Javascript – The Definitive Guide: Review

    September 7, 2006

This is the Fifth Edition of “Javascript The Definitive Guide”. I dragged out my old Second Edition (1997) of this book for comparison.

The Fifth Edition is 50% larger at nearly 1,000 pages: a lot has changed with Javascript.

Back then, frames were all the rage, and things like “switch” statements and regex support were planned but only beginning to be implemented.

Cross platform compatibilty was deplorable (not that it’s fantastically great now, of course, but it is better) and I probably wasn’t the only person who ignored Javascript steadfastly unless I really needed it.

Well, things are obviously better now. The language has evolved, stabilized, and there is much more expectation that core features will work anywhere.

Still not perfect – but Javascript has reached the point where most of the frustration and confusion is behind us or at least manageable.

And that’s what this guide is about, soup to nuts. It starts with a succinct programmers overview of the language and then moves into client side usage in web pages.

That’s the same basic structure as it was in previous editions, but there’s a lot of new and expanded material.

Among other things, coverage of Ajax is new in this edition.

The author apologizes for not referencing XMLHttpRequest in previous editions, explaining that it was because of lack of standards endorsement.

But that’s not all that’s new. Graphics and video scripting have their own chapters, as does using Javascript to read XML data. There’s a whole chapter on using cookies and other client side data persistence methods.

This is all well presented, with pertinent example code. If you want to start using Javascript or need to ramp up your usage, this is the book to have.

  • David Flanagan
  • O’Reilly
  • 0596101996
  • 978-0-596-10199-2

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A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services