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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different style than most JavaScript tutorial books...
This JavaScript tutorial is a bit different than most I've had the opportunity to review over the years... Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional by Christian Heilmann. It will probably play well to the serious developers who want to come at JavaScript from an object-oriented background...

Contents: Getting Started with...
Published on August 23, 2006 by Thomas Duff

versus
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Emphasize "beginner"; "professional" part is false
Just be aware of what you're getting into when you buy this book. It is *for beginners*, not for experienced developers. It spends the first 90 pages covering for- and while-loops, if-tests, and the rest of the machinery that you already know if you're an experienced programmer. It is the fate of most computer books, I'm afraid, that they either address rank beginners or...
Published on September 12, 2007 by Stephen R. Laniel


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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different style than most JavaScript tutorial books..., August 23, 2006
This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
This JavaScript tutorial is a bit different than most I've had the opportunity to review over the years... Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional by Christian Heilmann. It will probably play well to the serious developers who want to come at JavaScript from an object-oriented background...

Contents: Getting Started with JavaScript; Data and Decisions; From DHTML to DOM Scripting; HTML and JavaScript; Presentation and Behavior (CSS and Event Handling); Common Uses of JavaScript: Images and Windows; JavaScript and User Interaction: Navigation and Forms; Back-End Interaction with Ajax; Data Validation Techniques; Modern JavaScript Case Study: A Dynamic Gallery; Using Third-Party JavaScript; Debugging JavaScript; Index

Most JavaScript books that try and teach the language usually do the "Hello World" approach, have you put a date on the web page, etc. All OK stuff, but pretty common fare. Heilmann seems to treat JavaScript as a legitimate coding language, with plenty of power and features to allow you to code solutions based on current accepted techniques. For instance, he dives into DOM manipulation pretty early, so you end up seeing quite a bit of material using document.getElementsBy statements. In most JavaScript books, that's either relegated to the later chapters, or skipped altogether. Breaking up the learning by presentation and behavior also helps those who are more in tune with MVC-style design. JavaScript *can* be built in such a way that it's maintainable and segmented, and Heilmann does a very nice job in teaching that style. I also really liked the chapter on debugging, as that's one of those things that I find extremely frustrating about JavaScript. He presents some great options that top my normal "scan the code and see if anything looks wrong" method of finding JavaScript errors...

My only "quibble" with the book is that I don't think I'd recommend it for the pure novice. Perhaps a novice JavaScript developer with solid development skills in other areas... I think a pure novice to coding in general AND JavaScript in particular would quickly get lost here...

Definitely a good read if you have the basics down, and it will likely improve your JavaScript skills and coding techniques...
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Emphasize "beginner"; "professional" part is false, September 12, 2007
By 
This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
Just be aware of what you're getting into when you buy this book. It is *for beginners*, not for experienced developers. It spends the first 90 pages covering for- and while-loops, if-tests, and the rest of the machinery that you already know if you're an experienced programmer. It is the fate of most computer books, I'm afraid, that they either address rank beginners or professional software developers, with few addressing those in the middle.

After every chapter, I had to take a second to recapitulate what I had just learned into the terminology that I'm aware of from my experience with other languages. One large section, for instance, is devoted to namespace-collision issues -- but the word "namespare" appears nowhere in the index. If you need a book that will jumpstart to "Here's how you solve the namespace-collision problem in JavaScript," this book is not for you.

I had lots of specific questions, having just come to JavaScript. How do I set up a callback *chain*, for instance, on something like the window.onload event? This book is not at that level. It will be unable to answer that question for you. It spends so much time on beginners that it doesn't have enough time to help with best practices or common, cookbook-type programming problems.

And yet it does seem confused about exactly who its audience is. Right after a chapter on basic flow control, Heilmann tosses off "XSLT" as though he expects his readers to know what that is. I submit that those who needed the first chapter will not need the XSLT bit, and conversely.

So just be aware what you're getting into. I'm actually not blaming Heilmann, though I do blame whoever gave the book its title; it's much more about novices than professionals. If you look on the back of this book, you'll see the flow chart that Apress recommends: start with Heilmann's book, and progress into "Pro JavaScript Techniques" and "Pro CSS Techniques." "Pro Javascript" will be my next step.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly organized, sloppy examples, and HEAVY emphasis on accessibility standards compliance, November 2, 2006
By 
David Morton (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
I've had very positive experiences with Apress in the past, but I was really disappointed with this book....and it sounds like some of the other reviewers share my frustrations.

The example programs are sloppy and have errors (yes, the versions posted online work, but it's a massive pain in the a$$ to stare at the book for twenty minutes only to realize that there's an error in line x and line y doesn't even need to be there...and it's a bit unfair to expect the reader to know when to stop staring at the book and check the online version to see if it looks any different). Additionally, the author frequently dumps large amounts of code on the reader and instructs them to ignore parts (or to "ignore everything except for"). It happends over and over, and it gets annoying.

Also, from the beginning of the book, there is a heavy emphasis on web accessibility standards. Ensuring that your site can be accessed by visually impaired or otherwise disabled users is fine and great, but the examples get bloated because of it and, imho, it really gets in the way of learning the basic concepts.

If you want to learn Javascript and DOM, I'd recommend that you go to the Mozilla online docs for Javascript and DOM. The documentation and examples there are first rate. If, after learning Javascript and DOM, you want some recipes that *might* be helpful in ensuring compliance with accessibility standards, this book may be for you.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a pleasant surprise!, September 14, 2006
By 
Cody Lindley (Boise, ID United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
What a pleasant surprise, amongst a development landscape full of JavaScript libraries to actually find: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax by Christian Heilmann. To state it boldly, this is the JavaScript book we have all been waiting for (though, John Resig and Jonathan Snook both have books coming). Why? Because the author actually uses modern object oriented (Object Literal) coding principles in the books examples. As well, the book has a progressive enhancement mindset, and explains the difference between several implementations of the same functionality, based on accessibility. All of this is done without the use of a JavaScript library! However, in a way the author provides his own little library of helper functions, which is certainly more digestible than Prototype, Dojo, YUI or jQuery. The author even dedicates the last chapter to third-party examples, which demonstrates the usage of the YUI and jQuery JavaScript libraries.

Anyone trying to bridge the gap between CSS, HTML and JavaScript will not be disappointed with this read. It should be stated however, that the term "Beginning" in the title of this book is a little misleading. I would not recommend this book to a beginner. It's a fast-paced book, spending most of the time in the trenches of JavaScript implementation (code examples). If you are a beginner, build a foundational understanding of the language before you take on this book. If you're looking for a great book to compliment this one, I would recommend the SitePoint book DHTML Utopia.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to learn how to do JavaScript properly, September 27, 2006
By 
This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
Up until now, most JavaScript books I have seen have not really described how to be a good JavaScript programmer - most of them have lead by example (which is how many JavaScript programmers I know learnt JavaScript). Unfortunately learning JavaScript by simply viewing other people's code without understanding why it was written the way it was could also lead to learning by bad example.

Christian Heilmann's "Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax" is different - it teaches the reader the concepts that will help them to become a good JavaScript programmer. Perhaps more importantly, it teaches how to use JavaScript, CSS, DOM, and Ajax in a degradable manner, so that all visitors to your web site will be able to access it. Christian explains not only the guidelines for developing good code, but the reasons why it is important.

Christian's passion for creating maintainable, standards compliant, usable websites is clearly visible in his writing. Throughout the book he reiterates key issues that good programmers should know, and demonstrates them in his code.

This is an excellent book on JavaScript, and one that I will thoroughly recommend to anybody new to JavaScript programming. I also recommend it to anyone who plans to make their website more accessible to a wider audience (and who doesn't want that?).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time, September 22, 2007
This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
I have been going through a lot of javascript books to find that all of them want to teach you the trivial things javascript can do. Not only are the examples trivial, they teach the reader horrible habits. This book doesn't have any "Hello World" examples. It gets into what javascript SHOULD be used for, and how to use it correctly. Other reviews have said that the examples do not work. Do not let that throw you off. I went through the ENTIRE book and every single example worked for me. There are a few towards the end that require a server or a local host like xampp, but either way they still worked. Another review also complained about the DOMhelp library that Chris creates. Chris explains EVERY method in that library before you use it. The library does not do trivial things like "getLinks" You learn how to do that the regular way with the DOM. I think that reviewer got that method mixed up with DOMhelp.getTarget which gets the correct target that a user clicked on depending on which browser the user is using. That is mostly what Chris developed the library for, browser cross compatibility so you don't have to write extensive code. Simply put, some of the other reviews were not very well thought out. If you want to learn useful javascript the right way with plenty of examples to help you learn it, then this is the book for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not recommened for beginners, September 15, 2009
By 
Levan Kardava "web developer" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
The book's title suggests that it's a book for beginners as well as experienced programmers, but I wouldn't recommend this book to a person who is just starting to learn JavaScript unless you know a similar scripting language. The first few chapters of the book explain the basics like data types and variables, but then the author suddenly starts throwing really long examples of code at the reader that will definitely confuse an inexperienced programmer. He ends each chapter with "now you know how to do this, and that" which is frustrating because he doesn't take the time to explain everything and just assumes that you will figure it out by yourself. He also tells you to ignore some parts of code and tells you that it will be explained later in the book, but if you are like me and won't start a new chapter until you have completely understood the current chapter this is going to annoy you. You feel almost like you have skipped a chapter or two and now can't understand what the author is talking about. It seems like he just decided that it would be easier to just cut and paste big chunks of code to the book and add brief and often vague explanations rather than take a more traditional approach. I would recommend this book only to people who know JavaScript and want to learn new techniques and improve their skills. If you are a beginner and just starting to learn JavaScript buy a "JavaScript for dummies" type book and once you learn the basics read this book to improve your knowledge of JavaScript.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed, April 4, 2009
By 
EC (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
The book sets out to give you real-life examples of what you can accomplish with JavaScript, offering some real-life solutions to browser support issues and users with that don't have JavaScript enabled. All of that sounds great in theory, but it's a mistake to dump tons of this kind of information on JavaScript beginners without a cleaner, more digestible introduction. In fact, all of those supportability concerns could have been and, indeed, should have been, dealt with all the way at the end, perhaps in an advanced chapter or two that conclude the book with real-life problems and solutions to these problems.

For the most part, the book is nothing more than a poorly documented and poorly organized set of examples that only serve to frustrate the reader. It really reads like it was thrown together in a rush just to get it over with, rather than with any specific goal in mind.

Very disappointed and looking for a much better tutorial.
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5.0 out of 5 stars needed it for school, October 16, 2013
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This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
The price for this book was a lot better on Amazon than in any school book store I compared it to.
Buying books for school at amazon, saves you a lot of money.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Useless, October 15, 2012
By 
E. Minkovitch (Montreal, Quebec) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional) (Paperback)
I agree with other reviewers - this book wastes time and space on the obvious things that can be covered in a beginner's book. On the other hand, some of the more advanced examples don't work, and are not explained properly, requiring much research which leads to other and better books. My advice is to skip this one.
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