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Review of haXe 2 Beginner’s Guide


08.07.11 Posted in community, haXe, open source by admin

You won’t find many book reviews on this blog (none actually – until now !) but I figured that this might be a good way to learn more about haXe.  The book in question is referred to as a beginner’s guide.  I don’t consider myself an absolute beginner but, with only a year’s experience with the language, I have much to learn.  Besides, my main focus has been Flash development and there is a lot more to haXe than creating SWF files.

This was part of the appeal to learning haXe in the first place – to not be tied to a single platform and to equip myself with the skills and knowledge to diversify if and when I need to or want to.

So how does haXe 2; Beginner’s Guide help with this?

Well, I’ve started learning how to develop on the PHP target after studying this book.  I’ve been planning on doing this anyway but now I’m a little ahead of myself.  I also tried using SPOD for the first time (and think it is a great feature!).  I was aware of SPOD before reading the book but the simple blog exercise in Chapters 8 and 9 made it very accessible to me – it turns out the basics are not that difficult after all.

Reading the book has also prompted me to look further into templating in haXe and I’m now considering using this feature to generate XML files for an upcoming project.

Would I have learnt about these features without reading this book?  Probably.  However, a book like this helps to accelerate learning by providing the relevant information to get started in a single place.  It is hard to find the time to learn new things and I am more than happy to get help with this.

On a side note, I noticed that the standard haxe.Template API is the templating system covered in the book even though other (more popular?) third party options exist (i.e., Templo and HTemplate).  I also noticed that JQuery, which has recently been added to haXe’s standard javascript API, was not covered in the chapter on javascript.  I would have liked to see some JQuery examples covered.

I found the book to be written in a very clear and accessible way and the information and advice contained in it is more than adequate to assist with getting started with haXe development.

The content of the book is also nicely structured – each chapter begins with a gentle intro to a topic that culminates with a ‘have-a-go-hero’ practical activity.

The book also follows a logical order with chapters building on what has been revealed in the preceding chapters – very conducive to learning being both continuous and progressive.  This seems like an obvious thing to get right but isn’t always the case.  I get a sense that a lot of thought has been put into it.  It could work well as a textbook to teach programming through haXe in schools.

The book is far from being a definitive guide to haXe though, nor does it claim to be by the fact that it is marketed as a beginner’s guide.  There is no mention of specific third party APIs although haxelib (a common repository for community libraries) is mentioned in the Preface.  There is also no coverage of the CPP target but this is probably beyond the scope of an introductory book and really merits a book of it’s own.

The Flash target, which is covered mostly in the final chapter, is not covered in any great depth – this suited me just fine since it is the non-flash areas that I was interested in.  It is fair to say that Flash is adequately covered as an introductory topic to the same extent as the coverage of Neko, PHP and Javascript though and Chapter 7 provides some really useful information about getting Neko/PHP, Flash and Javascript communicating with each other.

So would I recommend this book?

Absolutely.  This book is ideal for developers with no experience with haXe and also intermediate haXe developers with gaps in their knowledge and for those developers who are specialized in one area of haXe development but want to start broadening their knowledge.

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101 Responses to “Review of haXe 2 Beginner’s Guide”

  1. [...] this article: Review of haXe 2 Beginner's Guide | FBoyle.com Author: admin on August 7, 2011 Category: Guide Tags: absolute-beginner, consider-myself, [...]

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