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"Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" review
Book review by JavaScriptKit.com | Publisher: Wrox, Nicholas C. Zakas, 1st edition (April 11th, 2005)

"Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" is one of the latest books to tackle a subject with arguably very little left to talk about, thanks to the lack of big developments in the language in recent years. The book tries to set itself apart by targeting and appealing to experienced web developers, starting with its bold title. It worked for me in grabbing my attention and checking out what the book is all about. And I'm happy to say overall, this book does not disappoint.

"Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" runs about 670 pages long, and is divided into 20 chapters:

Chapter 1: What Is JavaScript?
Chapter 2: ECMAScript Basics.
Chapter 3: Object Basics.
Chapter 4: Inheritance.
Chapter 5: JavaScript in the Browser.
Chapter 6: DOM Basics.
Chapter 7: Regular Expressions.
Chapter 8: Browser and Operating System Detection.
Chapter 9: All about Events.
Chapter 10: Advanced DOM Techniques.
Chapter 11: Forms and Data Integrity.
Chapter 12: Sorting Tables.
Chapter 13: Drag and Drop.
Chapter 14: Error Handling.
Chapter 15: XML in JavaScript`.
Chapter 16: Client-Server Communication.
Chapter 17: Web Services.
Chapter 18: Interacting with Plugins.
Chapter 19: Deployment Issues.
Chapter 20: The Evolution of JavaScript.

If you somehow missed it in the title, once you start reading the first few pages, it becomes apparent that this book isn't for the beginner JavaScript programmer. Its organization and writing style clearly assumes you already know JavaScript. No hand holding here as "the <script> tag" and "how to define JavaScript on the page" is left undiscussed until in Chapter 5. With that said, here's what's good and perhaps not so good about "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers."

The good

What I love about this book is the author's understanding of the audience he is catering to- professional developers. With the intended reader most likely being familiar with JavaScript already, this book doesn't waste any time on pleasantries and hit-and-miss jokes. It is very technical oriented, to the point, and a continuous onslaught of information. And there's a lot of information in this book, perhaps providing the most up to date coverage of JavaScript yet. The book discusses in good detail modern JavaScript concepts like regular expressions, DOM, advanced DOM techniques such as ranges, accessing XML in JavaScript, and a hot topic these days, client server interaction (aka AJAX) via XMLHttpRequest etc. These chapters alone are worth the price of admission. And cross browser compatibility is given center stage through out, with a concept often spit  into two sections to account for differences in IE and Firefox/Mozilla.

The bad

The weak link in this book are the examples, which are fairly shallow and impractical,  more often than not just reiterating the discussion proceeding it. Good examples in my opinion should always try and teach you something new in themselves, and are planted firmly enough in reality to be practical. The examples in this book all feel rigid and uninspiring, like examples you see in university textbooks. For instance, neither in the DOM Ranges nor the Client Server (Ajax) section can I recall one usable or inspiring example. The examples in this book definitely could benefit from a makeover.

In conclusion

Overall "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" is a success, delivering on the new and advanced JavaScript concepts professional JavaScript programmers expect to see in a book like this. You definitely won't feel shortchanged or misled. A handful of chapters in this book are so jammed packed with information, you feel you have to come back up for air every once in a while. If you can see past the poorly thought out examples, this book definitely is worth seeing.

Title: Professional JavaScript for Web Developers | Publisher description
-Rating: 8/10

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