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on January 22, 2014
Having read at least over 100 web/internet-related books over the last 15 years (cover-to-cover) I have to say that this book is unmatched in its category, as a complete reference, a definitive guide.

Yes, there are other books that perhaps have an easier reading style, but they don't cover the depth and breadth that David Flanagan has accomplished.

The author takes painful efforts to test and re-test browsers, operating systems, sub-versions, engines. He does this in order to provide accurate real-world documentation as to what is out there. He does not regurgitate nor does he re-phrase exiting documentation (I am astonished at how many books have been created that are a re-phrasing of existing documentation using talkative or other styles. Yes, they help those who are looking to learn -- but a complete reference? I don't think so.)

There are so many nuances to javascript programming and the author has done a brilliant job of passing those along. The examples are usually short and simple and to the point.

And of course, there are few areas that could use a little improvement. As an example, the opening to "Functions" is a little disheveled and could use a slower approach with smaller examples.

This book has no fluff. It's 1100 pages of pure, clean reference, pitfalls, strategies, and relative examples.
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on May 12, 2017
If you want to learn JavaScript from the ground up, and have a solid foundation, this is the book.

JavaScript: The Good Parts is ok, and Effective JavaScript is quite good too, but for a good foundation of JS, I'd still read this book first.
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on January 24, 2014
I am very familiar with O'Reilly books and have quite an extensive collection. So I have gotten used to the general writing style and layout of most of their books despite almost every book being written by a different author.

This book however, despite on the back stating "Prior Programming Experience Recommended", proceeds for most of the book explaining things that someone with prior experience should already know. Also, if you plan on reading this book in a linear fashion to learn JS and avoid missing something by skipping around in the book, you might get very frustrated like I did.

The author explains subjects and gives examples and then many times right afterwards says something similar to "This example contains code or functions that will be explained in a later section."

Also, many people will be buying this guide to do Client-Side JS...ie. in a browser on a webpage. This book doesn't get to that until almost halfway through the book...like 300 pages.

Despite these flaws, the book is EXTREMELY comprehensive. Certainly something to keep on your desk or readily handy if you program in JS often.
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on August 27, 2003
If you're looking for a complete reference on the JavaScript programming language, this is it. This book teaches the JavaScript language from the ground up and includes a very complete reference section.
On the other hand, if all you want is to write or understand JavaScript in its most common use - providing a little more dynamic content in web pages than can be done with html alone - the book may be overkill. For example, in addition to the useful sections on client side JavaScript - the JavaScript that you include in your web pages to be run in the client's browser - there are even larger sections that are really only useful for server side JavaScript - as if anyone uses JavaScript on the server side. As an experienced C, C++, and Java programmer, I had to wade through quite a bit of redundant material before I could effectively use the book to answer the simple questions I had.
In addition, some critical issues about using client side JavaScript are omitted from the book. For example, there is a chapter on security, but it only covers security issues applicable to the user - that with modern browsers, it's pretty safe for the user to allow JavaScripts to run. Issues pertaining to the security of the web site and the server it runs on - far more important to someone writing JavaScript code - are omitted. The book even provides a very unsafe example of allowing a client side script to calculate sales tax, which if used would make it easy for someone to tell your site he owed less tax than he really did, leaving the website owner holding the bag. It would have been better to include these server security issues and omit the client security issues.
Still, this book will let you find the answers to your questions, even if it does take longer than it seems like it should.
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on October 25, 2013
I've had an edition of the "rhino book" within reach since 1997. In fact, it's the only javascript book I've kept and continue to reference. It's a must-have for any web developer and these days those that are using javascript off the browser as well. It covers pretty much everything you could need to know and then some. Some reviews had made complaints about it covering too much, for instance indicating things that don't work in older browsers or showing possible polyfills for missing es5 functionality. It's true that it provides a lot of depth that some may find superfluous, but personally I find this valuable as it gives me greater insights into the functioning of the language for making more informed decisions and believe it or not there are still some large client's out there that can't seem to upgrade past IE7 (ehem, you know who you are!). There are plenty of other books out there that will happily serve those wanting a concise jump-start but one will keep coming back to this book over and over.
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on April 29, 2003
If you can't learn JavaScript with this book you may as well give it up. I have an extensive library of programming books covering a variety of languages and this is easily the best I have ever seen. If you are an inexperienced programmer trying to learn JavaScript this is THE book. If you are experienced and want more depth of understanding, this is your book.
As each new concept is introduced, the usual questions which occur to any programmer are answered clearly and concisely. Browser specific issues are addressed. Material is organized well so you can always find what you need. Nuances of the different Document Object Models are covered. This volume is uniquely qualified to be both a reference and a text book.
My profession requires that I read extensively, but I almost never write a review. I am compelled to make an exception in this case. This book is so good it simply must receive it's due.
"JavaScript: The Definitive Guide" should be required reading for anyone aspiring to write a book on any language. This is the standard by which all other books on the subject could be judged. Four adjetives say it all; readable, clear, accurate and thorough. By all means buy it. It's the best on the planet.
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VINE VOICEon July 27, 2011
This book has delivered exactly what I was hoping for, an in-depth look into modern day JavaScript.

I rarely use JavaScript nowadays in my day to day job. I have been lucky to avoid the messy browser applications it is usually a part of the past few years. That was my primary reason for buying the book. Although I may not like it, JavaScript is here to stay, and I need to keep current with it.

The book is broken into 4 parts. Core JavaScript, Client-Side JavaScript, Core JavaScript Reference, and Client-Side JavaScript Reference.

The book has chapters on Lexical Structure, Expressions and Operators, Statements, Objects, Arrays, Functions, Classes and Modules, Pattern Matching with Regular Expressions, JavaScript Subsets and Extensions, Server-Side JavaScript, JavaScript in Web Browsers, The Window Object, Scripting Documents, Scripting CSS, Handling Events, Scripted HTTP, The jQuery Library, Client-Side Storage, Scripted Media and Graphics, HTML5 APIs, and then continues on with the Core JavaScript Reference and the Client-Side JavaScript Reference.

The downloadable code is very well organized and usable. All the code in the book, and there is a ton of it, is available.

The book is very well written and makes for a really good read as well as a great reference. It is in depth and very thorough.

All in all I think this a great book. It will be on my desk for the next few years until I need to replace it with the 8th or 9th version.

If you are a web developer, you need this book by your side.
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on August 31, 2014
If information is what you want, this book has it. Be forewarned that before starting this book, one should learn the basics of computer programming. There are great free and non-free resources online (I used lynda.com). I will also say that if you are looking for a solid understanding of javascript, you should hold off learning Jquery until you understand how plain old javascript works. This really is "definitive", but one really has to be patient reading it since sentences can be so dense with information. You'll likely be reading sentences more than once, even looking up words before you grasp what is being said.

If you're already somewhat experienced in client-side programming, this book dissects information down to a fine level to explain the nitty gritty of Javascript.
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on November 21, 2012
I read a review (somewhere) that said that this was the ONLY book that was complete. I believe it. I have 50 years in the IT business; do not try to use this as a :First Introduction(!) to JavaScript." You will need this book, just not as the FIRST book. Make no mistake, JavaScript (JS) is NOT a simple language. It is not, realistically a stand-alone tool: it requires Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and using it without jQuery, or a similar package, is plane stupid. (If you don't start out stupid, you will end up that way.)

Why do you need this book? JS usually provides the programmer with several (!!) syntactical constructions that perform the same action. They vary from place to place. If your statement 'looks OK' but won't run; this book is where you go to find out why, or at least what to do.

Get the .pdf (or other 'ebook' format) version in addition to the book. The book is big, and if you need something quickly it is a bit of a pain to search through.
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on June 3, 2009
Note: My review is based on the 5th edition.

If you want to know how JavaScript really works, this is *the* book for exactly that. Understanding the core concepts of the language, such as the prototypical OO model, closures, functions as data, etc. will help you go far if JavaScript is something you use on daily basis.

While there are numerous JavaScript libraries in existence today (jQuery, MochiKit, Dojo, prototype, YUI, etc.) that simplify a lot of what needs to get done client-side, understanding the language itself is still necessary for those times when the abstractions that the libraries provide leak/fail or don't provide some feature you want.

If you are frustrated by JavaScript, you only need to spend the time educating yourself about how it really works. Once you do, and with some experience, you will reach that state of Nirvana that allows you to work easily in this language.

Note: This book is not a technique book - i.e. it will not really teach you any cool tricks, per se, so much as give you an undiluted understanding of the core features of the language. If you want tips/tricks/technique and already know JavaScript, you might do well to check out John Resig's APress book on JavaScript: Pro JavaScript Techniques
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