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Summer Clearance on Books Books That Make You Think





Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (Oct. 4 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596000529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596000523
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.8 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 762 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,826,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
I was always interested in creating my own apps for Mozilla. I had played around with some of the custom CSS files and peeked at the XUL files, and I wanted to learn more. I figured that buying this book would be a no-brainer because of the O'Reilly name and my good experiences with the ... Hacks series. This could of been a good book, but it seems like they were rushed to meet a publishing deadline. It starts out building a skeleton application (xFly) to explain the simpler concepts. One would expect that they would continue to flesh out the framework, and they would show how to add function to the various widgets. After Chapter 2, they abandon this idea. The examples they do provide don't work correctly. If you get the finished xFly demo program from mozdev.org, it does not work either. The site reads "This requires serious attention". I agree. This book is a good reference manual, but a poor tutorial. If you want a good tutorial on how to build Mozilla apps, try xulplanet.org instead. Co-incidentally, this entire book is available at the aforementioned site if you would like to preview this book for yourself before plunking down $40 to buy it.
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By P. Hartman on Sept. 17 2003
Format: Paperback
I only just got the book, but the people who complained that it doesn't stand up to the usually high O'Reilly standards are spot on. The second chapter, which is all about "getting started" ought to explain basic concepts clearly. Instead it throws out all kinds of mumbo jumbo and forward references like "You could also define this style rule in an external stylesheet and make that stylesheet part of the package for your application, as we do later in this chapter ...." Why? Why should I keep reading to find out? Why does the first chapter of real content (chapter one understandably explains more background on mozilla and XPFE) seem to have a forward reference every third paragraph?
Clearly, the authors did not sit down and make a coherent plan of what the best way to introduce each topic to the neophyte. This stands in stark contrast to the various O'Reilly Perl books that always seem to give the overview in clear terms and then flesh it out, instead of diving into the middle and trying to explain it as you go.
The only reason right now to get this book is because it appears to be the only (or one of the only) ones on the topic at this time. Hopefully _Rapid Application Development with Mozilla_ due out in November this year will get it right.
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Format: Paperback
I happened to be experimenting with XUL and Mozilla at the time that I ran across this book, so I was very eager to get into it and see if it could help clarify some of the gaping holes in the existing XUL documentation within Mozilla. As an exhaustive reference to XUL and the associated technologies that are used to build Mozilla applications, it was very successful. As a higher level tutorial that explains the relationships between the different technologies and their uses, it was not quite as successful.
Chapters 1-6 lead the reader through the progressive steps required to build and package a Mozilla-based application. The authors create a demo application called xFly which is used as a test bed to show the different features of XUL, CSS, and JavaScript. By the end of Chapter 6, this application contains a tree control, a bunch of sample menus, and various other assorted UI widgets. But it doesn't really _do_ anything. Maybe I'm too picky, but I'd rather see an application that has some function, even if all it does is play tick-tack-toe. Then, to me at lease, it's much clearer how the different pieces would fit together in a "real-world" application.
Chapters 7-12 cover more exotic and difficult aspects of Mozilla
programming such as the Extensible Binding Language (XBL), XPCOM (Mozilla's component object model), and accessing web services from XUL applications. These chapters are very dense in technical details, with good references to online resources for further study. Overall, I found this book to be a very succinct source of accurate information about building applications with Mozilla.
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By A Customer on Dec 4 2002
Format: Paperback
This book gives a solid grounding in the principles involved and acts as a primer to the nitty gritty of producing a XUL application. In practice, XUL is pretty easy but it's easy to be caught unawares which is where a book like this comes in. If you've ever wondered how to extend Mozilla with a new button, or why your chrome doesn't work, or why Mozilla ignores it, or how to write a new chrome application then this is the book for you. Learn the principles of XUL and things fall into place very easily.
I am puzzled that other reviewers claim XUL and Mozilla are not ready for mainstream since the fact that an entire browser, mail, chat, editor, JS debugger and hundreds more third party extensions and apps have been written using it demonstrates it is. It certainly needs tools and add robustness, but it is already a viable and strong technology for producing platform neutral applications.
It is well worth the money, however it should be revised to reflect the latest Mozilla developments. As an added bonus, the source for this book is actually online so you can evaluate it yourself at books.mozdev.org before buying it.
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