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ppk on JavaScript [Paperback]

Peter-Paul Koch
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 26 2006 0321423305 978-0321423306 1

Whether you're an old-school scripter who needs to modernize your JavaScripting skills or a standards-aware Web developer who needs best practices and code examples, you'll welcome this guide from a JavaScript master.

Other JavaScript books use example scripts that have little bearing on real-world Web development and are useful only in the chapter at hand. In contrast, Peter-Paul Koch's book uses eight real-world scripts he created for real-world clients in order to earn real-world money. That means the scripts are guaranteed to do something useful (and sellable!) that enhances the usability of the page they're used on.

The book's example scripts include one that sorts a data table according to the user's search queries, a form validation script, a script that shows form fields only when the user needs them, a drop-down menu, and a data retrieval script that uses simple Ajax and shows the data in an animation.

After an overview of JavaScript's purpose, Peter-Paul provides theoretical chapters on the context (jobs for JavaScript, CSS vs. JavaScript), the browsers (debugging, the arcana of the browser string), and script preparation. Then follow practical chapters on Core, BOM, Events, DOM, CSS Modification, and Data Retrieval, all of which are explained through a combination of theoretical instruction and the taking apart of the relevant sections of the example scripts.

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"ppk on JavaScript is a well-written and cleanly structured walk through useful JavaScript examples. It is extremely practical, and goes right to the core of what a web programmer needs to know about JavaScript to build real sites, right now.

In essence, it reminds me of how I learned to work on the web in the first place: careful examination of other people’s work. At its best, this book is a clearly annotated view source of Koch’s projects. It’s a comprehensive exploration of Koch’s thoughts about the problems he’s run into (problems that you’ll run into, too), how he approached them, and ultimately how he’s solved them."  -- Mike West, Managing Editor, Digital Web Magazine

About the Author

Peter-Paul Koch is an internationally recognized JavaScript expert whose Web site www.quirksmode.org is a must-go for all beginning and advanced JavaScript programmers. In addition to about 150 pages of JavaScript and CSS information, it contains the W3C DOM Compatibility Tables, currently the best resource on DOM browser compatibility problems. Peter-Paul is a member of the Web Standards Project DOM Scripting Task Force and has written its JavaScript Manifesto.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ppk on JavaScript Feb. 2 2011
Amazing book. Highly recommend to read, especially for beginners. If I'd had this book some 5-10 years ago, I would have learnt to design much more professionally. Deep respect to the author.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fills a void Oct. 30 2006
By Jeanne Boyarsky - Published on Amazon.com
"ppk on JavaScript" fills an interesting void with the focus of today's JavaScript books. Most books either focus on "JavaScript in 21 Days", "JavaScript - Complete Reference" or "AJAX". This book covers techniques for creating clean and accessible JavaScript functionality.

The book's stated audience is someone who knows at least some JavaScript - a beginning level or up. Basically, you should feel comfortable reading and understanding code. I think the book might be a little overwhelming for a beginner to understand. A beginner could read it twice - once right away and once after reading another JavaScript book.

The author views JavaScript as a technique to add usability. He shows how to create "unobtrusive" JavaScript. In other words, the JavaScript stays out of the HTML page and the page works without JavaScript, albeit with less functionality.

Eight case studies (real life examples) are used throughout the book. The author points out why he selected certain techniques. He also notes bugs and where he would have done things differently. I particularly liked the emphasis on separation of concerns.

Keyboard users are also discussed from an accessibility point of view in several chapters. In other chapters, only users without JavaScript enabled were discussed. I would have liked a little more consistency with how accessibility was treated.

Overall, the book was very good. The tips were useful and I enjoyed the emphasis on design. And AJAX is discussed from the point of view of how it was used before it was called AJAX.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great JavaScript book by PPK! Oct. 12 2006
By Frank Stepanski - Published on Amazon.com
It's funny, from looking at the title of the book, "PPK on JavaScript", you would never know it is one of the most interesting and informative JavaScript books on the market. PPK - Peter-Paul Koch is a well-known JavaScript and web developer from the Netherlands. His website [...] has pretty much been the defacto standard resource for all browser and JavaScript issues for the past few years. If there was something you wanted to know about JavaScript or some browser bug or issue you would go to his website or email him. He probably is not known unless you read some of the well-known development blog sites. He does not do public speaking at web conferences (unlike Jeremy Keith), but maybe after this book he will. And yes, most people it seems just call him PPK, not Peter so I guess that is one of the reason of the book title.

Anyways, on to the book review...Since I have most of the latest JavaScript books that have been published the past year, I was hoping this would be a little different, which it was. The skill level for this book is probably leaning towards the intermediate side since many of the code-snippets that PPK talks about use DOM syntax. Though that is not to say that if you're a beginner you shouldn't buy this book, but you will need to fast-forward to the middle of the book (Chapter 5), which he gives a great background of the Core concepts of the JavaScript language.

So basically the book is split into 3 sections (or how I see them separated). The first 4 chapters goes into high-level topics that are great for the basic DOM scripting who knows the basics of using the DOM but needs more instruction with usability, accessibility, standards and how the different layers (structure, content and presentation) work. These 4 chapters are the best in my opinion because most of these topics would require you to search endless articles on the web to find them. Apart from a few pages in the 5th edition of JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, I have not seen this in any other book. Chapter 5: The Core; covers all basics of the language to get anybody up to speed or use as a reference. The rest of the book covers topics such as the BOM (Browser Object Model), Events, DOM (Document Object Model), and CSS modification. The included source examples are the real gem of the book since it is real JavaScript applications that were used in real clients, not just little code examples that cannot be used in the real environment.

So if you need another JavaScript book and not sure what to get, or you have bought Jeremy Keith's excellent book (DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript) and want to learn more about the DOM and accessibility or you are a newbie and want to learn the latest JavaScript standards and practices from a real developer, then this is the book for you. Go out and get it now!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a beginner's book March 26 2008
By Kevin Cruz - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book because I was familiar with the author and his website, quirksmode. I figured this guy was a master of JavaScript and a book written from him would be a solid resource to learn from.

Well, I was half-right. Early on in the book he presents a script and says that you should know what it does before reading his book. Well, I knew what it was, but it's not the truth. This book is all about technique and execution. He shows innovative and great ways to implement code, but you have to know how to write javascript first. If you're not an experienced programmer or are unfamiliar with javascript, you may want to consider this book...after you've gotten a proven beginner's manual and gone through that first. Head First Javascript or Javascript in 21 days are good examples.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ppk on JavaScript Dec 31 2006
By Eric Jain - Published on Amazon.com
Found a lot of interesting bits and pieces in this book that complement or reference the author's excellent [...] web site. Wouldn't recommend this book as a general tutorial or reference, but for filling gaps with important but little known facts. The author puts a lot of emphasis on doing things "the right way", but he always remains pragmatic (e.g. by not refusing to use the "innerHTML" property).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solidify your javascript foundation Aug. 28 2007
By Marius S. Seritan - Published on Amazon.com
Javascript has been around for a while but it is still going places. ppk on Javascript sorts through all the fluff to deliver rock solid information. The author is using a very clear language to express his deep experience in this field.

Javascript is moving fast and the book does not cover some of the recent advances like the rise of Ajax, ActionScript, Tamarin. It is still a must read for any serious (javascript) programmer.
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