JavaScript Programmer's Reference

Author: Alexei White
Publisher: Wrox, 2009
Pages: 1032
ISBN: 978-0470344729
Aimed at: Javascript developers
Rating: 5
Pros: Excellent, well structured reference
Cons: Cover the core topics but not libraries or server side technoloogies
Reviewed by: Mike James


This is one of the best books on Javascript available and it should be on your bookshelf. It is a reference work but it is very readable and the author presents as logical an account as is possible with a language as strange as Javascript. He describes the history and the levels of browser support that different features receive.

It is in this sense that it reads a bit like a reference work but this is not a criticism. It tells you about the basic structure of Javascript with inevitable focus on its "interesting" features such as weak typing, closures and dynamic evaluation. The ideas are introduced with clear explanations and with the smallest possible examples that can be used to show how it all works. If you demand big real world examples then you will be disappointed in this book and probably miss out on an easy way to find out what really happens.

The interaction with the DOM and browsers in general is treated as part of the language - and given the way that Javascript is used this is very reasonable. It does touch on some ancillary topics such as Flash, Silverlight and other plug-ins such as Google gears but doesn't to stray too far from the main subject matter.

In about 1000 pages it deals with nothing much beyond the core topic. This is a definite disappointment because the same clarity could be usefully applied to subject such as Javascript libraries and server side technologies such as server side Javascript and or PHP. We can only hope that the same treatment will be applied in either future editions or better in additional books. The book, as it stands, does do what it says on the cover and deals with Javascript in its natural environment to provide a reference work that you are going to need to use again and again, not to clarify some point of syntax but to understand how it should work. If you program in Javascript buy a copy.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 August 2009 )