Book Review: <i>Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting</i>

JavaScript is a very popular client side scripting language. It has the ability to perform simple to complex calculations, animate objects, track user input and much more. Even though there are lots of tutorials on the web which explain the usage of JavaScript, let us look at what Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting (www.murach.com/books/mdom/index.htm) book has to offer for programmers. Authored by Ray Harris, a well known authority on JavaScript, the book which is divided into four sections, provides a detailed overview of all concepts.

Section 1 provides a basic introduction to web development, JavaScript, and the steps required to test and debug a JavaScript application, including a crash course in XHTML and CSS. The chapters in section 2 help you to learn about numbers, strings, dates, control statements, arrays, functions, and objects. This chapter also explains the usage of regex, exceptions, and data validation. A key feature of the book is that the author provides several code examples while discussing each concept. These examples can help programmers to code better in different scenarios. For instance, on page 283, the author explains six ways to work with the if clause.

Section 3 delves deep into all the essential aspects of DOM scripting ,including event handling, DOM manipulation, and animation. You will also learn the usage of CSS tables and forms in JavaScript. The author has followed a uniform approach to discussing the topics and uses screenshots to give you the feel of a "hands-on" learning experience. The author clearly presents attributes, methods, and other key functionalities in tabular format. Moreover, each section ends with a detailed explanation in bulleted format.

The final section helps you to learn the different methods of controlling a web browser ,including the usage of JavaScript libraries such as jQuery, Dojo, and Dijits. The book also contains an appendix that helps you to install tools such as NotePad++, TextWrangler, FireFox and Firebug. The author has also provided exercises with the required hints at the end of each chapter. I would suggest the author to make available the answer keys for questions in PDF format on the website so that students can verify their answers quickly.

The book will be useful for developers who have sufficient time to master the discussed concepts. Advanced developers should be able to jump directly to the required topic without going through the initial chapters. However, the total time required for grasping the material will vary depending upon the skill level of learners. From my point of view, the book's content is somewhat complicated but is well suited for a long-term technical course with a minimum duration of four months.

The publisher has posted two sample chapters (www.murach.com/books/mdom/iguide.htm) and also developed a CD for instructors that contains PowerPoint slides, project ideas and much more. These materials should create a unique learning experience if used properly. Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting is undoubtedly a comprehensive reference manual for JavaScript enthusiasts.

About the Book

Title: Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting
Author: Ray Harris
Pages: 764 pages
ISBN: 978-1-890774-55-4
Price: $54.50
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Reviewed by Anand Narayanaswamy ([email protected]), a Microsoft MVP who works as an independent consultant based in Trivandrum, India. He is the author of Community Server Quickly (Packt Publishing) and runs http://www.learnxpress.com/ and http://www.dotnetalbum.com/.

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