Portable Keeto


Early this year I started working on a writing project somewhat connected to my favorite JavaScript framework. I decided not to announce it nor talk about it, because I know I usually fail to pull through with anything that I announce publicly. So I kept my mouth shut, and didn’t say a word.

The fascinating thing about secrets, though, is that they have a tendency to come out. This secret writing project of mine therefore became “public” knowledge long before I actually announced it. There were questions, inquiries and of course, the occasional rumors. I got a lot of compliments, a few cheers and several looks of doubt. But even after all of that, I still tried to talk about the project like it’s vaporware–just to add some drama.

But as fun as it has been, it’s time to let the secret spill. No, I’m not writing a book–because it’s already finished.

I Herd You Like MooTools

In the middle of 2009 I started publishing a series of articles about MooTools on this blog called “Up the Moo Herd.” The idea came into mind during the course of my early days at the official MooTools IRC channel. I saw that a lot of people were asking the same kinds of questions, the kinds that were a bit deeper than the docs could show. These were the questions you’d find answers straight away–if you read the MooTools source.

Unfortunately, I found that not a lot of people do that. I therefore thought that it would be nice to write about these answers, to nudge people a bit into an exploratory mode. So I started writing the Up the Moo Herd posts, not only to answer questions but also showcase what MooTools has in store for intermediate and advanced users.

The response I got was a total surprise. I didn’t expect the kind of feedback the series received. It seems that the MooTools herd is indeed hungry for more useful information, and up to this day, those series of posts still keep this blog in a good traffic situation.

In the middle of the series though, I started feeling that some things aren’t put into proper context. Yes, MooTools is awesome in itself, but in order to really understand the MooTools philosophy, you’ll need to remove the abstraction first–you need to get deep into JavaScript.

I couldn’t do it with blog posts. A topic like this deserves proper writing space: it deserved a book.

So I drafted a table of contents and a pitch of sorts and started inquiring. I didn’t get any replies for all of the emails I sent to publishers, except for one: Apress. They liked the idea and they offered to take on the project. And after almost a year, Pro JavaScript with MooTools is finally ready.

Pro JavaScript with MooTools

Up the Moo Herd was written with a simple idea in mind: write the cool stuff about MooTools that not everyone knows. Pro JavaScript with MooTools, meanwhile, was written with another goal: make the internals of MooTools accessible to anyone who wants to learn it.

Like Up the Moo Herd, this book wasn’t written for beginners in mind. It’s an intermediate and advanced level book, one for those who are tired of reading all the basic tutorials and introductions. It’s for users who are no longer satisfied with the basics, and are asking themselves the fundamental question: “What do the MooTools developers know that I don’t?”

But this book isn’t just about MooTools, but about JavaScript as well. The title reflects this: it’s not Pro MooTools, it’s Pro JavaScript with MooTools. It is by the native JavaScript APIs that everything is put into context. It doesn’t just discuss how MooTools does its stuff–it explains how MooTools does its stuff using JavaScript.

This book, however, isn’t a tutorial nor a development guidebook. It’s a primer, an advanced level introduction to the deeper aspects of MooTools and JavaScript itself. You therefore won’t find recipes, or copy-pastable snippets that you can use for your next project. You will only see foundations, implementation details and hints–how you apply them is totally up to you.

A Little More Detail

Pro JavaScript with MooTools is the first book to cover MooTools 1.3. The whole book was written with the most current version of MooTools in mind, and some of the topics discussed in the book aren’t directly applicable to earlier versions of the framework.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part deals with JavaScript as ECMAScript, and talks about the language level features–both native and from MooTools. The second part deals with JavaScript as JavaScript, and discusses the bits and pieces of client-side coding. And finally, the third part deals with JavaScript as CommonJS, and introduces the subject of JavaScript outside the browser.

Here’s a list of the chapters:

Simo Kinnunen, creator of Cufon and all around awesome developer, helped me as my technical reviewer, and it is with great honor for me to mention that the foreword to the book was written by none other than MooTools Founder and Lead Developer, Valerio Proietti.

The book will be released around Christmas time and you can pre-order copies from Amazon now.

A Whole Bag of Thanks

I have a lot of people to thank for the book, and I’ve done that in the Acknowledgments section of the book. But I do want to thank everyone again for the help and support you’ve extended for this project. Kudos to the MooTools Developers, the MooTools Community, the people from Apress, my friends and my family for all the help and support. And thank you, readers of Keetology, for your continued support.

A lot more things are happening soon, so I suggest you subscribe to the rss feed or follow me on twitter. And most importantly, keep on exploring!