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Jolt Awards: The Best Books

, September 23, 2014 The best books of the past 12 months.
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Jolt Productivity Award: Single Page Web Applications: JavaScript End-to-End

by Michael Mikowski and Josh Powell

"In the time it takes to read this page, 35 million person minutes will be spent waiting for traditional website pages to load." That's what the authors say and that's why they wrote this book — to show you how you can dramatically reduce the wait time for your website.

Single Page Web Applications (SPAs) are a Web architecture that organizes all the business logic and page rendering to occur entirely within the browser. Generally, the server side does only authentication or database access. Except for possibly the initial page load, there are "no spinners" and no waiting because subsequent page loads do not take place for remaining user interactions. Site response is thus always immediate and seamless. The technology behind this, both as to putting all the actions in one page load and, at times, creating the perception that more than one page is being shown, can be fairly complicated. In the samples in this book, for example, the authors make extensive use of HTML5, JavaScript, and jQuery on the client, and node.js and MongoDB on the server. They also use testing tools to verify the code.

In the core of Single Page Web Applications: JavaScript End-to-End, the authors show how to implement SPAs using a highly disciplined JavaScript-based design. They provide a sample project copiously annotated with design rationale and explanations. Recognizing that running the entire business application logic in the browser can result in a JavaScript code chunk sized in the tens of thousands of lines, the authors use their years of experience to also present the reader a well thought-out architecture, insightful best practices, and an unusually comprehensive JavaScript coding standards document to help control the complexity implied by this size. JavaScript is used end-to-end to aid in the project management of large SPAs by using a single language all the way through from server to database.

In a world in which Web applications are once again assuming a dominant role, SPAs represent an interesting and useful niche for developers. For them, this volume is the master handbook.

— Roland Racko

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