Book Review : DOM Scripting - Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith's book is an excellent, gentle introduction to applying dynamic effects to websites using Javascript and the DOM. Covering best practices and techniques that degrade gracefully this is a must read.

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Five out of Five
Five out of Five

I was lucky enough to get a foot in the door at a web agency around four years ago. It was there that I learnt about Web Standards, Accessibility and most of the skills I use day to day. Time did conspire against me a little in that during most of that time Javascript was simply a dirty word. The message was that Javascript was bad for screen readers and accessibility in general and it shouldn’t be used. It also meant that my Javascript skills extended little beyond alert(‘monkey’);.

Picking up Jeremy Keith’s book I was looking for a gentle introduction to Javascript; one that wouldn’t insult me, but that would guide me through a relatively unfamiliar realm. Coming from CSS and XHTML I have a good understanding of the DOM and was keen to see how I could apply that knowledge. Happily I got exactly what I was looking for. Jeremy goes over the basics of Javascript syntax first before using an example of an image gallery to show Javascript and the DOM in action together. Once you understand how it all works it is time to add the cherry of best practice on top. Graceful Degradation, Progressive Enhancement and Unobtrusive Javascript are all introduced as concepts and explained clearly and thoroughly.

This isn’t a book that is going to fill the gaps in my Javascript skill set. But it has given me a good grounding in the principles of Unobtrusive Javascript and separating Structure, Style and Behaviour. I’d thoroughly recommend this book to anyone looking to understand what you can do with the DOM and Javascript. It is a well thought out book, clearly explained with some excellent practical examples.


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