Customer Reviews: JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook
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on May 15, 2003
Danny Goodman is the author of "JavaScript Bible", probably the most popular book on JavaScript as it went through 5 editions, the last one being the Gold edition published in 2001. I have used JavaScript Bible extensively and intensively, often longing for a cross-index of recipes for solving problems. This new book by the author addresses that need in the form of a cookbook, one carefully written and eminently readable. Not only does he give clear recipes, he also discusses some history and background, lists which browser version is required, both for Netscape and Internet Explorer, then weighs the pros and cons of different approaches.
The recipes range from the mundane, like opening a window, to the more esoteric for positioning page elements or creating dynamic contents. Even if one does not plan to use a recipe, it is still enlightening to see how JavaScript or some feature of it is brought to bear on solving a particular problem. Most cookbooks assume you already know the subject quite well, then launch on intricate discussions often discouraging to neophytes. Here, the way Danny Goodman writes, the clarity of his style, and the completeness of his coverage, make this book well suited to every reader level. If your JavaScript knowledge is only nascent, you will be enlightened with this book. If you are a JavaScript "expert", be surprised that you will still learn many new techniques.
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on March 29, 2005
I am an ASP.NET developer, and I have never been too crazy about JavaScript. It is much too slow to develop, it is finicky to debug, and maintenance is just ridiculous.

That is exactly why I love this book. It shows me exactly what I need to know to add some VERY sophisticated client-side pizzazz to my applications. Unlike most programming books, you don't have to read half the book to understand the advanced concepts. Each "recipe" has a more-than-adequate supporting explanation.

For the past FOUR YEARS, I have consulted this book above all other JavaScript references. And now with ASP.NET AJAX released, it is more helpful than ever...easily giving you the edge over other .NET developers that live in a "code-behind-only" world. It is well worth the price.
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on November 17, 2005
In the computer world, cookbook / tips / "hack" style books are a funny thing. Unlike food cookbooks you purchase when you have a specific culinary goal, scripting cookbooks are typically bought without much knowledge of the information that they are going to present to you. This can be doubly so when you are purchasing from an online vendor that has not made the table of contents (TOC) available. At the time I write this, has not. O'Reilly's does, and I encourage you to visit this title's TOC page on O'Reilly's web site first before you purchase.

For what this book covers, it is covered very well. The included scripting projects are indeed useful, efficiently written, presented in a user friendly manner, and as a whole contain very few errors. Each script example is presented by introducing a web design problem, followed by a solution discussion, a working script, and a follow-up if needed. None of the code examples in the book are included, but again, O'Reilly's web site for this book has the files available for download.

This is not a stand-alone title, it is not for JavaScript beginners, and it is not a cookbook that provides generic solutions. This is a great companion book to the author's other book, "Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference" (ISBN 1565924940) and David Flanagan's title "JavaScript: The Definitive Guide" (ISBN 0596000480). Web developers looking to better utilize HTML and JavaScript will find (or already know) that these two mentioned books are invaluable. As for this cookbook, if you see something in the TOC that interests you, make the purchase and you certainly wont regret it. But if you don't, feel comfortable skipping it.
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[Updated review of the 2nd edition - 05/15/2008]

Even after programming for all these years, I *still* like to see examples of a new (or old) technique before I try and code it. That's why I like JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook by Danny Goodman.

From simple JavaScript statements to complex web page parsing, Goodman shows you working code while also explaining how it works.

Table of Contents:

1. Strings
2. Numbers and Dates
3. Arrays and Objects
4. Variables, Functions, and Flow Control
5. Browser Feature Detection
6. Managing Browser Windows
7. Managing Multiple Frames
8. Dynamic Forms
9. Managing Events
10. Page Navigation Techniques
11. Managing Style Sheets
12. Visual Effects for Stationary Content
13. Positioning HTML Elements
14. Creating Dynamic Content
15. Dynamic Content Applications

Appendix A: Keyboard Event Character Values
Appendix B: Keyboard Key Code Values
Appendix C: ECMAScript Reserved Keywords

Since JavaScript is not a language I use on a daily basis (unlike LotusScript where I live and breathe), my mind doesn't automatically start writing code when someone asks for a feature in one of my Domino Web apps. In fact, I'm usually in a position of not knowing what I don't know. It's like trying to look up a word in the dictionary when you don't know how to spell it; it makes it really difficult.

This is where I value Goodman's cookbook approach to JavaScript. Rather than focus on all the methods and properties of a JavaScript object, he lists things by activity, such as converting between Unicode values and String characters or auto-tabbing for fixed-length text boxes. You find the "recipe" that most closely resembles what you need to do. Within the recipe, you'll find a short description of the problem, followed by the solution (with code), a discussion of the answer, and any cross-references to other recipes that are similar in nature. The discussion is valuable, as it covers the pros and cons of the approach, as well as alternative techniques that would also be of interest.

The range of topics will satisfy both JavaScript newbies as well as the veterans. You could be looking for examples of simple field validation code. It's not easy if you've never done it before. If you're more into parsing XML files to build a dynamic page or using web services within JavaScript, the latter chapters will give you what you need. And regardless of what level you're at, periodic perusal of the Table of Contents can trigger ideas that may solve that vexing issue you ran across just the other day.

Don't expect this book to be a comprehensive tutorial or reference on JavaScript; it isn't, nor was it meant to be. But if you're looking for commentary on features and working code, this is the perfect choice. The JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook has a guarded position on my bookshelf at work.
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on September 27, 2003
The JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook is about using javascript and css to create dynamic user interfaces for your web application. Each "recipe" starts with a statement of the problem. This is followed by the solution, which includes the code to make it run. After the solution section, a discussion
section follows. The discussion section includes explanations of why the code works and various alternatives.
The book is broken up into chapters and each chapter consists of recipes that relate to the main topic of the chapter. For every chapter, there is an introduction, which is a very good summary of the DHTML topic. Just reading the chapter introductions would give a high level overview of DHTML.
The recipes are practical solutions for problems that a developer could actually encounter. There are not flashy recipes that are useless. The recipes consist of simple solutions to complex solutions to application problems. The book could be used as a reference to solve a particular problem that you have or the book could be read, especially the discussion sections, to understand how to solve problems with DHTML. The only drawback to using the code for a recipe is that some recipe built on top on other recipes and you need to find the previous recipe.
In summary, I would recommend this book for any client-side web developer.
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on September 24, 2003
Not only does Danny Goodman know what he's talking about, he's also a great writer. I've read books where the author may know what the heck he/she's talking about, but can't write worth a damn. Or writes well but doesn't know anything, or none of the above (let's face it - there are many authors like that).
Not Danny. He knows his stuff inside and out, and his knowledge is only surpassed by his ability to write. This is probably the best book I've read on a subject that has always been a thorn in my side (can't do without it; pain to do with it). In fact, this is probably one of the best technical books I've read. And I have a shelf full of O'Reilly books, Oracle Press, MS Press, etc.
Thanks to this book, I'm using Javascript for many things I previously did with server side scripting. I can't tell you how many times I had obscure questions about such and such only to have it answered on one of the pages in this book. Not only did the book answer my rather obscure questions completely, but I was able to find the answer quickly because it's damn well organized.
And his recipes are not only great as reference but as tutorials as well. This book is a keeper. Kudos to Danny. Hope he makes a million bucks with this book!
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on April 22, 2004
I've had the book two days and it has paid for itself a couple times over already. I wish I'd had it about two weeks earlier.
If you 1) already know a programming language such as C (or really, any procedural language for that matter), 2) are new to Javascript and 3) need to do some web programming with Javascript, this book is great. Before I bought it, I tried to figure out some of the stuff myself
(ie common Javascript problems: 'data validation in a textbox in a form','setting the focus','opening a new window','jumping back to the parent window',etc)
by using my Javascript language reference book and looking up the problem on the web. I'd usually find a solution, but if I would have had this book at the time I could have just looked it up and saved myself a load of time.
I'd almost recommend it before a Javascript reference (but you'll eventually need one of those anyway).
So, it will come in the most handy for someone relatively new to Javascript who needs to get up to speed quickly on common Javascript tasks, but will also remain useful even to an expert as a reference book of often needed useful code snippets.
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on September 15, 2005
If you've got a decent amount of programming experience in C/C++/Java or something similar and need to be productive quickly in JavaScript, this is the book for you. That was my situation and within two or three days of getting this book I was producing some fairly respectable JavaScript.

The book covers a lot of ground from the most basic building blocks of funcionality (data types, field validations) to managing windows, frames, and dynamic forms to some nice dynamic effects. This book will save you hours of time and quickly get you up to speed on many useful JavaScript techniques and idioms.
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on September 5, 2003
I've been doing web development almost 7 days a week for the last five years. This book is a delight and would have saved me countless hours if it had been available sooner.
Straightforward, clean, concise, thorough, basically what everone else is saying. The parts of the book with slightly deeper javascript programming will be best appreciated by those who have a background in at least one programming/scripting language; they are clearly explained and excellent but sometimes idiomatic in their brevity.
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on July 17, 2003
On several occasions I have needed a quick answer to a common development problem... how to bring a window into the foreground; detect the browser type; block double-clicks (so that forms aren't submitted multiple times by accident); etc. This book has answers to all of these questions and more.
In addition, the book has code and explanations for various kinds of DHTML solutions. I have already used the code in this book on two separate projects, saving me several hours of development time and effort. The code samples are excellent and easy to configure, and Danny's explanations are clear and concise. Don't reinvent the wheel, just plugin these code samples and get on with your project. If you need the code to work slightly differently (as I've needed on several occasions), no worries! The code samples are concise and readable, so it's relatively easy to customize the code for your needs.
This book is essential for any true JavaScript developer. It's made a welcome addition to my professional library.
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