JavaScript: The Definitive Guide 5th edn.

Reviewed by Major Keary

The Definitive Guide has been a pre-eminent JavaScript resource since it was first released in 1996 and is currently in its fifth edition, which includes some significant changes in the JavaScript landscape. As the author notes,

"Google released their Gmail application and people noticed that it didn't behave like the web sites they were used to. And Jesse James Garrett published his seminal essay on this new style of web development, which he christened Ajax. All of a sudden, the world of JavaScript had changed".

JavaScript is being used in a much more complex way by developers, and is an integral part of technologies such as Ajax. There are two faces to JavaScript: client-side and server-side. JavaScript: The Definitive Guide covers both.

JavaScript can still be used at a simple level. Ordinary users don't have to make a choice between what they have been doing—the simple life—and the complexities of 'modern' JavaScript. Developers and professional web designers need JavaScript in its new role, and the fifth edition caters for that audience.

The book has been divided into parts so as to separate core JavaScript material from client-side JavaScript, thus making it more convenient for programmers working in other than a web browser an environment. In order to fit all the material in a book even as large as this, the reference entries are terse. For programmers—the principal audience—who know JavaScript, but who need a reference, that terseness is an advantage: information is specific and easy to find. In the explanatory sections of the book the language is clear and the style concise, but eminently readable. Extensive use of example code supports the text; the code—and any errata discovered after publication—is available for download from a companion web site.

David Flanagan: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide 5th edn.
ISBN 978-0-596-10199-2
Published by O'Reilly, 994 pp., RRP AU$ 85.00

The Australian distributor is Woodslane <>


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