Book Review : Beginning Javascript - Christian Heilmann

Christian Heilmann's book is a great grounding for exploring Javascript further. It covers best practice techniques and solutions to real world problems.

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Five out of Five
Five out of Five

A while back I became resolved to teach myself Javascript, or at least to get beyond writing alert(‘monkey’) and thinking that was enough. With good experience of XHTML and CSS I was not sure what to expect. Initially I picked up a copy of Jeremy Keith’s DOM Scripting. This is a great book in itself, introducing concepts and working through a simple example. After a while though I needed more. I needed a book that wasn’t written to explain cool things in simple terms, and that really taught me how to understand Javascript and use it responsibly in real world situations.

Christian Heilmann’s book is just that. If you buy this book don’t expect scripts that you can just pick up and use on your site. The purpose of this book is to understand Javascript, and to get to a stage where you can create unobtrusive and maintainable Javascript.

A quick look through the code examples of the book show just how well organised and commented the code is. In fact there were times when I didn’t need to consult the book to understand what was going on.

This isn’t a book of cool Web 2.0 javascript functions. Instead it provides a much more valuable guide to using Javascript responsibly. The book covers a great deal and you will need to invest a significant amount of time to work through all of the examples.

April 23rd, 2007

It is no coincidence that Christian Heilmann has long championed Unobtrusive Javascript. He has written extensively on and a great deal of that knowledge is distilled in this book. If DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith is the starter, this book should be your main course. It is more detailed, will teach you how Javascript works and how to write responsible Javascript that will enhance a site responsibly.

I’ve already recommended this book to several back-end coders who have all commented on how good the book is. It is a get your hands dirty book so if you are not prepared to fire up the code examples and work through them then I don’t recommend it. If you are then go and buy a copy!


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