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JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Activate Your Web Pages (Definitive Guides) [Kindle Edition]

David Flanagan

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Product Description

Book Description

Activate Your Web Pages

Product Description

Since 1996, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide has been the bible for JavaScript programmers—a programmer's guide and comprehensive reference to the core language and to the client-side JavaScript APIs defined by web browsers.

The 6th edition covers HTML5 and ECMAScript 5. Many chapters have been completely rewritten to bring them in line with today's best web development practices. New chapters in this edition document jQuery and server side JavaScript. It's recommended for experienced programmers who want to learn the programming language of the Web, and for current JavaScript programmers who want to master it.

"A must-have reference for expert JavaScript programmers...well-organized and detailed."
—Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript, CTO of Mozilla

"I made a career of what I learned from JavaScript: The Definitive Guide.”
—Andrew Hedges, Tapulous

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5030 KB
  • Print Length: 1096 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 6 edition (18 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital South Asia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XQX4K0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,062 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  129 reviews
377 of 415 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be better 6 May 2011
By Patrick Goetz - Published on
Readers should note that most of the reviews of this book refer to older editions which are -- due to the rapid evolution of javascript -- completely different books. I've spent a considerable amount of time the last few months reading the 6th edition of this book and have a number of complaints. But first, the kudos: this book is more comprehensive than any other javascript reference.

- the text is frequently non-linear in the sense that author will talk about undefined feature X, stating that feature X will be explained a couple of chapters later. Sometimes this is a good way to gradually introduce concepts, but it's used too much here. Some critics of this book have suggested you need to know javascript before reading this book, this might be why.

- Almost every concept is followed with the caveat "but this feature doesn't work in Internet Explorer prior to version Z. For that you have to use this entirely different function f". This makes the text unnecessarily confusing. How about talking about *standard* ECMAscript and relegating the caveats to end of chapter notes, perhaps adding a superscript to alert the reader about version incompatibilities?

- The examples are poor -- most show how to re-implement javascript 5 functions in javascript 3, or how to get a standard function to work in Internet Explorer 8. Who cares? This is why we have jQuery and Dojo -- in order not to worry about stuff like this. A few examples like this would provide welcome insight into dealing with compatibility issues, but in this case my eyes started to glaze over after a few hundred pages.

Case study: Chapter 17, "Handling Events". After reading much of this chapter I realized I didn't know anything about how to use events in actual, practical code. I went back to re-read the chapter, which starts on p. 445. The first example "snippet" doesn't occur until p. 457 and the first real example is on p. 466, demonstrating a "whenReady" function which shows you how "you can improve the startup time of your web applications if you trigger your scripts on events other than 'load'." Somewhat interesting, but is this really the best first example on event processing? The next example illustrates dragging an object, and is already quite complex and hard to follow.

The beginning of Ch. 17 tells us "An event object is an object that is associated with a particular event and contains details
about that event. Event objects are passed as an argument to the event handler function (except in IE8 and before where they are sometimes only available through the global variable event). All event objects have a type property that specifies the event type and
a target property that specifies the event target. (In IE8 and before, use srcElement instead of target.) Each event type defines a set of properties for its associated event." OK, how about an EXAMPLE illustrating how this works in real code? It's nearly impossible to get much out of this comment (and certainly impossible to retain anything) without an example. Only someone who already knows this stuff will follow that effectively, and if you already know the material, why read this chapter?

Additionally, some standard methods appear not to be documented in the client-side reference. Unfortunately I can't recall which ones at the moment; just remember looking for them and not finding them.

The "camel" book "Programming Perl" by Wall, Christiansen, and Orwant continues to be the gold standard for programming books by almost any measure, despite the fact that the current edition (3rd) is now terribly out of date. This book is readable, starts out with a good overview and then gradually dips the reader into the complexities of the language, included good examples, and frankly is an extremely enjoyable read. By comparison, this book meets none of these metrics. As a side note, O'Reilly (also the publisher of Programming Perl) used to be the dominant technical book publisher by huge margins, but in the past few years has begun to fall behind newer, more nimble competitors like Packt and Manning, who offer steep discounts on ebook editions and who appear to be taking greater care to maintain content quality. The affect is that at one time I would have simply assumed that the O'Reilly title was the highest quality text on any particular issue and now I'm finding this is not the case more often than not.

I must also add that I'm a fairly experienced programmer with some prior javascript experience; hence presumably a member of the target audience for this book. Whatever it's shortcomings and merits, and as other reviewers have pointed out, this book is COMPLETELY inappropriate for novice programmers and beginners. Stay far away, newbies, lest you burn in the pit of doom.
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those doubting a book is better than what can be found online 26 April 2012
By Charlie - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I simply wanted to say how much David's book has meant to my learning and understanding of Javascript, and programming in general. I had initially tried learning through many free sources online, and while most were very good in tackling specific issues or illustrating solutions to esoteric problems, none gave me the confidence that I was getting a solid foundation in the language, or programming in general.

In search of something better, I looked to stackoverflow which constantly recommended David's book. To be honest, I pirated it first. But after the first 3 chapters I went straight to Amazon and bought it, as well as Javascript Patters from Stoyan and Douglas's Crockford book Javascript: the good parts (another big hit on the stackoverflow forums). I was dumbfounded at how easy and clear his book made the language. For the first time, ideas were presented in a logical order, with concepts obviously introduced to build on previous ones. Concepts I've been told are essential (hoisting, closures, etc) but were intimidating because I'd never seen them in a cohesive narrative, shocked me in how intuitive they actually were when written well and paired with succinct examples.

I know this all seems overzealous enough to border on the insincere, but for someone who always had a passion for technology and wanted to create his own, but was beginning to be deterred from it all because I thought it was simply above my grasp, I want to say thank you to David and O'Reilly.

They very may well have single-handedly created a new developer, and have dramatically changed my life in the process.

Thanks again.
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides a deep dive into JavaScript development 24 May 2011
By James Skemp - Published on
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is not just a complete reference of the language, like O'Reilly's other 'thick books,' but also provides a deep dive into JavaScript development. However, if you're just starting out and will be using one of the various libraries (like jQuery), this book may not (yet) be for you.

First, the sixth edition is the first I've read, so I can't speak to any changes. Instead, my review is focused on the book as a first-timer reader to the 'series.'

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is broken up into four parts; Core JavaScript, Client-Side JavaScript, the Core JavaScript Reference, and the Client-Side Reference. If you've ever picked up one of O'Reilly's other reference books, like Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference, you know about what to expect from those last two parts - a deep reference to the language.

The first two parts, however, are a 'deep dive' into the actual language itself. Unlike a mere reference book, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide actually teaches you how to develop in JavaScript, starting at the core fundamentals, and working your way up to more advanced topics.

Part of the 'deep dive' aspect also includes following best practices, making numerous references to Douglas Crockford's JavaScript: The Good Parts throughout the first part of the book, which is about 30% of the book. Alone, the first part of the book provides an excellent, near-complete, tutorial on the language.

Historical information is also included, which I found to be very interesting when it came up, as well as implementation-specific functionality, that has limited use at this time (and as such, I personally found it distracting, and began skimming over later instances, but it's still nice that it's provided).

The second part focuses on the Web aspects, which is quite honestly where most people will be making use of JavaScript. This part covers about what you'd expect, as well as jQuery, client-side storage, and HTML5 functionality.

The jQuery information is around 60 pages of content, covers version 1.4, and also includes a bit about jQueryUI (a very little bit). It's quite refreshing to see jQuery included in the book, but as noted initially, if you're looking at focusing just on using a library, it may be better to get a resource focused on just that.

The second part is approximately 40% of the book.

The third and fourth parts are similar to O'Reilly's other reference books, and are therefore fairly detailed, with examples included. Depending upon your preference, you may find the reference valuable, or prefer searching online. The examples included give the book a slight advantage over the average Web site. Honestly, I generally prefer using online resources, so I don't see myself consulting these later parts very often, if at all.

Finally we come to the actual book itself. I received an electronic copy of the book, through the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program, so I can't speak to the quality of a physical copy. However, in the past I have generally found O'Reilly books to be well made, with bindings that last.

And now comes the rating.

After the first part of this book I was impressed by JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, and could easily have stopped there and been happy. The jQuery inclusion was a nice touch, which may be sufficient to push people who weren't thinking about using a library in their development to doing so, and may actually provide enough information for someone who wants to start learning JavaScript via jQuery. It is, in short, a true guide to JavaScript, and not just a reference book.

For these reasons, I must give JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 5 of 5 stars.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for Javascript development 15 May 2011
By M. Overeem - Published on
This book is called 'the definitive guide' for a reason: it is by far the most complete book on Javascript that you can buy. Every subject, from syntax to popular libraries is covered. The 6th edition is completely updated to reflect the latest standard, ECMAscript 5. The newest features such as localstorage and geolocation are explained in this new edition. The book follows a clear outline. It starts by explaining the language and it's syntax, followed by it's features. Next is the usage of the language, both as a client-side language and as a server-side language. The book also covers the most popular Javascript library: jQuery.

I found the book, although it is written as a reference, easy and entertaining to read. The book is a great resource to use while developing Javascript, because every little detail is covered. A good indication of its quality is that the book survived five editions and is still going strong! What I did miss is some guidance around real world Javascript development and tooling. The book does not explain anything around unit testing, development environments and other useful tooling. That would be a welcome addition for the 7th edition!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good book, just not for the beginner 17 January 2014
By Magic Shopping Network - Published on
I guess I'm sort of between a beginner and an intermediate level JavaScript student, mostly learning online. I saw that this book was highly recommended, so I picked up a copy. It's actually a pretty good book for someone like me. I've studied the concepts for about a month now and this book is systematically going through the language pretty well. So why am I only giving this book 2 stars if it's a pretty decent book? Because it says all you would need is CSS and HTML knowledge to be able to proceed with this book. That's 100% false. If I was new to JavaScript I would find this book extremely frustrating. Not because the subject is mesmerizing in it's complexity (it isn't) but because the author assumes the reader knows stuff about JavaScript he/she hasn't explained yet. Being a tutorial on JavaScript places the author in the position to teach the subject matter not to assume we already know it.

And as someone else mentioned here, the author goes over too many exceptions in the middle of a tutorial...These need to be seriously reorganized. And The caveats need to be deemphasized and put somewhere else, perhaps at the end of the section in a box or something or somehow put away somewhere else. If I were teaching students in a book about WW2, focusing on Hitler, I wouldn't get into the kind of breakfast he liked right in the middle of some great battle, I would probably put that in a box or toward the end as some kind of exception, whatever, set it aside and focus on the bigger picture, express the details and exceptions later. I know it must be hard for someone who knows a ton about something to not get into the fine details because they love the subject but you need to focus on who you are writing to...people who may know nothing of the subject you are talking about. It's more important to get the bigger picture in focus and then flesh out the details later rather than the reverse.

In addition, this book often says "I'll get into that later on" which is annoying because it's like why bother even bringing it up if you are going to tackle it in detail later? Why not just focus on ONE subject at a time rather than being all catty, tangential and twisted? It didn't bother me much because I KNEW what he was talking about but I kept stopping and asking myself "If I didn't know that would this make me soooo ticked off?"

The author, in just the first three chapters goes over topics in JavaScript which only someone who has studied the language at least for a few weeks as well as programming in general would be able to grasp, sometimes once in a while just throws a ton of weird concepts at the reader all at once which haven't been explained. If you are a beginner DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. First do some studying online, watch a few videos on the subject and try a few online tutorials. Once that becomes frustrating and you want a systematic tread through the subject...THEN buy this book. It's not a good book for a beginner.

It's actually very annoying when authors do this and they *need to stop* it's discouraging to beginners. Pretend everyone in the room is 12 years old and explain everything using everyday language or language you establish from the ground up, don't build the house from the top down, build it from the bottom up. You can't just dive in and start talking to the reader as if they already know what you are talking about. This book is not a good book for the absolute beginner. The author should explain that in the beginning and that was not explicitly stated.

One last thing is that another person here pointed out that this book fails as a reference and fails as a user-friendly guide and I actually agree. But it is a decent enough in between book and it is comprehensive so I would have given it 5 stars just because there are a lot of crappy books on this subject out there.

When the author releases a new version stating that one requires some small knowledge of JavaScript before reading this book I will change this to a five star review.

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