JavaScript Step by Step

Author: Steve Suehring
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2008
Pages: 432
ISBN: 978-0735624498
Aimed at: Novice web developers  
Rating: 3
Pros: Pretty comprehensive introduction of JavaScript, HTML and CSS
Cons: Poor organisation of material tends to overwhelm 
Reviewed by: Mike James

This book doesn’t really present a step-by-step guide to JavaScript. Instead it gives a fairly conventional introduction to the subject and its associated technologies. Examples are given using Visual Studio, Eclipse and a basic NotePad style of creating and testing scripts. It starts out fairly slowly and gives plenty of time for the beginner to follow what is going on. However the author doesn’t seem to have a very clear idea of the intended audience and there are often terms and ideas introduced that aren’t part of the natural flow of development. As long as you ignore these and press on then eventually everything makes sense.

The early part of the book deals with the basic ideas of programming using JavaScript and while there is some attempt at presenting them in an organised fashion eventually this collapses into a reference style list of everything that belongs in a category with no attempt at grading the material into beginner and advanced. For example, why bother the beginner with the “void” operator in a section on operators and statements. Similarly when we reach the chapter dealing with control structures every possibility is presented in an exhaustive manner. Eventually we do reach object oriented programming, but mainly because the second half of the book deals with using JavaScript within a web page and this means you can’t avoid considering the DOM and this means you can’t avoid objects. From here on in topics are presented in a task-oriented order – using forms, implementing cookies, using images and inevitably Ajax techniques. Nothing is treated in great depth and you won't discover any amazing tricks to revolutionise your web page but you should be able to understand how it all works. Overall this is a book suitable for the almost complete beginner who knows something about HTML and CSS and wants to find out how JavaScript works and how it can be used.