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It's a big book. It's a very big book. It taught me Javascript to a point where I was writing code from my head. Patience is required, but it will pay off. The author covers everything from beginning programming concepts, to the Javascript Document Object Model (which will help down the road with many aspects of programming), to Dynamic HTML (i.e., making things fly across the screen or making dynamic menus), database programming with Javascript and ASP, and Active X. It's much more than a beginner's book.
Right off the bat the book discusses errors and how to interpret them (an inevitability for any Javascript programmer). That way, as you make mistakes, or mistype something (you will, we all do), you'll know how to handle it instead of flipping through the book screaming for answers.
An added bonus is that you build an application as you go. When you're done with the book you have a working Javascript app that you can easily edit to your own whims and publish on the web.
I can honestly say that, as I read this book, I experienced none of the frustration I usually experience with programming books. The code examples worked, typos were incredibly scarce, and I knew what to do with those "I have to hit something now!!" errors that arise in any programming endeavor.
It's fair to say that this is not only a good beginning Javascript book, it's also a good introduction to programming. You can write code and easily see instant results, which can be gratifying for a beginner.
A good book. Buy and learn.
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on January 2, 2001
This is by far one of the most in-depth js books on the market. Not only is it a reference manual but it is also an instructor, step by step. It would help you to understand some of the js language before you dive into this book but the author does attempt to teach, and I feel successfully so.
Just about everything that you could want to do with js in regards to the world wide web is covered in here. JS is not the be-all end-all solution but the language picks up where a lot of scripting languages like perl, PHP leave off.
If you have enjoyed the power of js with web development and want to get more from it you have to take a look at this book, anybody at any experience level will enjoy it.
A great reference and an excellent companion.
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on September 20, 2011
Let me start by noting that, at its heart, this is a solidly written book for beginners. A neophyte with a modicum of aptitude could pick up this book and learn to program Javascript. It'd be a five-star-er--I'm sure it was a five-star book when the first edition came out.

Let me say that I'm an old hand at JS, and an even older hand at writing books and programming. JS is one of those languages (like most of them) where I sat down and started programming out of necessity. And when I do that, I like to go back to square one when I have a chance and see if I've overlooked any basics. This is the book I chose to use for that, based largely on the reviews of the top JS books on Amazon.

And, the thing is, I really like this book. I can see that the original author, Wilton, put a lot of care into it. He wrote his code clearly, and described it in easy-to-follow chunks. He takes small steps and gives just enough repetition. It's not a lightning introduction: It walks you through it.

Now, what happens with coding books is that the book gets written, and if it sells well, the publisher wants it updated for the next version. So the author (or someone new) comes in and goes to see what's valid and what's not, adds a few notes, a few caveats, and maybe a couple of chapters at the end. The publisher wrings a few more sales out of this and it's probably sufficient. At least for a second edition, if things haven't changed too much.

This, however, is the fourth edition of a book that was originally written in 2000! For WEB technology! Wilton focuses smartly on the nuts-and-bolts of JS, so that stuff holds up, but if your mission is to get stuff done on a modern website with JS, this book is going to feel really stale.

Some examples:

The book starts off by having you write stuff to the status bar. What's that? You don't know what a status bar is? That's because they haven't been used in browsers much for years.

Browsers: There's a lot of emphasis on IE6 compatibility issues even though IE6 is down to about 2% of the market. Chrome (with about 20%+ market share) is included as an after-thought, and sometimes not at all. Forget about Safari or mobile devices.

There's a discussion on frames that's completely innocent of the debate over whether they should be used at all.

There's a chapter on DHTML. It's fine, but "DHTML" isn't the preferred nomenclature, to quote Walter Sobchak. Generally, the constituent parts of HTML, Javascript and CSS are used because, well, they're different things (and require different approaches).

All of chapter 13 is devoted to ActiveX, reflecting a year 2000 sensibility, when you could just program for IE.

The Ajax chapter was added in the third edition by McPeak, who presumably also updated this edition, and it starts with a link to Google Suggest which is no longer valid (because Google Suggest was incorporated into regular Google the year before the fourth edition was released.)

McPeak also presumably added the chapter on Javascript libraries which jumps between Jquery, Prototype and MooTools. It's not bad, but it's not much, either.

I don't really fault McPeak here. It's a tough thing to do, to go through and revise this stuff and keep it technically accurate. Keeping it fresh is nigh impossible. I think the smart thing to do, really, would be to teach Javascript hand-in-hand with a particular framework. That approach would present its own problems, of course, but it would eliminate pages and pages of browser-specific stuff.

In any event, it wouldn't be this book. For Javascript fundamentals, this is still solid. Just don't look to getting more than your beak wet when it comes to use in real life.

I still give it three stars, which is high praise for an eleven year old tech book.

The Kindle version gets only two stars, however: Wrox didn't format any of the code, so it's all left-indented. That was hard for ME to read, and it'd be torture for a JS initiate.
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on March 6, 2001
I almost passed this book over in the bookstore because of the "Beginning" in the title. "Beginning" implies basic and based on other Wrox titles I've seen, it usually meant an over view of wizards and the development environment. I had looked at several other JavaScript books and finally selected one although it was not exactly what I wanted. I was on my way to the register when I decided to go back and took another look, even at the "Beginning" book. It wasn't what I expected. This book has not let me down. It has so far anticipated and answered every question that comes to my mind. It has a very good balance between tutorial and reference. Mr. Wilton is a talented writer and I hope he will be doing more books.
Although, I did not purchase this title from Amazon, I felt compelled to write this review so that others can benefit from my experience.
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on February 24, 2001
I chose this book on JavaScript based upon the reviews which were already posted at Amazon on this and similar books. After having read the first few chapters, I totally agree that this book is both usable by both programmers with experience in other languages as well as by a total novice. The reader must, however, have a least a cusory knowledge of HTML. I found that Mr. Wilton is particularly good in his explanations of the sample code. Although I'm still in the first 100 pages (the book has over 1000), it appearts that the book is very complete. Also, there are references to other sources (mainly on-line) where further formal explanations can be obtained. Finally, all examples of code are on downloadable from the publisher's Web site.
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on July 9, 2001
Beginning JavaScript by Paul Wilton is a great book !!! I have 31 computer related howto/learning books on my bookshelf at the present time, on subjects such as C/C++ Programming, Windows Programming, Linux Programming, Perl, Emacs, etc. etc., so I have some experience with different writers and different styles and methods of presentation/teaching. This book may be the best of the lot. Programming Windows95 by Charles Petzold is the only one that is probably better -- but not by much.
The book is laid out in a logical, orderly, consistent manner from beginning to end. First you are presented with a concept. Secondly, you are given an example of fully functional code. Thirdly that code is fully explained, line by line. The book starts out with simple concepts and builds on them almost effortlessly. First you learn the core language, then you learn how to attach the JavaScript code to the base HTML document. Later you learn how to dynamically change the HTML document "on the fly" using JavaScript. Next,you are presented with -- interaction with the user through forms, string manipulation using regular expressions, Date objects and methods, Time, and Timers, Cookies, Dynamic HTML, Databases and server side scripting. I appreciated the fact that the examples given in the first 9 chapters work in both major browsers, so you are not immediately presented with confusing browser incompatibilities that complicate the learning process, but you are made aware of the incompatibilites later in the book when you are more able to understand them.
As an aside, if I am a "little shaky" on one of the properties' or methods' syntax, and want to go back and review the concept, the material is quite easily found. The index is good as are the appendices where the DOM's and BOM's are laid out in detail.
The book is exceptionally "meaty". Don't skip over any text or explanation of code, because you will miss myriad little tidbits of information and programming techniques that will prove most valuable.
Some of the reviewers have complained about mistakes and typos. I have found most of the mistakes to be typos and the typos to be trivial matters, easily recognized. Of the 70+ examples give that I have done and experimented with up to chapter 10, only one didn't work as laid out in the book. (ch7 GlobalFunctions.htm) And from the thorough instruction given up to that point, I was able to correct the mistake and get that example to work also.
In short, using this book, you can go from knowing nothing about JavaScript to building almost any kind of website you've ever encountered, from storefronts, to "virtual amusement parks". My hat's off to Mr. Wilton.
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on May 30, 2001
I've tried several tutorials on Javascript, and Wilton's is by far the best. If you know a little HTML, you can learn Javascript. If you know a LOT of HTML, his instructions directed at the new web designer are easy to skip over. Wilton very quickly moves the student into actual production of working Javascript pages, and weaves explanations throughout the examples so smoothly you don't realize how much you've learned until you look at your work. The real-world examples, which include online quizzes and a script for checking the browser version, are also highly motivating (versus books that push novices through endless versions of "hello world"). About the only thing I would add in a future edition is a troubleshooting chapter (the first example, of all things, wouldn't load for me initially, and I'm still not sure how I fixed it), and my only quibble is that the first time Javascript code is cited, the reader isn't immediately directed to Appendix C for a brief discussion of other tags. However, these are very minor critiques of a well-written, well-organized book that makes Javascript attainable--and fun to learn.
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VINE VOICEon May 28, 2009
Every so often in computing a language extension or new technology comes along that is the buzz of the development community. JQuery is one of those. Lots of developers are talking about it and using it, even Microsoft are including native support for it in their upcoming Visual Studio 2010 release.

Beginning JavaScript and CSS Development with JQuery is a beautiful full color book from Wrox Press weighing in at just over 500 pages. Richard York assumes that you are already familiar with JavaScript and also CSS and therefore this is not a book for the complete beginner, only a beginner with JQuery.

The book is well laid out with chapters devoted to each of JQuery's main areas, selectors, AJAX, Manipulating the DOM, Event handling etc. etc. with numerous Appendixes that can be used as a quick reference. Each chapter has numerous examples explaining the particular JQuery concepts and constructs being discussed culminating in one big example program at the end of the chapter that brings together everything discussed in that particular chapter finally ending with a quick question exercise to make sure that the keywords and constructs discussed have truly sunk in. This is an excellent way for a beginners book to be constructed as it really hammers home what has been discussed during each chapter.

One major annoyance I have with Richards writing style however is that he comes across as a Mac snob and throughout the book takes snipes at Microsoft and especially Internet Explorer. Whilst some of this may be deserving it is off-putting and a detraction from what is ultimately a good book.

If you can gloss over the snobbishness I would actually recommend this book for beginners of JQuery. The full color screenshots highlight the various examples superbly and Richard does give you a lot of useful information without overwhelming you with every nuance of JQuery.
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on April 15, 2003
I bought this book as an amateur web site author trying to learn some new tricks for my site, and hoping to ease my way into some more serious web authoring. The good news is that this book is incredibly thorough and detailed. The bad news is that he takes you through it all at his pace, instead of helping you get what you want out of it. Put another way, I found this book very user-unfriendly.
First of all, I wanted to learn a couple really basic things for my site -- like how to make a pop-up window -- and then move onto more advanced things. But instead of a TOC that reads something like, "How to make a pop-up window" he uses all JavaScript lingo that means nothing to a beginner. The index is the same way, and so I'm forced to go through this book at HIS pace -- trying to learn a whole bunch of stuff I have no interest in --instead of my own, and still don't know how to do the few things I wanted to learn first.
On the good side, this book is extraordinarily thorough and detailed, and he does an excellent job of explaining how the scripts work. However, overall I feel that it will be far more useful as a reference than as a learning book, and now I may have to shell out another $40 for a book because I'm not sure I can suffer through another chapter of this one.
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on February 27, 2002
The black stripe at the top of this book says "Programmer to Programmer." This is not a book of tricks, like many JavaScript titles out there. This is a book for serious programmers and it is geared to the web programmer, since JavaScript is most often used on the web client side. The book does go a bit fast in some areas, but careful reading and reviewing will help a lot and anyone who is serious about programming shouldn't have a problem. Of course, when learning any language a background in programming does help, but this book is a good starting point for anyone who is serious about actually learning how to program. If all you want is a book of tricks, this book is not for you. I would purchase the Visual Quickstart Guide to JavaScript instead, or look for a free web tutorial. There are many JavaScript sites that give tricks away for free. However, if you need to know how to build JavaScript from the ground up, I don't think you can do much better than this book.
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