Book Review: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide 5th Edition

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Book Review - JavaScript: The Definitive Guide 5th Edition

Considered as an essential resource for JavaScript programmers. O’Reilly’s JavaScript: The Definitive Guide 5th edition is one of the books to look for when it comes to JavaScript.

As good as the introduction sounds, the book is unfriendly to those who are unfamiliar with programming. But, is a good book to those who know programming but is new to JavaScript. The book is formatted to suit reference use, it is divided into 4 parts. The first part is dedicated to core JavaScript, which includes primitive datatypes, functions, and objects. The second part discusses Client-Side JavaScript (DOM scripting, Cookies, and Graphics). The third and fourth part contains references for Core and Client-Side JavaScript respectively.

As a student, I always expect my books to be extensive and in-depth. That is why I buy books- to get quality information that you can only get in books. If you agree with me, then this is the book you’re looking for. The book’s content is extensive. It covers almost everything that you need to know about JavaScript. Explanation is also good, since it explains the inner workings of JavaScript.

One of the complaints I have about the book is its lack of examples. Most of the programming books I have read had sufficient examples that served as guidelines for syntax and structure. Having few examples, the book relies mostly on explanation to discuss JavaScript elements. It will really help if you have background in Java or C, since JavaScript syntax is similar to them.

If you are already familiar with the programming languages mentioned above, you might want to skim over the first part of the book. The first part is a lengthy discussion of the different core JavaScript components, which most should be familiar to you (if you are familiar with Java or C). Otherwise, if you are inexperienced in Java or C, it is recommended that you read through the first part of the book since these are essential to learning JavaScript.

Due to a wide array of different web browsers (each with different versions) developed by different groups, incompatibility of JavaScript elements became an issue. It required JavaScript books to be able to pinpoint which JavaScript element works in which browser and of what version. The author responds to this issue by mentioning in which version of JavaScript and EcmaScript would a specific bit of code work. Complementing this method of explanation is a paragraph in the introduction chapter in which the author mentions what version of JavaScript (or EcmaScript) works on what version of a web browser.

Bottom line: a one of a kind book that is worth reading for those who want to learn JavaScript. But, like any book, it also has flaws. With that said, I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

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