With the inception of Google+, along with the already-dominant Facebook and Twitter, it is important that developers who are supporting existing applications, look to extend their brand across the social-sphere, and this book, Programming Social Applications, aims to educate the readers on the various options available out there today. The author, Jonathan LeBlanc starts off with the basics, underlying the various containers that make up a Social Application, before looking at the arguments between proprietary and open-source implementations.
There are various aspects to hosting the application, client-side, and it's infrastructure requirements, using Flash as an example, or HTML5, as well as server-side, and a combination of both. What is good about this book, is that the author provides various case-studies, to emphasise good v.s bad design as well as explore privacy issues associated with mapping user profile data to your application.
All in all, the book is quite detailed, it does go through examples, including coding examples, and various design methodologies that make popular widget and apps on Facebook for example, which I must admire. I didn't have any issues with the book, besides perhaps it being too thick, which is why I probably just skip to the appropriate sections. I quite enjoyed it, although I do take bits and pieces of it to use as are appropriate for my projects, but this book fits well as a reference, as well as in-depth page-to-page read. Recommend this completely.
PriorKnowledge: Web Development/HTML/scripting concepts
Author: Jonathan LeBlanc Title: Programming Social Applications, 1st EditionPublisher: O'Reilly MediaYear: August 2011