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Designing with JavaScript: Creating Dynamic Web Pages (Web Review Studio Series) 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1565923003
ISBN-10: 1565923006
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Designing with JavaScript is an excellent learn-by-example tutorial that helps you create dynamic content for your Web site. Each chapter tackles a single topic with a relaxed and conversational tone. The thoroughly explained examples in each chapter are blocked off in green for quick reference and included on the accompanying CD-ROM. Whiz-kid author Nick Heinle--author of the JavaScript Tip of the Week Web site and closet high school student--covers a lot of ground, from dynamic frames, forms, and cookies to the latest in both 4.0 browsers' versions of Dynamic HTML. One excellent chapter demonstrates how to easily include multiple versions of your scripts to work with versions of Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer, depending on which browser views the page.

This is one the best titles available for relative newcomers or Web designers who want to get waist-deep in scripting as quickly as possible. However, Heinle's examples will also be useful to anyone with an interest in JavaScript.


Designing with JavaScript is not a book aimed at software developers. It's essentially a collection of application notes, illustrating how to use snippets of JavaScript to control windows, frames, buttons, menus, layers, roll-over images, and cookies. The book makes no pretense to teach programming or OOP concepts. But programmers will find its bite-sized, easy-to-digest approach to JavaScript helpful, especially those who do not have a Java or C++ background.

JavaScript books abound, and this book stands up well against its chunkier competitors, such as McComb's JavaScript SourceBook or Goodman's JavaScript Bible. The most remarkable thing about Designing with JavaScript is that the author, Nick Heinle, is reportedly only 17 years old. I'm not sure whether this says more about Heinle's abilities, the leveling influence of the World Wide Web, or the editorial talents of the people at O'Reilly.

Designing with JavaScript includes a brief reference section on the browser object hierarchy and JavaScript syntax, but purchasers of this book would be well advised to buy David Flanagan's JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly, 1997) as a backup and reference. -- Ray Duncan, Dr. Dobb's Journal -- Dr. Dobb's Journal


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Product Details

  • Series: Web Review Studio Series
  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (September 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565923006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565923003
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,826,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
When you first get started with this book, it's fun to see how easily you can do the first few scripts and it's great to see your page displaying your own code.
After the first few examples, however, I found myself ready for a "real" resource on javascript. The author's tone sometimes seems to tend toward "you don't need to know this" and he therefore abruptly stops talking about something. Well, I DO need to know it if I'm going to apply the lessons to my own projects, and just because I don't have a lot of programming experience doesn't mean that I was having trouble keeping up.
The book is not so good as a reference, for that reason, because if you look up an operation, it will ONLY tell you how to do the specific project in the book. It won't give you an overview of that subject, nor will it explain why the project works.
Also, most of the projects in the book are outdated by now (no fault of the author's) so at this time you can not only find a simpler and more reliable way to acheive the same results, but the browsers no longer support his methods. A lot of the things he'll tell you about what browsers can and can't do are obsolete, and his guesses about what will be used in the future have turned out wrong. Plus, a lot of his methods were never safe to use on multiple browsers.
But the most important flaw I found in this book is the fact that there are typos and mistakes in the code examples. You can type in the code exactly as written in the book and it won't work. In some cases this could be because you're not using the browser he was thinking of, but in many cases you can turn the page and see the code written again, but it's got a small but significant change. You can compare both pages, looking for the differences and guessing which one is correct, but when you're just learning javascript it's a shame to have to debug someone else's code!
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Format: Paperback
If you've been writing HTML for a while and want to get into javascripting this is a good start. You don't have to learn the language of javascript, but instead learn by doing some projects. The projects are really what most people want javscript for anyway: using forms, frames, cookies, and image rollovers. It helps to have a little programming background already. The fact that the book is a little out of date actually helps because everything covered has already been implemented in both browsers by now. One problem I had was the included CD which has the examples come up in HTML, but it comes up as source text instead of a working example. It should have both (or just the working example since you can always view source on your own). Since the data on the CD is only about 3 or 4 MB it's not like they were short on space. If you will do a lot of javscripting you will probably need to buy a more complete reference eventually.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this book based on my admiration for the author's tutorials at his website, which can be extremely helpful for both professional and novices. Also, I've long been a fan of O' Reilly's books in general.
Unfortunately, the book itself fell way short of my expectations. Not only is it filled with inaccuracies and full-tilt errors (many of which, the last time I checked, had been missed by the online errata pages), but the author tends to use over-complicated techniques where much more simple ones are not only more appropriate, but are common knowledge thoughout the industry. While this book seems to appeal to novice JavaScript-ers, it truly does them a dis-service by providing them with such a "broken" knowledge of the language. This is also compounded by the author's "For Dummies" attitude of mostly providing bare-bones information, in effect saying "just copy what I'm telling you here...don't worry so much about WHY you need to do this and WHY it works" (or in many cases in this book: WHY it fails because of the errors!). It's one thing to want to provide the novice with the essentials of a language to get him/her up and going quickly, but it's another to do so at the sake of code accuracy and efficiency (both of which ultimately makes things EASIER for the novice...!).
As far as the so-called "easy, real-world" nature of this book others here have mentioned, I can say this as a professional in the industry: many times I've had to come in and correct errors to JavaScript code that came directly from this book. Just as many times I've had the people who's code I had to fix point to the Heinle book and say "Gee...but it seemed so simple in this book, but when I tried to use it myself it blew up.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be geared for someone who isn't interested in learning any programming skills at all. If you want to copy code out of a book and not have to do anything else then this is a great book for you.
But, I'll caution even the experienced programmers, not all of the code in this book works, and there are a lot of typos. The book should have been proof read much better, since most of the typos are in the code examples. All of the typos in the book makes learning javascript very confusing and frustrating. Especially when you copy the code letter for letter and it doesn't work due to a typo(that your friend has to find for you 2 days later).
I bought the book to compliment my other O'Reilly HTML books and to start to learn Javascript. And I have taken a lot of knowledge out of this book but I also found it very useful to have another reference book on hand to explain in further detail what different pieces of the code were doing.
The author has tried to make it as easy as possible by telling you that you don't need to know certain things about javascript, when in fact, you may just need that information. I think he could have included the information on one of the many sidebars ans let you and me, the readers, decide on what information we need.
All in all, I'll didn't read through every page of the book because I got lost in reading other resource books , which I needed to explain the parts of javascript that this book didn't explain. I still use the book for reference but only as a guide on how to layout the code for a certain project or to get ideas on what to do next.
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