Modern JavaScript: Develop and Design

Author: Larry Ullman
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Pages: 624
ISBN: 978-0321812520
Aimed at: Web designers
Rating: 4
Pros: In-depth treatment
Cons: Not object-oriented
Reviewed by:

Modern JavaScript - what exactly does that mean?

Others books we've looked at in this series of books aimed at designers and other non-programmers have tended to achieve simplicity by not going into much depth. This particular book is very much an in-depth look at JavaScript and if you are a potential reader then be prepared to learn a lot and possibly to work at it a little.

The first thing to say is that this isn't a particularly modern approach to JavaScript. It doesn't duck the issue of modern ideas like object-oriented programming, but neither does it make it the central idea. It is, in fact a fairly traditional approach to JavaScript as a procedural language. It is, however, modern in the sense that it is up-to-date with the current situation. It is fairly strong and realistic on the irregularities you will encounter in the implementation of JavaScript in the real world. I particularly liked the tip on page 14:

"When it comes to Web development in general and JavaScript in particular, the golden rule is: Initially develop using a good browser such as Firefox, and then test on Internet Explorer to make your clients happy."

The book is written for the reader who might well have picked up some JavaScript in the course of building web pages. Its pace is slow in terms of big topics covered, but each page has a lot of information if you don't already know it. It would be great for the intelligent beginner or for the reader who is about to make a breakthrough to understanding what they have been doing in the past.




Part I is about getting started and it covers the usual preliminaries - history and flavors of JavaScript, what you can use it for, how it fits in with HTML, an IDE or an editor, and generally how you can get to work with JavaScript.

Part II is where the language is introduced in some detail. Here you will learn about variable types and control structures. Then on to the built in types such as Arrays, Strings and Date. We look at building your own functions but not building your own objects. Then the book turns to practical topics such as event handling an other browser related tasks - forms, Ajax and the DOM.

Part III is titled Next Steps and it looks at advanced topics. Here you will find out about test-driven design, frameworks and finally creating your own objects. The final chapter is unusual in that it considers PHP and JavaScript working together.

Overall this is a very good introduction to JavaScript if your aim it to improve the way a website behaves. It almost gets you to the point where you could contemplate building a web app, but there is a little further to go. Personally, I would have preferred a little more emphasis on creating objects and using them as a way of structuring your code; this would have been more worthy of the "Modern" in the title. However, I am aware of the fact that beginners find objects difficult and so this is a pragmatic approach.

 If you are a JavaScript expert then move on by as there is nothing much for you here, but if you already know a little JavaScript this book will help you know it better and know more. Recommended.


Visual Complex Analysis

Author:  Tristan Needham
Publisher: Clarendon Press
Pages: 616
ISBN: 978-0198534464
Print: 0198534469
Kindle: B0BNKJTJK1
Audience: The mathematically able and enthusiastic
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Mike James
What's complex about complex analysis?

Reliable Source: Lessons from a Life in Software Engineering

Author: James Bonang
Date: January 2022
Pages: 608
Kindle: B09QCBVJ9V
Audience: General interest
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

This book combines a fun read with interesting insights into how to write reliable programs.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 May 2012 )