Designing with JavaScript, 2nd Ed. - Book Review - WebReference Update - 011129 | WebReference

Designing with JavaScript, 2nd Ed. - Book Review - WebReference Update - 011129

((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) November 29, 2001

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This week we review Nick Heinle's newest book, "Designing with JavaScript" 2nd Ed. Co-authored with Bill Pena, this book skips the dry stuff and dives right into the practical. Useful (albeit simplified) scripts abound, that you can insert into your pages to liven things up. In other news Macy's doubled their conversion rate mainly through an intelligent search engine upgrade, and Microsoft's new XP OS steals 20% of your bandwidth. I thought the idea was to make you *more* productive.

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New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. BOOK REVIEW: Designing with JavaScript, 2nd Ed. 2. OTHER VOICES: * Macy's Doubles Conversion Rate * Web Designers Should Stop Searching * Google may let surfers rank search results 3. NET NEWS: * Bush Signs 2-Year Tax Ban Extension * WinXP steals your bandwidth

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. BOOK REVIEW: Designing with JavaScript, 2nd Ed.

Most JavaScript books force you to slog through reams of reference material before you get to the good stuff. This book is not one of them. Nick Heinle, former WebReference expert and WebCoder.com wunderkind, and Bill Pena have updated Heinle's first edition into O'Reilly's patented Web Studio style intro to JavaScript.

Aimed at beginning to intermediate scripters, DWJ2 skips the dry stuff and dives right into practical real-world examples of useful scripts you can easily add to your own pages. Everything from simple descriptive links and remotes to frames, form validation and arrays, through sniffing, rollovers, personalization through cookies, and more advanced topics are covered.

A brief DHTML chapter follows, with some simplified examples of drop-down menus (non-hierarchical), sliding tabs, and scrolling layers with clipping, useful for news feeds.

The advanced chapter covers object-oriented scripting and shows how to create a quiz to test your readers. Relational select menus illustrate using two-dimensional arrays nicely. (2-level, similar to ours)

I especially enjoyed the section on cross-browser style objects, where the authors demonstrate the use of Netscape's xbStyle object. xbStyle is a simple abstraction layer that removes the complexity of accessing style properties. Using xbStyle you can grab, hide, and move layers without worrying about implementation details of specific browsers.

The coolest thing about xbStyle is the layer grabbing technique. xbStyle implements a W3C-like document.getElementById() method for 4.0 browsers! For these older browsers, xbStyle redefines this method, to make its use seamless for scripters manipulating layers (DIVs). This example demonstrates the leveraging power of a well- executed API. This book is a good intro by example to JavaScript.

Designing with JavaScript, 2nd Ed. By Nick Heinle & Bill Pena O'Reilly, $34.95 ISBN: 156592360X

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/designjs2/

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. OTHER VOICES: Macy's Doubles Conversion Rate, Web Designers Should Stop Searching, Google may let surfers rank search results

* Macy's Doubles Conversion Rate

Macys.com since early summer has more than doubled the rate at which it converts site visitors into buyers. Rather than try to match shoppers' search requests against a text catalog of goods, IntuiFind 4 runs keywords through "linguistic module" software that corrects spelling mistakes or translates phonetically similar keywords to the terminology in the product database.

http://www.internetwk.com/story/INW20011128S0004 Internet Week, Nov. 28, 2001

* Web Designers Should Stop Searching To satisfy surfers, online content must be easy to find - without that pesky search engine. http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,73103,00.asp PC World, Nov. 27, 2001

* Google may let surfers rank search results

Two weeks ago, Google began quietly testing a Web page voting system that, for the first time on a large scale, could eventually let Web surfers help determine the popularity of sites ranked by the company's search engine. http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7986789.html News.com, Nov. 27, 2001

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Bush Signs 2-Year Tax Ban Extension, WinXP steals your bandwidth

* Bush Signs 2-Year Tax Ban Extension

As expected and with a simple statement declaring that holiday shoppers will not be burdened by new taxes on their online purchases, President Bush has signed a two-year extension of the ban on new Internet taxes. Happy shopping.

http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article/0,,4_930721,00.html Internetnews.com, Nov. 29, 2001

* WinXP steals your bandwidth

Windows XP helps itself to 20 per cent of your bandwidth. The culprit is the QoS (quality of service) packet scheduler, which is intended to preserve some available bandwidth for important applications and in order to maintain network performance.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/23090.html The Register, Nov. 29, 2001

That's it for this week, see you next time.

Andrew King Newsletter Editor, WebReference.com aking@internet.com

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