Marcos Placona Blog

Programming, technology and the taming of the web.

Category: Books (page 1 of 2)

All my talks about books, reviews and book suggestions

Want a free copy of my new book?

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

No catches here, all you need to do to get a free e-copy of my new book

jQuery Drag-and-Drop Grids How-to (UK , US)

Is read the book, and then write a review of it on your blog.

And I’m not asking you to write a good (or biased) review either. I’m just asking for some feedback. I’ve had a couple of people already writing reviews on their blogs, Google+ and Amazon, but more the merrier. And I want to know what YOU think!

For those who haven’t seen my previous blog post about having published this book, this is my first ever book, and while I have written hundreds of technical articles, none of them have actually made this far on the “publishing chain”.

And this is why I want to have all the feedback I can get. Again, YOU are the sort of person who buys the sort of books I write, and it’s YOU I wanna hear from.

There are 5 free e-copies up for grabs,  and I’ll give it away to the first 5 people who show interest in reading and reviewing my book.

Well, that’s gotta save you some money eh?

So get in touch by leaving a comment to this post, or via contact form with your name and blog URL. I’ll then get you your free copy, and all I ask in return is to be notified when you’ve published your review.

I am a published author

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

A few months ago I was contacted by Packt Publishing about a new project they had in mind and thought I’d be a good fit for.

The challenge was to write a book about one single topic that would enable readers to learn and become proficient on that topic in about an afternoon.

Anything with 200 pages would be too much, so I had to keep the book very lean while keeping the reader interested, and giving her enough ground to be able to build a final project just with the information contained on the book.

I had a pre-set topic as well, and had to stick to about 35 pages of content. If you remember, a while ago I wrote an article about how to do drag and drop with jQuery.

While the article was only about dragging and dropping DOM elements, I was asked to write a book on how to drag entire layouts on the screen, and allow users to fully customize their experience.

I set off by providing the publishers with a proposal of what I thought the structure of the book should be, and decided to use Gridster as the plugin for drag and drop.

If you haven’t heard about Gridster, it’s a very nifty jQuery plugin that allows you to do layout drag and dropping, and has lots of cool API functionalities embedded in it that allow you total control over your layout’s mobility, and immediate feedback on all your elements.

On the book, I take the reader through the whole process of downloading and adding the library to their website, until the point they can actually create a fully functional metro styled layout that allows users to drag and change positions on every item on the screen.

So without further ado, here’s my book…

Instant – jQuery Drag-and-Drop Grids How-to

jQuery Drag-and-Drop Grids How-to

jQuery Drag-and-Drop Grids How-to

It’s available on all major stores such as:

Amazon UK

Safari Books Online and I hear B&N are also stocking it, but sadly it’s not yet available on their website.

Hope you enjoy it! ;-)

Object-Oriented Programming in ColdFusion

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I know it must be pretty old news by now that Matt Gifford has written a book called Object-Oriented Programming in ColdFusion.

I’ve been approached by the folks at Packt last week and asked to read it and write a review about the book.

I’m still waiting for it to be delivered, but will be writing the review as soon as I’m done with the book. In the meantime, you can have a sneak peek of the sample chapter or buy the book directly.

ColdFusion 9 Developer Tutorial – Book Review

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Book reviewer Marcos Placona | Publisher: Packt | Author: John Farrar

The book starts with a very brief introduction to ColdFusion, and what the basic language capabilities are.

On chapter 1 – Web Pages – Static to Dynamic

The author begins by explaining what variables are for, and then moves into strings and scopes. He then moves into structures, loops, arrays , conditional processing through if’s and case statements, and explains some of the wonders on exception handling. This chapter is merely a run through around the CFML language, and will help programmers familiar with the technology to understand the conventions used by the book through the code samples.

Chapter 2 – Basic CFCs and Database Interaction

Things start to get a bit more exciting on chapter two, where the topic moves into CFC creation, some objects (beans), and a little bit of database interaction. I like how basic terminologies are described here, and pretty much every example is showed through tags and scripting.

The book uses a very simple product management system as example, and the examples show what a bean object is, and what it can be used for. I could see the author did not focus too much on explaining what object oriented programming is, but the concept is shown through the whole book.

In this chapter, some simple database interaction is demonstrated, and at around page 60, you are already writing full blown objects, which are database reliant, and give you the ability to encapsulate most of the logic.

Continue reading

Learning jQuery 1.3 – Book Review

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Book reviewer Marcos Placona | Publisher: Packt. Author(s): Jonathan Chaffer, Karl Swedberg

This book is aimed to jQuery beginners, or for those with more experience who need an extra help on that difficult situations.

You probably read my review of Learning jQuery back in 2008 where I described every single feature on each of the chapters.

This time, I’m not going to describe every single chapter, as I think it would be pretty much a repetition of the previous review, but adding a few things. I still think this book is a must if you want to learn jQuery, or even if you are familiar with the library.

The new version of the book is now packed with good references, and examples. Most of them are day-to-day examples (chapter one to six), but things get a hotter after chapter seven, where more complex examples and explanations are given.

jQuery 1.3 is really nice, and adds a whole new world of event listeners (.live() and .die()) and a thorough support feature ( All of the new features are massively explained in this book. The language used is still the same, and couldn’t be better. It’s very easy to comprehend, and you don’t need to be a guru programmer to be able to understand and even create most of the examples.

There’s a whole new chapter dedicated to plugins, which is something I’ve been interested to dive into, but couldn’t find enough information over the internet.

All the code samples are easy to understand and very well commented. They can be downloaded from the web should you not want to type everything again.

The book splits up in 16 parts.

I’d like to leave here my special thanks to the fine guys at Packt who sent me this book for evaluation and technical review

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