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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Javascript - from beginner to advanced.
Simply Javascript by Kevin Yank and Cameron Adams lives up to the subtitle of Everything you need to learn Javascript from scratch. Javascript is a tricky subject to tackle. The Internet is full of Javascript snippets and code samples everywhere you look. Often times these code samples are less than satisfactory when you are addressing accessibility within your website...
Published on July 5, 2007 by Nate Klaiber

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe for someone else
Quite frankly, I couldn't make sense out of it. The examples don't seem to work, or they require knowing something that wasn't mentioned in the book. For a book entitled "Simply" I kind of expected that I would be able to write basic javascript by the time I had finished it. Sadly, this was not the case.
Published on August 6, 2008 by KayTheTeacher


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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Javascript - from beginner to advanced., July 5, 2007
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This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
Simply Javascript by Kevin Yank and Cameron Adams lives up to the subtitle of Everything you need to learn Javascript from scratch. Javascript is a tricky subject to tackle. The Internet is full of Javascript snippets and code samples everywhere you look. Often times these code samples are less than satisfactory when you are addressing accessibility within your website. Many of the code samples contain outdated and proprietary code samples, making it a task to work out kinks and debug. The good news with this book is that they stick to a standard. All code used in this book uses object literal notation. Sticking to a coding style and format helps make this book an incredible read. Throughout this book you will learn the underpinnings of Javascript and how you can achieve different tasks.

Learning Javascript from scratch can be a daunting task. After all, there are several libraries and free scripts that you can essentially download and plugin to your website. But what happens when things go wrong? What happens when you need to modify the script to fit your needs? Having a solid foundation and understanding of Javascript will help you as you begin to develop for your own needs. This book gently walks you through the steps you need to take to achieve that solid foundation.

Chapter 1 starts off with a brief primer of unobtrusive Javascript and it's role in the three layers of the web. HTML is your content. CSS is your presentation. Javascript is your behavior. These three aspects need to be separate from one another and also co-exist at the same time. Gone are the days of inline event handlers and functions. Using the power of the DOM you can rest assured your HTML will be pure and your applications will work flawlessly without Javascript enabled.

Chapter 2 spends some time setting up the foundation for beginners. This chapter walks you through statements, comments, variables and different variable types, conditions and loops, functions, and objects. Whew, that was a mouthful. This is where the standard of coding is introduced that will be used throughout the rest of the book. Things such as code indenting and formatting are touched on as well. This allows you to write clean code that is readable by you and other developers who may be working with your code. As stated earlier, all code uses object literal notation, and therefore this is explained in this chapter. A few examples are given and we are off to building some handy tools.

Chapter 3 gives you the necessary road map. This chapter is devoted to traversing the Document Object Model. A few helper classes are shown here that will allow us to retrieve elements by class name, add class names to an element, remove class names from an element, and check for the existence of class names within in an element. These will be used extensively throughout the book and are placed in their Core object. In addition to being able to traverse by class names, there is also the list of standard elements such as getElementById and getElementsByTagName. With these powerful tools at our finger tips we can now begin altering our pages as deemed necessary. The example given here is one of striping table rows. For those who don't do this on the server side, this simple task allows you to stripe your rows via the DOM.

Sure it's cool to add stripes to a table, but how can we do more? Chapter 4 is all about Events and the power they add to interacting with the DOM. The brief history lesson in this chapter helps us understand the different interpretations of different browsers and how we can use object detection to abstract these tasks into the Core object. Event Listeners and Event Handlers are both discussed in great detail. We move on to two working examples: Rich tooltips and Accordion. Rich tooltips are used to extract information from our title attribute and then apply them to a more stylish hover tooltip effect. Accordion allows us to save space on our pages by gradually showing the content as it is requested by either a click or keyboard event.

Chapter 5 gets us moving even more. This chapter is devoted to Animation and is probably one of the more complex chapters of the book. We are introduced to two methods, setTimeout and setInterval. Working mainly with setTimeout we are able to achieve our animation effects. This chapter looks at the principles of animation and an example of path-based motion with a soccer ball. We then use our new-found knowledge to extend our tooltip to show after a specified time, and our accordion is given a nice slide effect. We simply extend the code from our previous chapter to make these things happen. This is a good example of the benefits of working with objects and decoupling inside of your Javascript.

Chapter 6 gives use a few more tools to work with Forms. Forms are never easy to manipulate. Whether it be the style or the behavior. The beginning of the chapter starts with smaller scripts and examples of manipulating forms. This is done by specifying dependent fields and only showing them when necessary, and creating cascading menus from a select and it's optgroup. We then move on to some more advanced features for validation and creating a custom slider. These have been presented before in other areas, so nothing is really new in this area. However, this is all a part of understanding the bigger picture and the possibilities. It is about getting the creative juices flowing.

Chapter 7 discusses the inevitable testing for errors and debugging your application. We walk through the different types of erros: syntax, runtime, and logic. With each of these code samples are given with errors. We then use the tools of the browsers to make sense of their often cryptic error messages. In order to debug Javascript there is an invaluable tool in Firebug, a plugin for the popular Firefox web browser.

More interaction is still left as chapter 8 moves us to AJAX. Some very strong disclaimers are made as to when and where to use the right tool for the right job. Caution is also given in regards to assistive devices such as screen readers. With the warnings out of the way, we move to a some practical examples. The first is a small weather widget and the second is an extension to form validation.

The book finishes off by looking too the future of Javascript. Discussions of Rich Internet Applications and their place inside of the web help to stimulate your mind as you think about the possibilities. Not only about building applications on the web, but also using Javascript for such things as Dashboard Widgets and even browser development. In the hands of responsible developers, the future looks exciting for Javascript.

The Appendix is a very important part to this book, and I like its placement. The appendix goes through the Core methods used throughout the entire book. But why wait until the end of the book? Had this chapter shown up earlier it would have caused more confusion than necessary, and more explanation that necessary. As a reader you have the option to read this appendix first, but I felt it was well placed and covered thoroughly at the end of the book. By this point in the book you will have gained enough knowledge to dive in, whereas the beginning might have left you asking all the wrong questions.

If you have been developing Javascript for any amount of time, then you are most likely aware of the array of libraries available to us. These include Prototype, Scriptaculous, jQuery, Dojo, MooTools, and YUI to name a few. Each chapter of this book ends with a discussion of the libraries and how they can be used to help achieve the different tasks. Some libraries can achieve some tasks, while others still take a little work. The authors give a fair coverage to the libraries but do not dwell on them as the end-all-be-all of Javascript. If anything, the author's stress that you understand your Javascript at the core and know why you are doing what you are doing. This book sticks to unobtrusive principles and doesn't take shortcuts. The authors strive to make sure the code is of high quality and compatible cross-browser, but they never take the easy way out. Things such as innerHTML are put away in favor of building the DOM on the fly. This adds to the overall excellent quality of this book. The excellent code coupled with beautiful illustrations make this book easy to take small chunks at a time.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but probably not for beginners, August 7, 2007
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This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
I began the book with very little knowledge of Javascript, although I am familiar with programming concepts and it has been great. I like the informal tone, and the examples are clear and easy to understand. It is not boring like most programming books. They emphasize keeping Javascript out of the html which adds a bit more complexity to the code than the old way of putting it right into the tags. This is good because it is standards compliant, but not as easy to learn.

Be forewarned, this book starts with the basics but quickly jumps into the meat of Javascript. There is serious coding here, and it is not something you can read in a day. If you are not too familiar with coding principles like arrays, objects, or functions, it might be too much too fast. I would recommend JavaScript Demystified if you are beginner to scripting or programming because it spends a lot more time on basic concepts.

Overall a great beginner-intermediate book on JavaScript.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for learning JavaScript, January 5, 2008
This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
I've been exposed to very little JavaScript, so I was very happy to get a review copy of this sent to me. First off, I'm a big fan of SitePoint's other books, and secondly I was looking forward to a book which would hopefully give me some good ground-up fundamentals. I'm not completely through the book yet, but I'm very impressed with it so far.

The book starts out with some good software design tenets by emphasizing the need to keep content, style, and behavior separated out, then moves into some very basic steps for programming in JavaScript. The programming intro chapter starts out completely for beginners by laying out what variables are, what conditions and loops are, etc. Later chapters hit the DOM, JavaScript libraries, events, debugging, Ajax, and a few other topics.

The authors do a very good job of laying out their topics, and I enjoyed their clear, enjoyable writing style. I think they do a pretty good job of discussing good development, and they're all over things like browser compatibility issues and other "Gotcha!" type issues. They've got a nice set of sidebars for tricks and tips as well as things to look out for.

I also like that it's another SitePoint book with loads of color throughout. I'm not sure how SitePoint does it, but their continuing journey with all the color books is absolutely great to behold.

On the downside, I'm not a fan of some of the example code I saw, which in several cases was more convoluted than good design would dictate (multiple nested for loops, return statements from other method calls being used as return values themselves, etc.). I also would have liked to see some discussion of testing via tools like Selenium or JsUnit.

Overall I really like the book a lot. They talk standards, they talk cool tools like FireBug, they make some headway with good decisions about separation of code, content, and style.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe for someone else, August 6, 2008
This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
Quite frankly, I couldn't make sense out of it. The examples don't seem to work, or they require knowing something that wasn't mentioned in the book. For a book entitled "Simply" I kind of expected that I would be able to write basic javascript by the time I had finished it. Sadly, this was not the case.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2011 Review, May 26, 2011
This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
The Good: Content is well presented and easy to follow. Good advice on how to setup your JavaScript code so that others can use it in future modifications to a web site. Good book for programers with some experience in website code development who want the basics on JavaScript and how to apply it.

The Bad: This book was written in 2007 and JavaScript has changed since then and obviously the book does not cover these changes. Not for novice programers with no experience running code in web browsers. No explanations on how to modify the code so it will run in modern browsers.

The Ugly: Some of the code examples will not run without modifications due to modern browser specs in 2011. Some of the code samples will not run due to errors which makes it tough for beginners to learn the basics.

You can read this book as a rental on Safari online book site or if get the Kindle edition on Amazon. I do not recommend buying it new as its not worth the price.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Advanced topics are explained well, November 21, 2008
By 
Mike Chang (Sunnyvale, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
But lack of basics. For example,
1. inheritance
2. variable scope
This book does explain some topics very well, like DOM, Event, even animation.
This book title should be changed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best for a complete beginner, March 24, 2008
By 
Wade Smart "Wade Smart" (Bartlesville, Oklahoma) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
The Sitepoint guys have great articles on their site and emails but I found this book very difficult to read. It didnt seem that the examples made sense, or flowed together to make sense.

As Im pretty new to JS, adding that to my php work, I really had a difficult time understanding all the syntax - and that is made more difficult by now having clear, easy to follow examples.

I cant and wont say that I wouldnt recommend this book because its not a bad book, I just feel that if you are as new to JS as I am, this might not be the best book to start with.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to finally know!, August 2, 2007
This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
I've never had a bad go-round with any Site Point book but this is the best I've read yet. Let me first admit that I very rarely "write" my own js. As a designer/hoster/pseudo-developer I have little time to spend learning how to hand code programming languages from the ground up. I also rely on DW's Spry framework to make stuff easier.

That being said, it is crucial that I at least understand what I'm looking at so I can make mods on the fly. This book makes learning js interesting, fun, and do-able. I think I finally understand the DOM, as I should, and I have this book to thank.

Even if you don't hand code everything you need to at least understand the widgets/plugins you are using and this book does just that that and then some!

Plus you don't have to be a geek like the two writers (just kidding guys) to understand even the most complex features.

Another great job by the Site Point group!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all...it's amazing, July 24, 2009
By 
This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
This book was awesome. I read it off and on for the last 2 years. I got it when it came out because my school had a javascript course, but I switched schools and just read it on my own. I had some difficulties at first because javascript is a proto-type language, not a OOP language. That really bugged me for a while. I honestly can say that I hate the authors' programming style, it's horrible, I hate it. But if you can get past that, haha, it's good. This book really is "simply javascript". They don't go over anything from a computer scientist's point of view. I think it's good to get started on javascript, but I would recommend "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" I read through practically all of that book and the author discusses everything from a computer scientist point of view like going over pointers and memory mangement...if you are coming from C/C++ or Java you defiantly need to read that book because the authors here don't talk about that at all. It's a shame that none of the sitepoint books have OOP in javascript.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not for beginners, August 15, 2009
By 
Sonic Reducer (Belmont, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Simply JavaScript (Paperback)
The good:

This book is still relevant in 2011.

The bad:

The premise on the back of the book is misleading - you won't be able to write your own scripts after finishing this book.

What you will be able to do is grasp the fundamentals of JS, but unfortunately that would require a bit of previous/basic experience with JS.
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Simply JavaScript
Simply JavaScript by Kevin Yank (Paperback - July 1, 2007)
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