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on November 3, 2012
There is a line from Lion King where little Simba comments on his Uncle Scar's weirdness. Scar replies "You have no idea."

The main point of this review is that Javascript is a really weird contraption, and that this book points this out in a way that is very helpful for programmers coming from more traditional compiled programming languages.

I have programmed in C, C++, Java, C# for many years. I have read other books on Javascript which tried to teach by examples. With normal programming languages, this works fine. However, within a few hours with this book I realized that to understand Javascript, you must give up on some basic expectations you may have as a code developer. This was a surprise to me, but crucial to be able to learn Javascript well enough to work on non-trivial projects with existing code.

Javascript is simply bizarre. There are many different ways to implement object-oriented patterns which all use different-looking code, and have subtle differences, making it so easy to get bitten by unintended consequences. From this book I learned that there is no one solid way to implement the basic pattern of your code, you must make a choice.

If you try to read a Javascript book which teaches by examples, you will be in trouble when you actually start to modify someone else's Javascript code which used a different pattern. This book doesn't just show trivial examples, it methodically goes through how it works in enough detail so you can understand how it is working under the hood.

Also, the text has plenty of warnings about buggy implementations and common pitfalls. After you get about 1/4 of the way through it you will be wondering how any Javascript code runs on Internet Explorer at all, since about every other page is another 'this-is-broken-in-IE' warning boxes.

The text is written in a very clear style, never glossing over anything. It isn't at all cute or made to be entertaining, just kind of down to business.

There is no question I will be using this book nearly every time I have to work on Javascript code.

If you are just looking to make a little mouse button handler in a web page, this is probably not the book for you. It does not jump right into little useful examples.

If you are coming from a programming background in traditional compiled languages, and you want to know more about Javascript than little tiny scripts, IMHO this book is absolutely necessary. You will never regret purchasing it.
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on March 19, 2012
I usually get turned of by books this big as I assume they are badly edited. However, before this I read many books on JavaScript and while I learnt a lot from each one I never quite got my head around the more complicated parts of the language such as inheritance until reading this book. Zaka's just explains everything really well, though don't interpret that as meaning at length, I think his chapters are more the natural length of the topics they describe. Not condensed down to 'seem' friendly as in "The Good Parts".
This is the book which finally got me comfortable with the core language, though it also taught me a lot which I didn't expect to be taught or hadn't even heard of such as document fragments and many aspects of the browser API's. So while this book could have been a lot shorter by removing a lot of the stuff most people won't care about, I am glad the author kept them in as I found them interesting. Actually I wish the book was longer. And besides its well enough organised that you could simply skip to 'the good parts' and still end up with a better book than its restricted cousins.
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on March 20, 2012
If you have already read the previous edition of this book, the reading of this third edition will bring you a lot of new stuffs. This book is not only a complete rewriting, but also a more deep explanation and a detailed presentation of HTML5 apis.
For me, "JavaScript for Web Developpers" is really really more user friendly than "Javascript, the definitive guide". Code samples are easy to understand (and don't spread across 3 or 4 pages). The style is simple and the writing is easily understood by a "non english native" like me.
The only thing I would change if I could is stripping out the 50 pages on XML and replacing them by more of advanced techniques.
Definitly a must-have.
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on May 22, 2012
This book is about so much more than Javascript, its a huge encyclopedia of everything related to modern-day web development techniques.
It does an excellent job of describing Javascript, with a lengthy section on OO techniques (describing the pros and cons of dynamic prototyping, parasitic construction, durable construction, prototype chaining, constructor chaining parasitic combination inheritance, and so on, to name a few).
Then it has full descriptions of all web related technologies such as BOM, DOM, AJAX, COMET, JSON, XML,HTML5, event handling, and much much more. Each of these topics is covered in depth and clearly explained.
The book also contains a substantial amount of history describing the evolution of the web, which is essential to provide context to understand where the web is today, how it got here and how the legacy of the past still echoes today.

If you have any involvement in web technologies, direct or tangentially, or you have no involvement in them but are curious and want to learn about them, then this is a must read.
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on December 27, 2012
This book is NOT for most beginners, but maybe for beginners with other coding experience or with a natural knack for logic, scripting, and coding type exercises. Otherwise, advanced coders of most any language, or intermediate to advanced JavaScript developers will find this book very useful.

I am a self taught JavaScript coder, with about seven years of experience. Before studying this book, I was already writing some relatively complicated code, including functions, constructors, methods on constructors, jQuery add-ons, and more. This book took my existing JavaScript knowledgebase and cleared it up, fixed some existing misconceptions I had regarding JavaScript, taught me industry standard practices/naming conventions/coding practices/etc. that I had not already picked up on, and then it took my skills to the next level by covering topics I had a loose understanding of at best.

After going through this book in its entirety (twice for good measure :) ...), I can truly say that I am a more efficient, cleaner, and certainly more sophisticated JavaScript developer. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to learn the latest ECMA 5.x has to offer (I previously coded to ECMA-262 version 3 based JavaScript only), those looking to learn advanced JavaScript coding skills, and/or those looking to refine their existing skillset to reflect the latest best industry practices used when coding in JavaScript.
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on May 21, 2012
Professional JavaScript for Web Developers is a deep dive into the JavaScript programming language. It also covers, in great detail, things such as - the DOM, the BOM, OOP, Ajax, JSON, Canvas ... the list goes on.

If you want to become an expert in JavaScript, this is the book for you.

Nicholas Zakas has a real knack for getting the knowledge from his brain into yours. He does so by first giving a detailed explanation of a subject, followed by a short snippet of relevant code, and finally he explains the code.
If you find yourself unsure of a particular concept, trudge along, it will be explained.

I highly recommend you buy this book. It's easily the best book I've read on the subject.
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on March 5, 2013
I will never understand the technical writer who, upon completing the multi-year work on their nigh-thousand-page tome, allows it to go into print with an inadequate index. The book is 900 pages long; the index is 22 pages long. By contrast, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is about 1000 pages long, and its index is 59 pages. A look at an arbitrary entry shows us why. Consider the entry on for-in loops in JS:TDG:

for/in loops, 100
in array comprehensions, 281
continue statements in, 104
enumerating properties, 126-128
extension to work with iterable objects,274-277
iterating arrays, 147
iterating through methods, fields and properties of Java classes and objects, 292
let keyword in, 270
property enumeration order, 101
using with associative arrays, 121

And the corresponding entry in PJSfWD:

for-in statement: 72-73

Now mind you, PJSfWD covers most everything that JS:TDG does, but you'd never know it by looking at the index. This severely reduces the book's value as a reference.

The author also makes some odd claims. For example, on page 35, he says that Javascript "uses the IEEE-754 format to represent both integers and floating-point values." On the next page, he claims that "storing floating-point numbers uses twice as much memory as storing integer values." What-WAHT??? There are numerous other such technical gaffs, and it leads one to wonder what else the author has played fast and loose with.

That said, the book covers a lot of ground, and to get as comprehensive a language reference that also covers as much web development, you'd probably have to buy two books. But if you did, you'd probably have better coverage than this book gives.

It gets four stars for content, docked one star for technical gaffs and an unforgivable index.
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on April 8, 2014
I had no experience in JavaScript, all my coding was done in C#.NET, Delphi, Java and before reading this book first I started with JavaScript, the Good Parts book and failed...then moved to Secrets of JavaScript Ninja book and again failed, they were not for beginners...Then I came to this one and awesome book. It is from beginner to Professional all in one. Don't worry about the size of the book if you are a developer you can read it much faster because you don't really need all of it if it is teaching you what is a variable and fast forward to the parts you don't know...
If you are new to JavaScript first read this book before reading the other two books I mentioned above.
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on March 21, 2012
I would highly recommend this book to anyone seeking a comprehensive knowledge of JavaScript and best practices. Within a few minutes you can take your knowledge of JavaScript from intermediate to advanced.

I really appreciate the examples of cross browser solutions (facades) used throughout to illustrate advanced techniques and patterns.

Whether you skip around the chapters to topics of interest or read in chronological order, you won't be disappointed. The book is well written with concise examples.
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on April 24, 2014
I've almost finished this book (up to Chapter 23 out of 25). I taught myself web development over the past few years and so would describe my skills as intermediate, and was lacking understanding in some areas.

This book contains a lot of good explanations of how JavaScript works and how to use it to its full potential. There are plenty of useful code snippets that the author presents and then explains. He also includes cross-browser solutions to various issues which is very helpful.

The author introduces various new JavaScript APIs associated with HTML5 which are gaining fairly good browser support as of early 2014.

Although this third edition was written a few years ago, it is still highly relevant. Just a tip for others buying the third edition - you might want to skip over Chapter 19: Ecmascript for XML. It describes E4X; a technology which has since been deprecated.
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