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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 10, 2004
If you can only afford to get one book to help you with JavaScript coding, this would be the one to consider...
This book is a good mixture between raw reference material (Parts 3 - 6) and explanatory material to tell you how it all works together (Parts 1 - 2). While I don't think I'd want to try and learn JavaScript from scratch using this book, I'd definitely want it once I had learned how to do the basics. If you are learning JavaScript for the first time, perhaps O'Reilly's book Designing With JavaScript might be a good introduction into the topic.
Parts 1 and 2, while they look similar, present a complete look at JavaScript as used in web browsers. Part 1 tells you the how the language works, while part 2 tells you how it works within the framework of the web browser. Unless you understand how to manipulate the object model of the browser, you won't be able to harness the full value and power the JavaScript language in your web pages.
The reference sections of the book will quickly become bookmarked and dog-eared as you move forward. For each reference item, you have the method/property, a brief one line description, the earliest language level where it is first supported, whether it is deprecated or not, a synopsis of the syntax, the arguments to the method, a description of the method/property, an example (if applicable), any known bugs in the method/property, and a reference to any similar methods/properties that may relate to the item. Needless to say, a VERY complete set of information that you will come to rely on.
For a Notes/Domino developer, you will need a reference manual such as this. None of the Lotus/IBM documentation will cover the full depth of the language. This book will serve you well as you implement web applications with Domino. I would also suggest a book called Domino 5 Web Programming With XML, Java, and JavaScript by Randall Tamura. It will fill in some of the gaps as to how the DOM is implemented by Domino.
There's a reason why this book is in the fourth edition spanning 1996 through 2002. It gives you all the information you need to be effective with JavaScript. I highly recommend it.
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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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on February 6, 2003
Usually putting a subtitle such as "The Definitive Guide" on a book is a setup for a joke, but Flanagan's "JavaScript" neatly avoids this trap by being truly definitive. JavaScript should be familiar as the implementation of ECMAScript found on most web browsers. I actually picked the book up when I needed to embed ECMAScript into a speech recognition grammar formalism for work, a rather daunting task for someone who'd never read a line of JavaScript. JavaScript is designed for embedding; unlike Perl, Python or Tcl, it's completely isolated from the operating system.
The ECMAScript specification is dense, but more readable than the specs from the W3C. "ECMA" used to be an acronym for the European Computer Manufacturers Association; now it's just a name for yet another standards body. Flanagan's book is the perfect bridge for a programmer who knows nothing to the spec.
Flanagan assumes a reader who is an experienced programmer; this is not JavaScript for novices. Basically, this is the Kernighan and Ritchie of JavaScript. As such, the book is classically organized, taking the reader from syntax and control through the object model. Most usefully, Flanagan clearly describes how the JavaScript object model works, which is no mean feat given the double inheritance chain along with the overloading of members, methods and constructors.
For those who prefer source code, Mozilla distributes their reference JavaScript implementations: the Rhino implementation in Java, and the SpiderMonkey implementation in C. The code is quite well organized and the Mozilla message boards are closely monitored by the coders. You'll also find the latest information on known bugs through their Bugzilla trackers.
Note: Because I was using JavaScript for an embedded application, I thoroughly studied the first half of the book, but never even cracked the DOM sections in the back, which describe JavaScript's integration with web browsers.
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on January 22, 2003
I can't imagine any serious Javascript developer not having this book in his or her collection. It is the most complete reference I have seen on Javascript, and one of the most professionally written books period.
Where I work, the book is near ubiquitous among our web developers and has proven to be a valuable desk-side resource. I recently bought the 4th edition, after some of my coworkers commented on how worn my 3rd edition had become. No surprise, really, considering that I had to share the 3rd edition among six developers, all of whom were learning Javascript for the first time. I'm glad to once again have a nice, fresh copy of this book, and even more so, glad to have an updated reference with coverage of the new features in Javascript 1.5.
I'm pleased to say that the 4th edition lives up to the reputation of its predecessor. Reading is easy and informative, and the reference section provides answers to just about any question you'd have regarding the language syntax and object model.
If you're a web developer and have no other books in your collection, make sure you have this one.
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on August 24, 2002
As a Web developer, who has written popular javascript code snippets, for thousands of satisfied developers, I love this book! This book provides comprehensive explainations about the javascript language. The author explains differences between netscape and internet explorer. One of the most important chapter in the book explains how to create an javascript object, inline functions, and prototyping. Build your internet javascript library of inline objects. Over time the power of this approach will give you an extremely feature rich web page.
I wrote javascript packages for xml and dom, httpxml, the browser, date functions, form functions, windows, string, math functions, and numerous helpful javascript functions.
Did you know that its possible to create recursive javascript functions? I wrote a javascript route that parsed an xml tree creating a tree structure in html.
Did you know that you can control DHTML elements using javascript? I wrote an DHTML editor in javascript that built the web page entirely using javascript and DHTML. The javascript structure outputted XML (see the loosely coupled interface DHTML editor).
Did you know that you can control multimedia using javascript? Javascript can be used to play music, display a show case of images, and create marquee and iframe news scrolls. Using knowledge from the book it was easy to build iframe elements in the form using javascript.
Did you know that you can create calendars, calculators, and clocks using javascript? Javascript is a very versitile language. Javascript grammer parsing can be done so programming code can be stored as data but run as an algorithm like lisp. I was absolutely shock after discovering this capability. If your into expert systems or neural nets think about javascript. You can load data from either client side or server side data and manipulate the data with C like function providing: loops, arrays, associative arrays, functions, and recursion capabilities.
Did you know that Active Server Pages can be written entirely in javascript? I though javascript was more robust than VB script. For example, the connection of ADO, XML, or an activeX object is possible using server side ASP javascript. I've used javascript to create database transactions, file manipulation, associative arrays, and data parsing. Javascript is a powerful development language. Hugh Websites run critical server side code in javascript. If you had to write 300,000 lines of code, wouldn't you like to write and maintain it in an object oriented language? Javascript is object oriented. Even though javascript is a subset of java, it seems to do the job.
In sum, if you haven't invested yet in javascript, I strongly encourage you to do so and purchase this book. The book will help you reach a professional level of coding. Basically, my rule is if it can be thought it can be built. You think of a desired function capability and there is probably a way to create the functionality using javascript. Wow netscape your awesome in creating such a powerful language!
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on June 30, 2002
Probably it is not for newbies.. not sure
I am not new in Javascript. My first book was "javascript bible" by Danny Goodman, which got me started with it couple of years ago.
Last year, by accident, I came accross O'reilly's Safari subscription project, and decided to refresh my Javascript knowledge. One of the books I checked out was David Flanagan's "Javascript The Definitive Guide".
I read several chapters from it, and I cought myself enjoying it more than enjoyed my previous similar titles. So I decided to buy the 4th edition of the book, and was not disappointed. So what things does David do differently? Read on!
I remember "Javascript Bible" by Danny Goodman starts off with hands on examples, which anyone without any knowledge of Javascript can try out in his/her editor. This is not the case with "Javascript The Definitive Guide". If you have no idea how Javascript works, you will not see a working real-life example untill Part II (page 181). Untill then, the author explains the core syntax of javascript, how javascript interperator works, how it wraps things into two objects: while interperating - Global and Call objects; talks about variable scopes and Garbage collection, objects, arrays, operators and other good stuff. It will tell you the different between object properties and variables ( or does it say there're no differences? ), talks about Regular Expression and nested functions.
People who have little or no programming background tend to find this chat quite boring and meaningless ( as I would've couple of years ago ). But if you have some Javascript background, or at least know how Javascript works in the browser, and what to strengthen your knowledge of Core JS, you will find this book very informative.
Part || is dedicated to Client side Javascript. That's where your browser comes into play and all the fun starts. Only here it will tell you that "Global object" mentioned in the Core Javascvript part is called "window". Talkes about CSS and DHTML, Scripting Cookies, DOM. It covers every single aspect of Client-Side JavaScript that a good Javascript book should cover.
The rest of the book consists of very well designed references, that you will be using most of the time.
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on June 27, 2002
This is one of the best programming books I have ever read. The author's style is very readable and he mixes in the appropriate amount of code samples to illustrate the concepts. All code samples are very well documented, which is a big help.
This is really two books in one. First is a thorough explanation of the JavaScript language fundamentals and how to use JavaScript in web pages. Then, comes the very complete reference sections which describe all classes and functions of core JavaScript, client-side JavaScript, and DOM programming. As a result, this is the only book you need to both learn and use JavaScript.
The author also does a nice job of pointing out which functionality will or will not work on Netscape or IE. And, he includes useful tips on how to work around some of these issues.
Those with experience in HTML but no programming languages may have a hard time with the level of detail in this book, but experienced programmers will appreciate the serious treatment of the JavaScript language. Beginners who just want to learn how to do simple scripts may want to look elsewhere, but for the serious web programmer, this book is a must have.
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on February 26, 2002
I own the third edition of this book, and bought it when I was starting to write a web-based decision support system for a very large beverage company. I can safely say that this book, and the HTML Definitive Guide (also by O'Reilly) were critical to the success of the system.
I have seldom had a question about JavaScript for which I could not find the answer in this book. I referred to it so frequently during the development of our system that it is now the most dog-eared book in my collection. I'm going to order the fourth edition simply because this baby is ready for retirement.
If you are learning client-side JavaScript, by all means purchase this book. The first half of the book is a guided introduction to the language and does a wonderful job of explaining the syntax of the language, the underlying object model, and virtually every pertinent feature of the language. The real value, though, is in the reference, which documents every object, method, property and event of standard JavaScript.
Non-conformists who wish to exploit features unique to Internet Explorer will find some reference material here, but the book does try to focus on the "standard" features of the language, which I think is a good thing.
You just can't go wrong with this book.
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on December 18, 2001
Unfortunately, there are more JavaScript books available than there are stars in the sky. For someone trying to learn JavaScript, I can only imagine the difficulty of trying to pick a good book. I've read several, sold several, thrown away several. You're luck finding a decent book would almost be as good as walking into a book store, closing your eyes, and pointing randomly. That is, EXCEPT for this book.
I cannot stress enough the QUANTITY of information contained in this book, nor can I stress the QUALITY of that information. The first section provides an understanding of the framework and fundamentals of JavaScript. This is a thorough explanation that will NOT leave you wanting like some "Nutshell" or "Learn in 24 Hours" book. The second section is an alphabetized list of every JavaScript element, and here's where the power of this book comes out: each element is defined including any browser limitations, all possible properties and functions of that object, and, in most cases, an actual working example. Yet, with all of this, my admiration for this comes in the last section: a detailed explanation of all the exceptions to the rules. You WILL NOT find this in any book, at least none that I've seen. More than once, my entire team was hung on something only to look in this book to find the problem described with an explanation of how to get around the limitation in the language. This alone is worth every penny, believe me.
If I could give this book more than five stars, I would. To this day, it remains *THE* most valuable book in my bookcase.
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on December 6, 2001
Once again David Flanagan has created the definitive reference text for JavaScript. The most popular scripting language on the Web, JavaScript is nearly ubiquitous now. The fourth edition has been updated all the way from JavaScript 1.2 in the third edition to cover JavaScript 1.5 (ECMAScript-262 Version 3), the W3C DOM standard (Levels 1 and 2), while retaining the old legacy "Level 0" DOM for backwards compatibility.
Older editions emphasized Netscape over Explorer, as Netscape had more market share. This edition has almost completely purged this emphasis, and instead focused on standards-compliance for cross-browser scripting. With the proliferation of implementations, it is no longer practical for one book to document every quirk and workaround associated with all browsers. Focusing instead on specifications instead of implementations makes this book easier to read with a longer shelf-life, and your scripts more portable and maintainable.
With the release of JavaScript 1.5, better browser support, open source JavaScript interpreters (one in C and one in Java), and its availability on a multitude of platforms, JavaScript has become a mature language. This book reflects that. The fourth edition splits the reference section into three parts. Core JavaScript, which should work anywhere. Client-side JavaScript, which deals with browser-specific language material, and the W3C DOM has a section of its own now. The DOM defines a standard API that is distinct from the legacy API of traditional client-side JavaScript. Flanagan has found that depending on the browser platforms they are targeting, developers typically use one API or the other and usually do not need to switch back and forth.
The book is huge, some 916 pages long. In order to accommodate all the new material Flanagan omitted reference pages for the trivial properties of objects. Everything is covered in the object reference page, just not twice as before. Flanagan has left out some non-cross-platform features, like Netscape's nifty .jar ARCHIVE source file attribute, which is not supported by Internet Explorer.
While not a JavaScript in 24 hours how-to, this book has plenty of illustrative examples and explanatory text. This combination of explanatory material and matching extensive reference sections make this a must-have book for any JavaScript programmer. Highly recommended.
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