Looking for web-dev book suggestions
February 8, 2007 8:41 AM   Subscribe

If you can buy three books on web-development today, what would they be?

The next part of my project requires a fairly elaborate web-tool. I know PHP and MySQL pretty well, but I haven't done any web development for about three years now. What are some good books to get as both introduction and reference? I'm thinking of the O'Reilly Definitive Javascript book, plus a PHP book, and maybe a general intro to AJAX? What are your thoughts and suggestions?
posted by reformedjerk to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
If you can, you might want to consider getting a Safari subscription for a couple of months while you work on this phase of the project - that way you'll be able to read all the web development / design books you need (subject to your subscription choice).

I've never found a web dev book (or even three) that actually provided a good overview and reference of all of those topics. You might be cheaper to get a Safari subscription then three books. Sure, you'll only be able to read the books online for a few months (or however long you subscribe) but you'll be able to read a huge selection as opposed to just three.

Hope that helps.

posted by TheAspiringCatapult at 8:48 AM on February 8, 2007

The Flamingo book (Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference by Danny Goodman) just came out in a third edition two months ago. I've already worn out two copies of the second edition, and my first copy of the third is already showing signs of wear. There are plenty of references for HTML, CSS, Javascript and syntax, but having all that info in one place, with their relationships noted, is invaluable. Check it out via Safari and then buy a hard copy.
posted by ardgedee at 8:58 AM on February 8, 2007

Can you elaborate? When you say 'elaborate web-tool' do you mean it requires an elaborate dynamic client-side UI? If so, then an emphasis on learning more Javascript and Ajax makes sense. If it means elaborate application logic and db interaction, then not so much.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:00 AM on February 8, 2007

I'm trying to persuade my employer to take up a Safari sub. Failing that I'm going to invest myself. It looks that good.
posted by i_cola at 9:10 AM on February 8, 2007

Yeah it's fantastic. The price of the Safari Library (which lets you check out as many as you want simultaneously) is a little steep but I usually buy two or three academic or technical (read: £40+) books a month so Safari is way cheaper.

Off Topic:
For cheap book access, see if your local university has an external borrower program. Mine does and they charge something like £100 / year for member of the public, lower rates for business subscriptions and only £10 for alumni (which I will definitely be taking up upon graduation).
posted by TheAspiringCatapult at 9:15 AM on February 8, 2007

If you have a library card, check your library's website to see if they provide a login to Safari.
posted by matildaben at 9:28 AM on February 8, 2007

You know, I think that you're overthinking this if you truly know the basics. See, you don't need dead trees for any of this stuff.

To do a complicated PHP/MySQL ajax-enabled web app, your best friends will be:

* http://www.php.net/manual/en/ - Language Reference
* http://dev.mysql.com/doc/ - Query and Structure Reference
* The Prototype and Scriptalicious javascript libraries.

The books you specified above are all for people who are learning the basics of a language. If you already know the basics, then you really just need the documentation (which is EXCELLENT for these technologies) ... and in the case of javascript, why kill yourself trying to write all the web 2.0 toys over again so that they work in a cross browser environment, when you can use some already developed, excellent libraries that take all of the 'ouch' out of javascript? Save yourself the cash!
posted by SpecialK at 10:17 AM on February 8, 2007 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
posted by reformedjerk at 11:29 AM on February 8, 2007

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
PHP Cookbook
CSS Anthology (intermediate)
CSS Mastery (advanced)

btw don't code raw XmlHttpRequests. Use one of the many fantastic ajax libraries e.g. prototype, dojo, yui.
posted by JonathanAquino at 10:15 PM on February 8, 2007

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