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Book Review

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition
by David Flanagan

ISBN: 0596000480
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 900

I needed to get up to speed on JavaScript rather quick and in retrospective this book proved to be an excellent choice.

The author starts with a very well-written introduction to the core JavaScript language. Each topic is treated with great care and detail without ever feeling chatty; always concise information supported with interesting discussions.

The second part of the book describes client side JavaScript and I consider this the most valuable part of the book. Flanagan starts this chapter by illustrating how JavaScript is used in web-browsers before introducing the document object model (DOM), which is really the foundation for the chapter as a whole. Following DOM, there is a discussion of events and event-handling, which provided me with the information needed to write my own event-handlers in an efficient way.

The rest of this book (approximately 450 pages) is a reference section. As I consider the initial two parts of the book worth the price alone, the reference almost feels like a bonus. At the time of writing, I have turned to this reference section for information a few times. So far I found it easy to locate the relevant information and the content was always very useful.

The book is probably not suited for beginners. But in case you are familiar with general programming concepts and preferably have some experience with an object-oriented language, it is hard to think of a better introduction to JavaScript than this book.

Reviewed September 2005

©2005 Adam Petersen