Book Review of How to Do Everything With Web 2.0 Mashups

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How To Do Everything With Web 2.0 Mashups By Jesse Feiler
McGraw Hill 2008
$29.99

This book grows on you. I originally purchased it to find out something about mashups. I’d come across the term before and hadn’t been satisfied with the explanations I’d found. This book at once did an admirable job of that; I’m satisfied I now know a mashup when I see one.

What put me off about the book was its almost mechanical approach. Written in terse, no-nonsense unemotional prose, it had none of the humorous dry quips I’d come to appreciate in other Internet-related books. It drove from point to point as if building a house rather than a concept. Liberal arts major that I am, I guess I’m uncomfortable with that. Of course it’s possible others, more technically inclined than I, might enjoy the book precisely because of this approach.

The book’s first chapter is titled “Welcome to the World of Mashups” and that’s the last bit of gratuitous amicability you’ll find. After that it’s, bang! “Understanding the Mashup World;” and bang! “Use XML to Structure Data;” and bang! “Use JavaScript to Script the Mashup Page,” and so forth until your head spins. I set the book aside.

I picked it up again a month or so later when I suddenly discovered that it had done an excellent job of acquainting me with the central mysteries of mashups. I finally recognized them for what they were when I came across them, and found the book had given me the ability to actually understand how they did what they were doing. I wasn’t quite ready to start building my own mashups, but I did enjoy the feeling that I’d learned something interesting and wanted to learn more-I guess that might be even more important than the humor I found in some lesser books.

Instead of struggling against it I found myself appreciating the way the book broke mashups down into their component parts and put them back together. Anyone who has struggled with JavaScript, RSS, XML, Php and API’s as separate unrelated entities will get a sudden flash of understanding from each seeing them now working as parts of a larger whole. Still, I wish the author put a bit more of himself into the prose.

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Source by Mike Nardine
#Book #Review #Web #Mashups

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