JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 4th Ed.- Book Review - WebReference Update - 011206 | WebReference

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 4th Ed.- Book Review - WebReference Update - 011206

((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) December 6, 2001

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This week we review "JavaScript: The Definitive Guide," 4th Edition. David Flanagan's newest edition is three years in the making, and it shows. Now emphasizing standards over specific browser quirks this definitive reference should be on the shelf of every JavaScript programmer. In other news see the thumbs up on Orbitz from Internet World, and my thumbs down on Boeing's new Flash-only site and KPMG's unnecessary DHTML.

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New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. BOOK REVIEW: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 4th Ed. 2. OTHER VOICES: * Deconstructing: Orbitz.com * Information Architecture * Book Excerpt: Perl for Web Site Management 3. NET NEWS: * Boeing redesigns Web site * KPMG's DHTML * VeriSign: Are you the master of your domain? * Microsoft Research Offers Peek Into Future

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. BOOK REVIEW: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 4th Ed.

Once again David Flanagan has created the definitive reference text for JavaScript. The most popular scripting language on the Web, JavaScript is nearly ubiquitous now. The fourth edition has been updated all the way from JavaScript 1.2 in the third edition to cover JavaScript 1.5 (ECMAScript-262 Version 3), the W3C DOM standard (Levels 1 and 2), while retaining the old legacy "Level 0" DOM for backwards compatibility.

Older editions emphasized Netscape over Explorer, as Netscape had more market share. This edition has almost completely purged this emphasis, and instead focused on standards-compliance for cross- browser scripting. With the proliferation of implementations, it is no longer practical for one book to document every quirk and workaround associated with all browsers. Focusing instead on specifications instead of implementations makes this book easier to read with a longer shelf-life, and your scripts more portable and maintainable.

With the release of JavaScript 1.5, better browser support, open source JavaScript interpreters (one in C and one in Java), and its availability on a multitude of platforms, JavaScript has become a mature language. This book reflects that. The fourth edition splits the reference section into three parts. Core JavaScript, which should work anywhere. Client-side JavaScript, which deals with browser-specific language material, and the W3C DOM has a section of its own now. The DOM defines a standard API that is distinct from the legacy API of traditional client-side JavaScript. Flanagan has found that depending on the browser platforms they are targeting, developers typically use one API or the other and usually do not need to switch back and forth.

The book is huge, some 916 pages long. In order to accommodate all the new material Flanagan omitted reference pages for the trivial properties of objects. Everything is covered in the object reference page, just not twice as before. Flanagan has left out some non-cross-platform features, like Netscape's nifty .jar ARCHIVE source file attribute, which is not supported by Internet Explorer.

While not a JavaScript in 24 hours how-to, this book has plenty of illustrative examples and explanatory text. This combination of explanatory material and matching extensive reference sections make this a must-have book for any JavaScript programmer. Highly recommended.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 4th Ed. By David Flanagan O'Reilly, $44.95 ISBN: 0596000480

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/jscript4/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. OTHER VOICES: Deconstructing: Orbitz.com, Information Architecture, Book Excerpt: Perl for Web Site Management

* Deconstructing: Orbitz.com

A user-friendly travel site demonstrates the advantages of good planning and coordination. Also helps to have good prices. http://www.internetworld.com/magazine.php?inc=120101/12.01.01decon.html Internetworld, Dec. 1, 2001

* Information Architecture

Explores the origins of the phrase "information architecture" and what it means to be an info architect. http://www.gslis.utexas.edu/~l38613dw/readings/InfoArchitecture.html UT Austin, Feb. 2001

* Book Excerpt: Perl for Web Site Management

Learn to do everyday tasks on your Web site using Perl - even if you have no programming background. Whether you're a developer, a designer, or simply a dabbler on the Web, this is the hands-on introduction to Perl you've been waiting for. An excerpt from Chapter 8: "Parsing Web Access Logs. http://wdvl.internet.com/Authoring/Languages/Perl/Manage/ WDVL.com, Dec. 4, 2001

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***********************************************************adv.*** ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Boeing redesigns Web site, KPMG's DHTML, VeriSign: Are you the master of your domain?, Microsoft Research Offers Peek Into Future

* Boeing redesigns Web site

Boeing has revamped their web site, claiming access for all. While the new design looks good, it requires Flash and JavaScript. Turning plugins off still sends me to the Flash page. This all- Flash design is part of a disturbing trend that excludes many users from accessing information easily. http://www.boeing.com/ http://wichita.bcentral.com/wichita/stories/2001/12/03/daily29.html Wichita Business Journal, Dec. 5, 2001

* KPMG's DHTML

Speaking of redesigns, seen KPMG.com lately? The company that designed their site for Razorfish claims an "innovative use of DHTML" as one of the highlights of the site. The "innovative" DHTML is a rectangular cursor follower that just slows down the page and doesn't add anything to ease of use. Now those DHTML menus, that's another story :) Also see the don't-link-to-us story. http://www.camworld.com/ http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,48874,00.html http://www.kpmg.com/ Camworld.com, Dec. 5, 2001

* VeriSign: Are you the master of your domain?

VeriSign on Thursday plans to introduce services that help guard companies' brands online, diversifying its own revenue in the face of a potential lag in its Internet registrar business. http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,5100375,00.html ZDNet, Dec. 6, 2001

* Microsoft Research Offers Peek Into Future Trends of faster processors, abundant memory, and massive storage are providing the framework to support systems that work more intimately with people, from sorting your e-mail, to speaking in your own voice, to providing Star Trek holodeck-quality graphics sooner than you might think. http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,74206,00.asp PC World, Dec. 6. 2001

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

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

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