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JavaScript: The Definitive Guide [Paperback]

David Flanagan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 24, 2006 0596101996 978-0596101992 Fifth Edition

This Fifth Edition is completely revised and expanded to cover JavaScript as it is used in today's Web 2.0 applications. This book is both an example-driven programmer's guide and a keep-on-your-desk reference, with new chapters that explain everything you need to know to get the most out of JavaScript, including:

  • Scripted HTTP and Ajax
  • XML processing
  • Client-side graphics using the canvas tag
  • Namespaces in JavaScript--essential when writing complex programs
  • Classes, closures, persistence, Flash, and JavaScript embedded in Java applications

Part I explains the core JavaScript language in detail. If you are new to JavaScript, it will teach you the language. If you are already a JavaScript programmer, Part I will sharpen your skills and deepen your understanding of the language.

Part II explains the scripting environment provided by web browsers, with a focus on DOM scripting with unobtrusive JavaScript. The broad and deep coverage of client-side JavaScript is illustrated with many sophisticated examples that demonstrate how to:

  • Generate a table of contents for an HTML document
  • Display DHTML animations
  • Automate form validation
  • Draw dynamic pie charts
  • Make HTML elements draggable
  • Define keyboard shortcuts for web applications
  • Create Ajax-enabled tool tips
  • Use XPath and XSLT on XML documents loaded with Ajax
  • And much more

Part III is a complete reference for core JavaScript. It documents every class, object, constructor, method, function, property, and constant defined by JavaScript 1.5 and ECMAScript Version 3.

Part IV is a reference for client-side JavaScript, covering legacy web browser APIs, the standard Level 2 DOM API, and emerging standards such as the XMLHttpRequest object and the canvas tag.

More than 300,000 JavaScript programmers around the world have made this their indispensable reference book for building JavaScript applications.

"A must-have reference for expert JavaScript programmers...well-organized and detailed."

-- Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript

Editorial Reviews


"Excellent, detailed guide." - Computer Shopper, February 2007

Book Description

Activate Your Web Pages

Product Details

  • Paperback: 1032 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Fifth Edition edition (August 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596101996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596101992
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Indispensable Reference - A Worthy Upgrade January 27, 2007
The previous edition of this book, 4th edition, remained at arm's length at all times at work and rescued me repeatedly from various day-to-day JavaScript challenges. It has become tattered from rigorous use. I always loved how the book was organized, with the first half as a walk through the entire gamut of JavaScript's workings -- tutorials, walk-thrus, code samples, cross-browser issues, and practical solutions -- and the second half of the book as a complete JavaScript language and DOM reference. That already very useful format has actually been improved upon. David has combined the DOM API reference and client-side JavaScript reference into a single alphabetized section. Now that I think about it, I did find myself flipping back and forth a lot in the previous edition, so this is a welcome improvement. Each object, property, and method contains a helpful "availability" of that item. This may be the standards spec it came from [DOM Level 2 HTML, ECMAScript v1], the JavaScript version in which it emerged [JavaScript 1.0], or a list of browser versions, if it is a proprietary feature. This is critical info to have at-a-glance - could perhaps save you 2 days of work implementing a non-standard, IE-specific JavaScript feature, when you could have been coding the standards-compliant equivalent. David has removed a lot of the deprecated, not-widely-adopted DOM interfaces that no longer apply to modern browsers. David has also moved focus away from some of the more oddball DOM interfaces that have been replaced by more sensible JavaScript objects that implement those interfaces, for example, window.getComputedStyle() rather than AbstractView.getComputedStyle(). In other words, David has removed all of the "stuff that still exists, but you no longer need to worry about". Read more ›
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 5th Edition was well worth the wait August 18, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off, this is a review of the 5th edition, released August 1, 2006. All other reviews prior to that date are talking about previous editions of this book, which are considerably different than the current one.

The reason the various editions of this book have been so good over the last ten years is probably because they have all been written by the same author, David Flanagan, who seems to really know his audience. Part one of the book is pretty much the same as in the previous edition. It acts as a complete tutorial on the language, taking you all the way from basic language constructs into object-oriented programming and finally basic scripting.

Where things get really interesting and cutting edge is in part two of the book, "Client-Side Javascript". Most of the examples we've seen so far, while legal JavaScript code, had no particular context - they were JavaScript fragments that ran in no specified environment. Chapters 13 and 14, "Javascript in Web Browsers", and "Scripting Browser Windows" provide that context. This begins with a conceptual introduction to the web browser programming environment and basic client-side JavaScript concepts. Next, it discusses how to embed JavaScript code within HTML documents so it can run in a web browser. Finally, the chapter goes into detail about how JavaScript programs are executed in a web browser.

Next, the book turns its attention to the Document Object Model (DOM). Client-side JavaScript exists to turn static HTML documents into interactive programs. It is the Document object that gives JavaScript interactive access to the content of otherwise static documents.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one JavaScript book to rule them all... October 20, 2006
By F. Wong
I'm a technical trainer, and we've decided to distribute this book as part of our Ajax courseware. We've reviewed many other JavaScript books, but we keep coming back to this one.

Suffice to say - its an excellent Core javaScript coursebook by itself (the first 220 pages). But the latest 5th edition is also a great resource for other Web 2.0 relevant topics: Ajax/Remote Scripting, CSS, Event handling, DOM scripting, ... The fifth edition also includes comments related to the just-release Internet Explorer 7.

Add in another 100+ page Core JavaScript reference section

Plus another 240+ page Client-Side JavaScript Object reference section (classes, methods, properties, and event handlers...such as XMLHttpRequest, Document, Window, Event)

And it all adds up to one thick/heavy book that deserves to be on your bookshelf...

My only complaint - the reference section has changed. Previous editions would tell you specifically which browser versions are applicable. In this edition, the author chose to tell us what standard provides the specification. Ex: "ECMAScript v1". IMHO - I wish the reference section consistently showed both bits of information ALL the time: the specification standard, and the browsers which support it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best JavaScript Reference! October 9, 2006
This is the 5th edition of this almost thousand page book (992), and has been pretty much the gold standard for JavaScript reference books. I have the 4th edition that came out a few years ago and it was worth upgrading to this new 5th edition.

JavaScript use has changed a lot the past few years and this new edition definitely focuses on the changes that have been following JavaScript with Ajax and DOM implementations. The book is totally updated for updated browser support (IE6, Firefox, Opera and Safari) and details any specific browser quirks as well. This book will replace your hours of surfing online for JavaScript sites looking for that one obscure thing that you can't find in your other books. I also like it because it is easy to find things with its divided sections into: Core JavaScript, Client-Side JavaScript, Core JavaScript Reference, and Client-Side JavaScript Reference.

I really can say that this book does not leave anything out. Though I'm not a JavaScript guru (yet), but this book is as complete as you'll find (even comparing it to the Bible books). This should not be your first JavaScript book, unless you have some programming background because it can be a little daunting going through everything because it is so detailed. If you do any real JavaScript programming or development (or will be doing some in the future), this definitely has to be in your bookshelf.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars THE definitive guide on JavaScript
The title says it all: it is THE definitive guide on JavaScript. While the Sixth edition of this book is now available, this book is still an invaluable resource--one which I turn... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Craig E. Shea
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Reference for Javascript Developers
As a relatively new Javascript developer, I use this book a lot! It is a solid reference that I use daily. It is a lengthy reference, however the topic warrants the length. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Randall J Rodrigues
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Very, very pleased with the book. It's worth every cent! The writing is clear, paced and suited for both the expert and the non programmer (like me). Read more
Published 8 months ago by Newton Claizoni
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh
Hasn't been as helpful as I had hoped. A hard read. Not much else to say just filling in text.
Published 8 months ago by Salixia
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book in excellent conditions
I bought this book used (the first one that I bought not new), I was not sure in which conditions the book was going to be, but for my surprise it was like new. Read more
Published 14 months ago by German Martinez
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
The book is very informative. However, I didn't benefit from its content simply because I found an online training service (Lynda. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Merciless Max
5.0 out of 5 stars Good explanations
The book contains more than I expected on the subject and I have been learning a lot with it since I got it.
Published 17 months ago by Moacir Siqueira Jr
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent
totally got me up to speed on javascript, clearly written and lots of good details as usual for an O'reilly book
Published 18 months ago by nebbs
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not for everyone
The book is supposed to be the best JavaScript book on the market, even today. But it's not for amateurs. I found it a lot more informative than any other book I peeked at. Read more
Published on January 27, 2012 by Great Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive coverage for its time of publication (2006)
If you are looking for a comprehensive resource to teach you everything you need to know about JavaScript, get this book. Read more
Published on December 14, 2011 by josh168
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Topic From this Discussion
Absolutely positively not. It would be a terrible mistake and really hurt your energy and enthusiasm.

There is a very good "Javascript for Beginners" that gets reasonably deep and is plenty hard enough for a total beginner.

That said, when a new edition of this comes out, it might be... Read More
Feb 15, 2010 by R. M. Barge |  See all 2 posts
5th Ed. is FOUR years out of date... any word of a SIXTH edition coming...
The answer to your first question is

As to your second question, I was wondering the same thing.
Apr 13, 2010 by Neurosion |  See all 4 posts
How is this on the kindle? Be the first to reply
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