O’Reilly news

Fourth Edition of the "Must-Have" Javascript Book Released By O'Reilly

January 2, 2002

Sebastopol, CA--JavaScript has earned its place in the web developer's toolkit, to the extent that now it's considered required knowledge for today's web developers. "It's become common enough that you can't work with the Web and not encounter JavaScript code," says David Flanagan, author of the just-released fourth edition of JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly, US $44.95). Flanagan adds, "Some developers can get by with just a cut-and-paste or cookbook knowledge of JavaScript, but in the long run, I think it is worth taking the time to learn the language."

JavaScript is a powerful, object-based scripting language; JavaScript programs can be embedded directly into HTML web pages. When combined with the Document Object Model (DOM) defined by a web browser, JavaScript allows developers to create Dynamic HTML content and interactive client-side web applications. Because JavaScript syntax is based on the popular programming languages C, C++, and Java, it is familiar and easy to learn for experienced programmers. At the same time, JavaScript is an interpreted scripting language, providing a flexible, forgiving programming environment in which new programmers can learn.

Since the release of its first edition in 1996, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide has been considered the must-have reference for JavaScript programmers. The fourth edition of the book includes the same comprehensive coverage as earlier editions, but has been carefully updated to cover JavaScript 1.5 (ECMAScript Version 3). It also provides complete coverage of the W3C DOM standard (Level 1 and Level 2) while retaining material on the legacy Level 0 DOM for backward compatibility.

"Platform independence is a theme that runs throughout the book," says Flanagan. "The early editions of my book leaned heavily towards Netscape's implementations, for the key reason that they were the primary innovators of the language. That Netscape-centricity has diminished with each subsequent edition, and it is mostly gone from this one. That is not to say that I've switched over to Internet Explorer-centricity. Instead, the newest edition focuses on standards and not on individual implementations: the ECMAScript version 3 standard for the core JavaScript language, and the W3C DOM standard for client-side JavaScript.

"Another big change in the book is a structural one," Flanagan adds. "I've split the reference section into three distinct parts. The first part documents core JavaScript objects, methods, and properties. Because JavaScript is being used in environments other than web browsers, it is useful to keep this material separate from the client-side material. The second reference section documents the legacy client-side material, sometimes known as the Level O DOM. This material has not changed much from the third edition, and it will be comfortingly familiar to readers of that edition. The third reference section is all new: it covers the objects, methods, and properties defined by Level 1 and Level 2 of the W3C DOM standards."

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide will be particularly useful for developers working with the latest standards-compliant web browsers, such as Internet Explorer 6, Netscape 6, and Mozilla. HTML authors can learn how to use JavaScript to build dynamic web pages, while experienced programmers can quickly find the information they need to start writing sophisticated JavaScript programs. The book will be an indispensable guide for JavaScript programmers, regardless of their level of experience.

What the critics said about the previous edition:

"An excellent programmer's guide and reference manual."

"Interested in learning JavaScript? This book teaches it in a clear and concise manner."
--Wendy Willard, A Web-Design Teacher's Recommended Reading List, May 2001

"Flanagan has collected, and presents, a good deal of solid information about JavaScript. Flanagan presents all kinds of information about the oddities of the language, weird behaviors that arise from interpretations of variables and operators. The book reveals the internals of the language (or languages, given the number of variants), which are bewildering in their complexity."
--Robert M. Slade, Internet Review Project, May 2000

"In typical O'Reilly & Associates fashion, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide documents every nuance of the JavaScript 1.1 language specification. This is the book you'll pull off your shelf when you want to know which method returns the primitive value of an object."
--Stephen W. Plain and Brooke Gilbert, Amazon.com Computer Editors, March 2000

"A must-have for serious JavaScript programmers."
--Writers Write: the Internet Writing Journal, March 2000

"This book stands out in the field of JavaScript books for its disciplined, thorough approach to the JavaScript language. While it would most likely disappoint a non-programmer who simply wants to dabble in JavaScript, for those who want to go beyond copying code to create their own applications, it's hard to beat O'Reilly & Associates' JavaScript:The Definitive Guide."
--Kief Morris, Web Developers Journal, January 10, 1999

"JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is a rapid and thorough exposition of the JavaScript programming language, as well as an in-depth reference covering each JavaScript function, object, method, and handler. Experienced programmers will quickly find the information they need to start writing JavaScript programs."
--Stephen Plain and Teri Kieffer, Amazon.com Delivers Web Development, August 31, 2000

Online Resources:

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
By David Flanagan
Fourth Edition, January 2002
ISBN 0-596-00048-0, 916 pages, $44.95 (US)

About O’Reilly

O’Reilly, the premier learning platform for technology professionals, offers the industry’s most extensive catalog of high-quality technical and professional skills development courses. From AI, programming, and cloud technologies to essential business skills such as leadership training and critical thinking, O’Reilly delivers highly trusted content from its network of renowned experts that meets a diverse array of learning needs, with over 5,000 role-based on-demand courses, nearly 200 live events each month, access to interactive sandboxes and labs, and more. For more information, visit www.oreilly.com.

Email a link to this press release