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JavaScript: Visual QuickStart Guide (8th Edition) Paperback – Jul 27 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 8 edition (July 27 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321772970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321772978
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 2.7 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #265,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9fdf98b8) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0659d14) out of 5 stars Not quite what I expected Dec 26 2011
By Sergiu Luca - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book hoping to get a gentle introduction to the ubiquitous programming language, Javascript. Being at the 8th edition, it seemed that this book has stood the test of time and were a good choice for an aspiring web developer with no technical background. Actually, I had a bad feeling about this book, when after 5 pages I read the following advice from the authors: "Don't type that code[...] It was tough enough for us to do all the that typing, and there's no reason you should have to repeat that work." Compare this, with the recommandation of another author, Larry Ullman: "I strongly encourage you to type the scripts yourself in order to become more familiar with the structure and syntax of PHP".

The main reason I took a dislike to this book is because it's a tutorial-based text with insufficient explanatory details for understanding the example script code. The examples are unnecessary difficult to comprehend for a beginner because the theory behind the topics being presented, is meager. I was constantly refering to other resources in order to understand the logic behind the code scripts. I'll present an example of this, so you can judge if my complain is justified or not:

Chapter 9, Cookies in JS, says that a cookie is a text string with the following format: cookieName=cookieValue;expires=expirationDateGMT;path=URLpath;domain=siteDomain. Then, a function, setCookie(), is set to construct a cookie, and among other lines, it contains the line: document.cookie = "userName=" + username + ";expires=" + expireDate.toGMTString();
After this, the authors write a function that reads and displays the cookies, with the following lines:

var thisCookie = document.cookie.split(";");
for (var i=0; i<thisCookie.length; i++) {
outMsg += "Cookie name " + thisCookie[i].split("=")[0];
outMsg += "Cookie value " + thisCookie[i].split("=")[1];

For a cookie set, for example, to "ppkcookie1=testcookie; expires=Thu, 2 Aug 2012 20:47:11 UTC", I was wondering for many minutes why the code would display only "Cookie name ppkcookie1 Cookie value testcookie", and would not the display the part with the expiration date that was a part of the original string.
Luckily, I found the explanation for this apparently unexplainable behaviour of this string, in a site about JS: "Cookies can be created, read and erased by JavaScript. They are accessible through the property document.cookie. Though you can treat document.cookie as if it's a string, it isn't really, and you have only access to the name-value pairs". If this information was available in the text, I would have understood at first hand, why only the name-value pairs were accessable from the document.cookie.
In conclusion, will one learn some JS by reading this book? This book will teach you some JS, but it is necessary to consult other sources in order to keep up with the code examples: unfortunately all the authors do, is tell you what to do, instead teaching the language.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa065a140) out of 5 stars A Great primer for Javascript Jan. 24 2012
By Christopher M. Goodman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dori and Tom's primer on Javascript has continued to a great starting point for learning web programming.
It has evolved with progressive editions, including sections on JQuery, AJAX and the DOM.
It begins with usual sections covering images, forms and frames (which are being deprecated in CSS3).
Then the authors move on to event handling, object-oriented JS using the DOM (Document Object Model).
Cookie handling is described as well. Then they address dynamic web pages including AJAX.
Afterward, they cover JS toolkits, of which there are many, including Dojo, JQuery, etc.
JQuery is covered in more detail, which is of particular importance for HTML5 web programmers.

For those individuals, who was more detail about the thoughts behind a given task, it is always worthwhile to have David Flanagan's Javascript: The Definitive Guide as a reference, but I find the Visual Guide series much easier for people just coming to Javascript. As it is example driven, one acquires a core set of examples to use. I find Dori and Tom's book flows better than the Head First Javascript book by Michael Morrison, which lacks any significant coverage of JQuery and HTML5 relevant material.

Thanks again to the dynamic duo - Dori Smith and Tom Negrino!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa065a194) out of 5 stars Poorly presented Jan. 17 2013
By Bifesalitch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I did learn a few things from this book.

That said, I am completely new to Javascript and programming. I found this book to be poorly done throughout. The information presented is often not explained clearly, and the examples are not well done. I had to use this for a college class and by the end, even my professor was unhappy with the book.

When the code is being "explained", it is often unclear exactly what the author is referring to, and in some cases there is no explanation beyond a line or two. The authors present new Javascript functions inside the code itself, without giving the reader any idea about how they are supposed to work (I spent a good deal of my time researching how individual functions were supposed to work so I could follow along).

I could see this being an ok purchase for someone with an intermediate skill in Javascript, or maybe someone coming from another language where you have a better understanding of commonly used functions. If you are completely new to programming, or Javascript, or if you want a good book on Javascript, I would look elsewhere.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa065a260) out of 5 stars Good book for beginning programmer May 8 2013
By Mark Mattson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
NOTE: This review was originally published in the Computer Users of Erie newsletter, May 2013 issue. It is authored by our member Don Grim.

JavaScript allows you to add code to a website to enhance web pages. It should not be confused as Java, which is a programming language by Sun Microsystems. Lately, Java has had virus attach issues. JavaScript does not have that issue and it is code you can write for free (no cost other than time and enthusiasm)! Since JavaScript is not related to Java, you may ask why it has "java" in the name. JavaScript was originally named LiveScript under the Netscape browser. It was ironically renamed JavaScript because of Java's early popularity. If they had known the future, they may not have renamed it. If it feels more comfortable, you can always call it LiveScript!

You can find JavaScript codes on the Internet either by searching for websites showing code or looking at the code on a website that is running JavaScript (View, Source, on Internet Explorer browser). You can use other people's code as long as they give permission. When I added JavaScript to show a scrolling message at the bar at the bottom of my web page ([...] the code was revealed for free use. When I added a Tetris game to my web page ([...] the code could be used as long as the code continued to show the author's permission to use it.

I was able to edit the code but I was limited in knowledge on what I could change. For example, on the Tetris code, I only changed the messages for when you reached new levels. I wanted to know more about JavaScript for editing and creating. So, I read the "JavaScript Visual QuickStart Guide", in its eighth edition (copyright 2012), by Tom Negrino and Dori Smith (published by Peachpit Press). It helped me accomplish that goal so I could show a countdown page for 6/4/13 at 3:16 PM, which is when my wife and I will be married exactly one billion seconds ([...]

The book is described as "painless", allowing anyone to write script, not just geeks. I have experience with the BASIC programming language though I am less familiar with object based code. So, the book was overwhelming to me at first, especially Chapter 1, with descriptions like objects, properties, methods, events, operators, assignments, etc. However, the good news is you can go right past Chapter 1 (save it for reference and getting reacquainted) and dig in to the JavaScript examples from Chapter 2 through Chapter 17! There is where you pick it up. You can see the various options and ideas, then the book explains how the code works in each section of each JavaScript code example.

You can download all the examples for free at [...] (at the "Download The Scripts" link at the top). Then double click any of the files with an html extension (script01.html and so forth) to see them running. Therefore, the code is there for you and you don't have to type the code! It allows you to see all the possibilities, before getting the book! Each example has a heading at the top that describes what is happening. If you want to know more of what the examples are doing, or how the sections of code are working, you need to read the book at that point.

The examples will probably allow you to see possibilities that you did not know about earlier. I was glad to learn that JavaScript can create a cycling banner which could be done instead of creating an animated gif at times, because you can use higher quality picture files instead of gif image files.

In Chapter 9, I created my first cookie on a computer and I didn't even have to bake! I ran script01.html and it asked me to enter my name. I entered my clown name of "Dinky Gurglewitz". When I ran script02.html, a message was on the screen of "Hello, Dinky Gurglewitz". Look out, the Big Brother computer is watching me! Cookies can feel like an invasion of privacy though they can be helpful such as the convenience of your own computer remembering (by cookie), your login password so you don't have to enter it or remember it each time. Speaking of "Dinky", Chapter 12 have a silly name generator and one of the names is "Dinky", so I guess it is appropriate as a clown name!

There is an example of a countdown in Chapter 11 (script06.html). That helped me learn more about setting my Billionth Anniversary countdown ([...]) on the web.

There are a lot of examples. I'll mention some, chapter by chapter, that especially attracted my attention. I like how you can prompt a web visitor in Chapter 2. You can even ask them a question with a prompt like "Are you sure you want to do that" and then it will give a response like "You said: Get out of here" (script06.html). The Famous Quotes example gives a unique way to use buttons as menu items in Chapter 2 (script09.html). Chapter 3 has all sorts of options on a Bingo card that could give you ideas for various presentations. Chapter 4 has nice rollover options (where something happens when your mouse moves over an area). I like the Leonardo's Inventions (script06.html). I like how a link to a picture can be a pop up window so you can more easily get back to the main page, shown in Chapter 5 (script08.html). I like the examples in Chapter 6 that allow the filling out of forms, including drop down options. I like the ability to sort a list of names and capitalize them right on the web in Chapter 7 (script05.html). I like the eyes that follow your mouse pointer in Chapter 8 (script06.html). I like the slideshow option that runs with arrow keys in Chapter 8 (script10.html). I like how you can collect cookie names and values (like number of visits) in Chapter 9.

Continuing with some comments by chapter, I like that you can manage form data in Chapter 10. I like how you can pull today's date and time to a web page in Chapter 11. I used similar JavaScript code for the bottom of my church's website ([...]) which says "What Day is it? The day of salvation! (2 Corinthians 6:2)" and then it shows today's date along with the day of the week (like Monday). There is a nice assortment of menu options in Chapter 12 and I like how you can have the visitor change the font on your website (script07.html). Chapter 13 has nice examples of a newer technology (started in 2005) called Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) which uses a combination of techniques, which Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Google Maps use, to name a few. Chapter 14 has expanded techniques where I especially like the mouse rollover and change example (script04.html). Chapters 15 and 16 show various possibilities using Jquery. I especially like the Beatles Discography (Chapter 15, script05.html) which allows you to click the headings at the top to sort by Album, Year, and Label. There is something comforting and nostalgic about that! Last but not least, Chapter 17 shows something called bookmarklets (I guess you could almost call them favorets for Internet Explorer). You can combine various lines of JavaScript code as one line. You can include that as a one line bookmark so that you can run JavaScript as a quickly accessible bookmark! There are examples of pulling up a dictionary, pulling up a calculator, changing attributes, etc.

I was hoping the book would explain cgi more. It can help with saving information for JavaScript apps or games, like holding the high scores of various game players. They did mention cgi a little in the forms storage section. They also gave additional cgi reading options as well as checking with the web host provider about cgi. The Windows examples had a file called ".DS_Store". That was confusing to me until I googled it and found it was a Mac file which, perhaps, the authors meant to include with the Macintosh example files.

The book finishes with four nice Appendix sections for references, including code information and even a genealogy about code. The book has a list price of $34.99. I recently saw it listed for $21.18 at amazon.com. Computer Users of Erie (CUE) members have a 35% discount for this book, because it is a Peachpit book.

Finally, feel free to look at their free examples ([...]) to get a better idea what JavaScript can do and consider JavaScript coding for your future web page enhancements.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa065a728) out of 5 stars Skip, but read if you have no clue about the subject. Aug. 3 2015
By delturge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The cover is all marketing. This book lacks foundation. This is what I call a trashy, adult JavaScript book. Generally speaking, the authors seem to think, by evidence of their approach, that the thought process and theory behind solving various problems is not essential. The authors' monkey see, monkey do, hold my hand through tedious code (which works, and so must be clever?) does not speak to me as someone who can solve his own programming problems without poorly written examples. For example, in chapter six, the author uses document.getElementsByTagName("*"); to gather up all node elements on a page, when all that is required are the elements inside the form. This can be accomplished with a pre-established array of ids, but the authors seem to think that their solution makes their algorithm more general. Also, though legal in JavaScript, there are multiple instances where variable scoping (or the lack there of in JavaScript) is abused. You'll start reading this book with the hope that your in good hands. Don't cheat yourself. Go for JavaScript: The Definitive Guide instead. You'll thank me later.