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JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4.31

Customer Rating: 3
Summary: Reference book, not guide
Comment: The word "guide" suggests a book that will help you learn something from the beginning. This book won't.

"JavaScript - The Definitive Guide" is a very thorough and up-to-date compendium of the JavaScript programming language, so it's definitely an excellent reference book. However, unless you're already very familiar with other languages that have similar syntax and structure (C, C++, Java and perhaps PHP), don't expect to learn how to write JavaScript programs with this book.

The author has no qualms about using complicated language to supposedly "explain" simple concepts. You don't have to take my word for it; here's an excerpt, from page 110:

"The Arguments object has one very unusual feature. When a function has named arguments, the array elements of the Arguments object are synonyms for the local variables that hold the function arguments. The arguments[] array and the argument named arguments are two different ways of referring to the same variable. Changing the value of an argument with an argument name changes the value that is retrieved through the arguments[] array. Changing the value of an argument through the arguments[] array changes the value that is retrieved by the argument name.'

Okay, so after reading the above paragraph two or three times you finally get it. But just imagine reading 424 pages (I'm discounting the reference part of the book) of equally dense text, with examples that are sometimes clear as mud.

Bottomline: Need a good JavaScript reference book? Look no further. Want to start learning how to write scripts for the web? You'd probably be better off with a book from the "Teach yourself" series (published by Sams).

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: The best JavaScript book available.
Comment: This is a welcome addition to any web development or interface design library. Unlike so many other books on J(ava)Script this book is authoritative (as of its pub date) and compendious; it is an invaluable reference. Like most O'Reilly books, this one manages far more material in greater detail than the typical bookshelf-bending how-to behemoth in far, far fewer pages.

- The syntax coverage is flawless, at times ruthless, and efficient.

- Flanagan shows how powerful, and genuinely object oriented, JavaScript is--prototypes are typically ignored in other books on the topic, with Nick Heinle's as a notable but incommensurable exception.

- Cross platform issues are handled well. When this book was written the IE/Netscape 4.x object models had not been fully explored and exposed as divergent as they are--no current book fully attacks this topic. Compatibility issues are handled straight back to Navigator 2.0. However, given recent browser developments, we're in need of a third edition (and Opera coverage).

- The examples are clear, eminently useful, and will help out even cookbook coders.

I've spun through at least 7 different books on this topic since 1996: if you're a beginner to programming, or a designer hoping to add to the toolbox, this one might be rough going at first. Once you're comfortable with JavaScript, this is the *only* book you will keep.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Best reference on JavaScript I have ever seen
Comment: I have read many books on JavaScript before but this is by far the most comprehansive guide to the scripting language. This book is not for beginners.
I use it as a reference guide. If you know the object's name or the method's name on either client side or server side, you can just look it up in this book's index section and it will reference you to a particular page with detailed explonations and more often then not with examples.
Absolutely love this book