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4.3 out of 5 stars22
4.3 out of 5 stars
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2007
The 5th edition of the one and only bible of JavaScript, by the language guru David Flanagan, is not a surprise, but a beautiful confirmation. The 4th edition, which I've been using until a few days ago, was (and is) an invaluable reference even though it started to become a bit outdated. The new version is even more "biblic" than before, featuring nearly 1000 pages of in-depth explanation and reference. New sections include Ajax (of course, it's the cool thing of these years!), client side graphics (SVG, VML and <canvas>), JavaScript namespaces and communication with Flash and other embedded media.

The book can be divided in 2 sections: the guide - which occupies about 600 pages - and the reference which accounts for the remaining 400. Browsing the index of the book, it turns out the the parts are actually 4: for this article, I however merged the first two (the guide) and the last two (the reference).

The first section covers every JavaScript aspect, with a detailed explanation of the language and almost everything than can be achieved using it. What is being actually taught are the "roots" of all the JavaScript features: to build the complex things, you need to work on those roots (or to grab more high-level tutorials somewhere else). However, this book has everything you need, as you can figure the rest out!

The second section is the reason why every web coder will want to have this book on his desk everyday. The reference is detailed, accurate, thorough and very easy to browse. As I wrote above, it's divided in 2 parts: Core Language and Client-side JavaScript.

All in all, what can be said about this book? Even though I'm not fond of client side programming and prefer to script on the server, this is one of the few books for which I can really find nothing bad to say. It's well written, simple to understand, entertaining. There's also the Italian translation: there's the previous edition on the shelves in Italy at present time, but we'll hopefully see this new fantastic edition translated soon.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2007
After many years struggling with rudimentary JavaScript and never being able to find a sensibly structured book on the subject, a colleague recommended

'JavaScript - the Definitive Guide'. O'Reilly have never really impressed me as a publishing house but this book is the best there is. The coverage is as extensive as it is complete. Especially noteworthy is its carefully documented chapters on the relationships between functions and objects which other authors shy away from. Want to be as good as Dean Edwards ? This is the book to get you there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2009
Of the many books in my technical library, this one never fails to impress me. The quality of the writing, the thoroughness of coverage and the structuring of the book set a benchmark which many technical books struggle to meet.

A number of reviewers have pointed out that trying to learn the language from this text is difficult, and that it is best considered to be a reference guide. Experience with C, Java, Python or similar will help you to understand the syntax easily and this book will give you all that you need to become proficient in the language; if you do not have such experience, then an introductory text may be a good companion.

The book is divided into four main sections: "Core Javascript", "Client-Side Javascript", "Core Javascript Reference" and "Client-Side Javascript Reference". The client-side Javascript section gives good coverage of the DOM, CSS, Ajax and more; there is enough meat in here for you to start building demanding applications without recourse to additional texts (although you may want to buy specialist texts in these subjects over time). The table of contents is helpful, and each main section has its own mini table of contents. The book's indexer deserves credit: 43 pages of sensible indexing means that you can always find what you need. My advice to users of this book is to first spend an hour becoming familiar with its structure - knowing your way around will make subsequently finding things much easier, and will help you to enjoy and get the best from its nearly 1000 pages.

On the rare occasion when the depth of coverage is insufficient for a specific need, the book will have given you enough background for you to feel confident doing targeted googling for the extra information (iframes was a recent case in point for me).

This book is the only Javascript book which Douglas Crockford recommends - high praise indeed. Once you start to feel confident with the 'Definitive Guide', you may appreciate Crockford's book, and those of John Resig, as you find yourself being transported towards Javascript gurudom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2009
I'm a complete noob when it comes to JavaScript. So why, you may ask, did I plump for this book? Well, I'm glad you asked, because I came across the idea of buying a beginner's guide AND an expert's reference when I was scouring the review pages here in Amazon. "What a good idea" I thought, then I went ahead and ordered this book and "JavaScript in Easy Steps" at the same time. This sounds unlikely, but believe me, the two books complement each other very well, and together comprise what you might call a "crash course" in JavaScript. Obviously, I can't review this as an expert, because I'm still a noob, and I will remain so for quite some time. However, I know enough now to realise that this is going to be an invaluable reference book as I begin to delve deeper into JS (as it's sometimes called)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2009
I have been trying to really understand the basics of javascript from a number of books for sometime now and I must say no book has given me the thorough coverage of almost every topic like this book.

It's certainly a reference book that must be on the desk of every javascript developer, whether you're a beginner, mid-level like I'm or an advanced developer.

I especailly like the way the first 2 parts cover the core principles and the client side of javascript. Then you have the reference part that drives deep into all the functions and capabilities of the language.

It's well written, explains the concepts very well and I think it's worth every penny.

Working through books that have examples is good but I have found out that these books cannot explain every concept as that is not their main emphasis. This book does, and must be the first point of call for the beginner especially, before any other javascript book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2010
It is very complete but some code examples are too difficult and complicated. The same functions can be developed in other way, more easly and efficient
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2010
This is one of the very few decent books on javascript, the other ones written by Crockford or Resig. Well worth having on your shelf, all the more because of the large amount of bad javascript books and websites!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2011
Ordered this for well under the price for new and got a second hand as-new item. Ordered it and received it two days before the delivery estimate.

The book is well structered with an overview of the language lexicon followed by industry standard usage examples and a well laid out references section both for language usage and client side usage. The writing style is coherent and engaging with a clear narrative that should be understood by novice and expert alike.

On the whole very happy.
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on 2 February 2011
I'm not an expert in JavaScript. I've done some code based on snippets found on the internet. I bought this book because I wanted to improve my knowledge and have a handy reference.

The book is very good on giving you an overview about the ideas and the possibilities of JavaScript. You'll get a good knowledge about JavaScript if you work your way through it from the beginning to the end but it fails when it comes to the practical work. There are two main reasons for it:

first: The examples are not good. There are mostly too long ad often not really instructive. You'll always find much better examples in the first one or two Google results.

second: The index is very badly made. At least in the fifth edition many page numbers are simply wrong. You often have to turn a couple of pages back or forth to find what you were actually looking for. The other drawback is that the index doesn't specify the main entry - it just lists the occurences of the keyword.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2014
This is the best book I have read so far as a Javascript newbie but as an experienced programmer.
It explaines extremely well the notions of OOP programming but maybe explains too much about the ECMAscript 3 and doesn't focus entirely on 5.

overall a great read
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