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Learning JavaScript: Add Sparkle and Life to Your Web Pages [Kindle Edition]

Shelley Powers
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $27.99 What's this?
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  • Print ISBN-10: 0596521871
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0596521875
  • Edition: 2

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Book Description

If you're new to JavaScript, or an experienced web developer looking to improve your skills, Learning JavaScript provides you with complete, no-nonsense coverage of this quirky yet essential language for web development. You'll learn everything from primitive data types to complex features, including JavaScript elements involved with Ajax and dynamic page effects. By the end of the book, you'll be able to work with even the most sophisticated libraries and web applications.

Complete with best practices and examples of JavaScript use, this new edition shows you how to integrate the language with the browser environment, and how to practice proper coding techniques for standards-compliant websites. This book will help you:

  • Learn the JavaScript application structure, including basic statements and control structures
  • Identify JavaScript objects—String, Number, Boolean, Function, and more
  • Use browser debugging tools and troubleshooting techniques
  • Understand event handling, form events, and JavaScript applications with forms
  • Develop with the Browser Object Model, the Document Object Model, and custom objects you create
  • Learn about browser cookies and more modern client-side storage techniques
  • Get details for using XML or JSON with Ajax applications
Learning JavaScript follows proven learning principles to help you absorb the concepts at an easy pace, so you'll learn how to create powerful and responsive applications in any browser.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Shelley Powers has been working with, and writing about, web technologies--from the first release of JavaScript to the latest graphics and design tools--for more than 12 years. Her recent O'Reilly books have covered the semantic web, Ajax, JavaScript, and web graphics. She's an avid amateur photographer and web development aficionado, who enjoys applying her latest experiments on her many web sites.


Product Details

  • File Size: 2576 KB
  • Print Length: 398 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2 edition (December 11, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026OR2PY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,601 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars decent introduction, marred by typos November 9, 2006
Format:Paperback
As an introduction to javascript, this book covers all the ground you'd hope it would. It introduces JS in the context of a standalone programming language with its various procedural constructs, before moving onto the Document Object Model and Browser Object Model, touches upon objects, and finds the time to explain Ajax. Finally, there's a whistlestop tour of the commonly used JS libraries like Dojo, Prototype and script.aculo.us. Shelley Powers also sprinkles her opinions on JS best practices throughout, with a bias towards favouring accessibility over whiz-bang flashiness. I would recommend being comfortable with XHTML and CSS as a prerequisite for this book - something like O'Reilly's own Head First XHTML and CSS would be very suitable.

If, like me, you know a few programming languages, but nothing about JS, and wanted a crash course so you could understand what all the fuss about the likes of Ajax or the Google Web Toolkit is, this is just what you need. So why am I only giving it three stars?

First, I thought some of the features weren't very well explained - the writing lacks clarity when describing important points. Compounding this, a few of the examples are poorly chosen. Some of my quibbles may seem picky, but the feel of the book is that it's pitched at an inexperienced programmer, and a lot of the time I only followed the discussion because I was already familiar with the material from other languages. Some particular points follow.

i) Accessing the length of various parts of a multidimensional array is illustrated with:

alert(threedPoints[2][2].length); // prints out 3

alert(threedPoints[2].length); // prints out 3

alert(threedPoints.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I recently became the maintainer for a site that uses a bit of JavaScript. Surprisingly, I have no previous experience writing or maintaining anything in JavaScript, so I needed to get up to speed, if only to know what is going on. To help me out, I picked up a copy of Shelley Powers' new book, Learning JavaScript.

I am familiar with Shelley Powers' work, having read Unix Power Tools, a book that holds a special place on my shelf for its usefulness and depth. She is obviously someone who knows what she is doing.

This book states in the preface that, "Readers of this book should be familiar with web page technology, including Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML/XHTML. Previous programming experience isn't required, though some sections may require extra review if you have no previous exposure to programming."

That sums up the only negative thing I might be tempted to say about the book. Usually, O'Reilly's "Learning" series books are excellent resources for complete newcomers and are the sort of books that I might point a novice toward. While this book is designed for the JavaScript novice, it is not the best resource for a programming/web creation novice. If you can't follow or understand the following quoted sentences, this book isn't for you. If you can, this book does an excellent job of covering the basics of JavaScript in depth and may end up being the only text you need on the topic.

"JavaScript has just three primitive data types: string, numeric, and boolean. Each is differentiated from the others by the type of value it contains: string, numeric, and boolean, respectively."

My first exposure to programming was in 1981, using BASIC on a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for Beginners! September 3, 2009
Format:Paperback
I have to concur that while this book is marketed as a book for newcomers to javascript, it is too full of unexplained terminology for the beginner. I am very familiar with HTML and CSS, and the introduction to this book claims that should have been good enough for a starting point, but here I am scratching my head about every third sentence and having to run to the web for clarification.

Other "beginning" O'Reilly books I have used relied on a tutorial model that starts with a "hello world" example and builds upon it to introduce more complicated concepts. Powers' book does indeed start with a "hello world" example, but does not build upon it. Instead, each chapter focuses on a particular facet and provides isolated examples that are not connected back to previous examples. It is arranged more like a basic reference text than a learning tool.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners November 13, 2009
By dennisd
Format:Paperback
I am trudging through this book right now, and as a beginner who has no prior experience with JavaScript, I can tell you that this book isn't for the beginner. I've gone through a few examples and typed in the code as written and found that a few of the examples don't even work. I'm sure that it was written using some sort of word processing software, so what made it so hard to copy and paste the JavaScript code into a file to check to see if the code actually works? Also, I don't understand why the examples are so complex. After reading and rereading the script examples, I can usually figure it out, but having to do that is why I say that this book is not for the beginner.

The good part about this book, is that I am actually learning the material. The "test" questions at the end of the chapter range from simple to intermediate, and I can answer all of them correctly. I just wish it was a bit easier to read for us beginners.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Coverage, But (Often) Structured Poorly, Written Vaguely, and...
Disclaimer: I'm pretty harsh on Powers' book in the following review, both because this book deserves the criticism and because it's fun being a Scrooge. Read more
Published 8 months ago by C. Middleton
3.0 out of 5 stars it is ok for beginners
This book is ok for beginners but lacks some of the new functionality of the current version. Good price though
Published 10 months ago by J. Agler
3.0 out of 5 stars Very technical
This was a required book for my class. I have since taken JavaScript at another school and had to use another version. I think this version is very technical. Read more
Published 10 months ago by homerenovationsensation
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Wonderful intro to JavaScript, with lots of good examples. O'Reilly books are always wise investments, and this one is no different.
Published 16 months ago by Joshua Kubli
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many errors
You should check the errata for this book at [...] before you decide to buy it.

It's a surprisingly long list, for a book of this size.
Published 23 months ago by Menachem Rath
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for anyone
If you are an experienced programmer looking to add JavaScript to your repertoire this book is completely useless with the exception of chapter 13 which covers the very basics of... Read more
Published on January 2, 2012 by David S.
1.0 out of 5 stars So many errors and omissions
I suppose if you are reading this book and have no prior knowledge of JavaScript, then you might think it is a good book with a wide range of coverage. Read more
Published on September 21, 2011 by L. S. Marcus
4.0 out of 5 stars 2nd Edition is Still Relevant! Buy it!
I understand that there is a newer edition, but this one is still worth the money. Amazona and eBay are good sources for the right price. And, the prices are for new copies. Read more
Published on August 27, 2011 by Frank Beckendorf
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Experience Programmers Either
I've read a few reviews here stating that this book isn't for the beginning programmer or the non-programmer. Read more
Published on July 31, 2011 by doodaddy
1.0 out of 5 stars Not For Beginners
Being a complete newbie to JavaScript, I thought "Learning JavaScript" would be an appropriate book to pick up. I was wrong. Read more
Published on January 22, 2011 by CodeMe
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More About the Author

Plain. Writer.

Shelley Powers has been working with, and writing about, web technologies--from the first release of JavaScript to the latest graphics and design tools--for more than 15 years. Her recent O'Reilly books have covered JavaScript, Node, and HTML5.

Shelley is now transitioning to other topic areas, including sustainable agriculture, food safety, environmentalism, animal welfare, and combating corporate front groups. Upcoming books will touch on the 100 year old battle over raw milk, and the ten year court case between Feld Entertainment (Ringling Brothers Circus) and the animal welfare community.


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