Book Review : Packt Pub’s Audio Processing with HTML5 Web Audio

This post is a review of Packt Pub’s book on HTML5 Web Audio.

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One of the areas that has garnered maximum interest from developers is the support that HTML5 provides for audio/video in your web applications. While we do have the <audio> and <video> tags, these are not enough if you are looking for doing some complicated audio processing. Enter Web Audio API that has been created to address just that. A Working Draft of the specification has been published in October.

The book is catered to address the Web Audio API and it helped me understand the capabilities of the API via short and focused examples. The total size of the book is under 80 pages and contains 5-6 very specific code recipes that let you get started with playing simple sounds right to building out a Sound Equalizer. I am no Sound Engineer but the examples were good enough to show me how I could potentially use sounds in my web applications.

The book is focused on code and does expect that you are familiar with basics of web development i.e. HTML, JavaScript, CSS and jQuery. I don’t think one needs to be an expert on Sound to understand some of the underlying processing but yes, if you are going deeper than what the examples show, you would most probably need that.

The book is code heavy, so do not look for detailed explanations of the Why behind some of the API methods, etc. If you are looking for a theoretical treatise of the subject, this book is not for you. But if you are a programmer looking to get your hands dirty with making things work and seeing the API work as quickly as possible, then this book fits the billing.

The samples covered in the book were:

  • Playing Audio
  • Setting the Volume
  • Automating Audio parameters
  • Building an Equalizer

Overall, the book took me a few hours from start to finish, got me a good grounding on where the API stands today and the possibilities with Web Audio API.

If you are still looking to understand how different the Web Audio API is from the standard <audio> tag, take a look at this Drum Controller that was built completely using Web Audio API. Check out my report too on ProgrammableWeb titled “The State of the Web Audio API“.

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