricks.

The book is 107 pages organized into 4 sections:

  1. Intro
  2. Loadtime
  3. Runtime
  4. iPhone

Each section takes a no-holds-barred approach to the content.

My favorite section was on caching for load time performance; there were some great ideas that I hadn’t seen before (and need to make time to try out).  There are lots of small suggestions that can altogether make a big difference – for example, “Google offers a bunch of the most popular JavaScript libraries, hosted up gzipped and with good cache settings for your convenience.”  I also appreciate the suggestion to minify JavaScript, but not mung it: “You shouldn’t minify your JavaScript with any of the tools that add obfuscation, because the client has to decompress it with JavaScript. This can be slow.”

I also got a lot of value from the Runtime section dealing with JavaScript performance; I found the discussion around event bubbling cool, which is where “you assign the event to a container element, and nodes inside it do or do not participate in the event as it travels up the chain.”  I plan to use some of those tips the next time I need to do a “Web 2.0”-kinda thing.  The weakest section is the one on the iPhone, as its short and incomplete, based on my reading of the content (this is a beta document after all and this section is marked under construction).

There are a lot of links to other references included in the ebook, along with links to the tools the authors recommend for improving JavaScript performance.

You will love the presentation of this ebook – the fonts are large enough to read easily on a monitor (and for someone my age that matters), and the page size has an aspect ratio that’s friendly for computer display.  Many ebooks are just PDFs “printed” from a paper-based portrait layout, which makes it hard to read page by page, since Acrobat doesn’t do continuous scrolling.

I read the book over two days, probably four hours in all; its written in a very fun, easy to read.  Thanks to the very complete table of contents, its easy to use JavaScript Performance Rocks! as a reference guide as well.

The book is still in beta, and so some of the trailing sections are still under construction.  Even given that, I’m glad I bought a copy, its easily worth the price already IMHO.

And I promise to update this review once the 1.0 version comes out.

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