Weblogs: Javascript

DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Author: Jeremy Keith
Publisher: Friends of ED
Publish Date: September 2005

DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model. JavaScript is a much maligned language, its been the centre of blame for gaudy effects and creating one of the most inaccessible barriers known. (Can anyone really forget the first time they ever saw the earthquake effect on a browser window?). Yet, despite its misuse, JavaScript is a key ingredient to the web standards mix. Its the behaviour layer of modern we design.

Jeremy Keith's excellent book is aimed at CSS web designers. It aims to introduce modern JavaScript to an audience that has tended to avoid JavaScript, because it looks like a programming language. Its an encouraging book, written, not by a programming geek, but by someone with a fine appreciation for web design.

Unlike programming manuals which are replete with indigestible code, Jeremy takes a friendlier tack. No line of code is left unexplained. In each chapter, Jeremy takes you on a ride. You get to sit on his shoulder as he implements JavaScript powered elements, he demonstrates, guides and explains to the reader step by step.

Jeremy's explanation of the Document Object Model - the heart of all modern JavaScripting - is lucid, free of techno-babble, and instructive. He doesn't just throw the entire API at you in one go, but he explains it a piece at a time, and showing example code of how to use its many features. By the end of the book, the reader has seen most of the frequently used DOM methods and variables.

The book doesn't cover geeky topics like AJAX. An experienced JavaScript developer will find the book as a refresher text. Although I've been writing JavaScript for years, but only done serious DOM scripting over the last two years, Jeremy did teach me a few things I didn't know, as well as clarified a few issues (like how to reference the class attribute in an HTML document).

There is a reference at the back of the book, yet its a readable and scannable one. Concise, but not obtuse, descriptions of each DOM method.

If you are a designer working with web standards, and you'd like to give JavaScript and DOM Scripting a go, I heartily recommend this book. Its a useful introduction and foundation to modern JavaScripting.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Web Standards Project's DOM Scripting Task Force, co-led by Jeremy Keith. We are a collection of individuals, with our own independent opinions and thoughts. We came together because we have a common goal - promoting responsible JavaScript usage.

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