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"JavaScript The Definitive Guide 5th edition" review
Book review by JavaScriptKit.com | Publisher: O'Reilly, David Flanagan (August 2006)

"JavaScript The Definitive Guide 5th edition" has arrived (Aug 2006) as it continues with the goal of remaining at the top as the most comprehensive JavaScript Reference available. It feel like just a few months ago that I had purchased the 4th edition, so I checked the Printing History near the beginning of this latest edition to find out:

August 1996 Beta Edition
January 1997 Second Edition
June 1998 Third Edition
January 2002 Fourth Edition
August 2006 Fifth Edition

Ok, so I was off by a few years, as apparently it's been more than 4 years since the last edition of "JavaScript The Definitive Guide." My theory is that the lack of big developments in the JavaScript language for the past few years have had a warping effect on my memory, but I digress.

The black ribbon that runs across the top right corner of this book's cover advertises to the readers what's new in this edition: "Covers Ajax and DOM scripting." Basically, there are new chapters in this book dedicated to these hot "Web 2.0" technologies. In the words of the author (Flanagan) himself:

"The new edition has been thoroughly updated so that it covers JavaScript the way it is used today, rather than the way it was used in 2001. These changes appear throughout the book. But the most important new material are the new chapters on scripted HTTP and XML manipulation: these are the cornerstones of Ajax applications, and these two new chapters explain
them, with detailed examples."

With that said, here's the table of contents for "JavaScript The Definitive Guide 5th edition":

Part I
  • 1. Introduction to JavaScript
  • 2. Lexical Structure
  • 3. Datatypes and Values
  • 4. Variables
  • 5. Expressions and Operators
  • 6. Statements
  • 7. Objects and Arrays
  • 8. Functions
  • 9. Classes, Constructors, and Prototypes
  • 10. Modules and Namespaces
  • 11. Pattern Matching with Regular Expressions
  • 12. Scripting Java
Part II
  • 13. JavaScript in Web Browsers
  • 14. Scripting Browser Windows
  • 15. Scripting Documents
  • 16. Cascading Style Sheets and Dynamic HTML
  • 17. Events and Event Handling
  • 18. Forms and Form Elements
  • 19. Cookies and Client-Side Persistence
  • 20. Scripting HTTP
  • 21. JavaScript and XML
  • 22. Scripted Client-Side Graphics
  • 23. Scripting Java Applets and Flash Movies

Part III- Core JavaScript Reference

Part IV- Client-Side JavaScript Reference

Apart from the two new aforementioned sections, there are other changes scattered throughout, such as new chapters on JavaScript namespaces and generating graphics using scripting. The chapter on JavaScript classes has also been rewritten to deal with the evolving, ever more complex structure of JavaScript programs.

"JavaScript The Definitive Guide 5th edition" upholds its predecessors' status as the only JavaScript reference you need to tackle the nuisances of JavaScript day in and day out. Note that this edition covers everything up to JavaScript 1.5, though not the unofficial JavaScript 1.6 and JavaScript 1.7 that Firefox 2.0 will support when it comes out. Well you can't expect people to do everything for you now can you? :)

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