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The Book of JavaScript, 2nd Edition: A Practical Guide to Interactive Web Pages 2nd Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593271060
ISBN-10: 1593271069
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

With JavaScript, you can add interactivity, animation, and other tricks to your web pages quickly. But this isn't just a book of scripts for you to cut and paste into your HTML, only to find out later that nothing works as you'd expected. Using real-world examples as the starting point, author thau! walks you step by step through various scripts and explains how they produce the effects you want.

Because no discussion of JavaScript today is complete without coverage of Ajax, this thoroughly updated second edition includes new chapters on Ajax, so you can get up to speed with this valuable method for creating truly dynamic web pages. This second edition of the best-selling The Book of JavaScript also features revised appendices and new examples throughout to reflect today's web environment. Inside, you'll learn to:

* Work with frames, forms, cookies, and alarms
* Use events to react to a user's actions
* Perform image swaps and rollovers
* Program your own functions to produce customized solutions
* Store user preferences and build a shopping cart
* Use Dynamic HTML to turn web pages into multimedia applications

If you need to spruce up tired-looking pages, The Book of JavaScript, 2nd Edition will help take your site from bland to brilliant.

BONUS: Includes a complete reference to all JavaScript objects and functions, including examples, properties, methods, handlers, and browser compatibility!

About the Author

Thau! has been creating Internet applications since 1993, starting with bianca.com, the first web-based community on the Internet. He was Director of Software Engineering and Senior Scientist at Wired Digital, and has taught programming languages to hundreds of artists, engineers, and children. He is currently creating data sharing platforms for people studying biodiversity and working towards a PhD degree in computer science at UC Davis.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 2 edition (December 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271060
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,233,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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I use the word "stuff" since this appears to be the author's favorite combining word for variable names. This is not a bad book but it is a re-working of old approaches. Much of the code relies on poor structural HTML. If you are coding Web pages in a modern way then many scripts in the book will not apply.

Two examples should suffice to communicate the age of this material to those with some experience with modern coding:

1) Constant use of the comment trick to "hide from older browsers" which no longer exist in fact. Try using this trick with XHTML and see what happens...

2) Constant use of "document.write". Anyone using that nowadays for routine transformations of the page is severely limiting those possibilities.

There are better books out there. See my other reviews for some good ones.

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Although Thau! has a cool name, including that exclamation mark, I can't recommend this book at all.

As someone else points out here, there are techniques described in this book that are so outdated that they are both detrimental to your skills as a developer and maybe even damaging to the quality of your product. Slapping an "Ajax" chapter on at the end is not good enough to release a 2nd edition. Some of Thau's techniques, like using "document.write" haven't been acceptable for several years now. There's no coverage of web standards or HTML validation, the cornerstones of contemporary web development. The author's own book site is like a relic from 1999 with stupid Javascript tricks like a timer telling you "you've been on this website for 23 seconds." That's just embarrassing.

Luckily, there are many many excellent books on Javascript that do teach good practices. The best of these includes books like Jeremy Keith's DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model. Christian Heilman's Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: from Novice to Professional) is also very good.
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Format: Paperback
Thau did it again! The second edition is even better than the first:

all the good real world examples, tips for giving fussy browsers "what

they want," a really handy reference, plus over a hundred new pages on

AJAX--Asynchronous JavaScript and XML--all the rage these days, it

seems, and the "magic" behind Google maps and the photo-sharing

interface of Flickr.

I felt great satisfaction when I wrote my first AJAX application--a

shared to do list--with the help of this book. I got up and running in

almost no time. I appreciated all the extras, too, like how to set up

a webserver and PHP.

The book is beautifully laid out and easy to use. Each chapter begins

with a set of bullet points that succinctly summarize the content

covered. The material is also presented in a logical way, so that I

always had the background I needed when new concepts were introduced

(or I could easily thumb back and refresh my memory). I highly

recommend The Book of Javascript, take 2!
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Format: Paperback
This book seems to be written for someone almost entirely new to programming/scripting. A good deal of the concepts are explained just as thoroughly as they need to be for him to cover the subject he is covering.

As such, I would not recommend this book for someone already experienced in programming/scripting.

In response to some other posts, which criticize him for teaching document.write instead of the more modern approach (working directly with the DOM), I disagree. I do acknowledge that it is better to work directly with the DOM, but that is far from a concept that can be taught to someone completely new to programming/scripting without boggling their mind.

Also: BEWARE THE ERRORS! This book is chock full of errors in the code snippets they display. The error in the numbered snippet on page 36, probably the 3rd or 4th error I've seen so far, is what actually motivated me to write this review. That in mind, if you're paying attention, the errors can actually be turned to an educational purpose--debugging! :)

Final advice: If you're completely new to this field or want to treat yourself as if you're completely new, then get this book. I would not recommend sticking solely with this book, though. Get this book and some others (JavaScript: The Definitive Guide and probably another instructional book such as one of the WROX Javascript books).
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There are two ways to learn a language like Javascript. You can take lessons in Javascript (either in a classroom or from a book) or you can teach yourself by viewing other people's scripts and experimenting. If you use the first method then you learn how to write correct and efficient code. If you use the second method then you learn how to write code that does what you need but which isn't necessarily either the best way to do it or even the right way.

There is no real problem with either of these methods where you are just looking to get javascript to work on your web pages. The problem comes when someone who has learned Javascript using the second method decides to write a book on Javascript and "The Book of Javascript" is one such result.
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