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DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript & DOM



DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript & DOM

With so much focus on coding for the server side, it s easy to forget the dynamic complexity that has evolved on the client side of Web application programming. Some developers mistakenly believe that all the action is on the server and the client is simply a dumb, static presentation layer. Thanks to the innovative efforts of high-profile sites like Google Maps, the power of the rich client browser interface is drumming up interest once again in cross-platform-capable rich Web interactivity. Terms like Remote Scripting and acronyms like AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and technologies like XMLHTTP are once again capturing the creative imaginations of Web-savvy developers and designers alike.


However, mastering this technology is as challenging as comprehending the multitude of possibilities. Fortunately, author Stuart Langridge has dug into the inner workings of DHTML manipulation via JavaScript and the DOM (Document Object Model) and, at least for developers already fluent in JavaScript and object-based programming, cuts straight to the chase with this intermediate-level title.


Like most commercial tech instruction books, DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript & DOM begins with a brief history on the evolution of the HTML, DHTML, JavaScript, and DOM technologies. But unlike its peers, it quickly dispenses with any notion of hand-holding readers through the basics. Instead, author Stuart Langridge assumes the reader is already a JavaScript practitioner seeking to leverage the emergence of hip new approaches. After this introduction, Stuart moves quickly through DOM (and how to handle DOM events) to browser detection via the more advantageous DOM way versus the old-fashioned browser sniffing method that, in the words of the author, should be avoided like the black plague.


Other chapters discuss DHTML-driven animation, forms validation, and dynamic menu management. It s not until Chapter 8 on remote scripting and especially Chapter 9 on server communication that things get really interesting. After a brief review of approaches, Mr. Langridge demonstrates how DHTML JavaScript code can dance with a data pump on the server side to dynamically update a page without refreshing its entire slate, the same way that Google Maps works, for example. The book concludes with the acknowledgement that XPath could offer a considerably better mechanism to traverse and manipulate the DOM because of its XML-centric contextual intentions and the technology already constructed to more efficiently traverse XML documents while minimizing the amount of coding necessary to execute the desired outcomes. Timely examples include the parsing of RSS 1.0 feeds and the construction of a blogroll.


For those developers seeking a fast-track motivational tool to infuse excitement and understanding in this untapped technology, this book will delightfully satisfy that expectation.


Mike Riley



Title: DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript & DOM

Author: Stuart Langridge

Publisher: SitePoint

ISBN: 0-9579218-9-6

Web Site:

Price: US$39.95

Page Count: 332 pages



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