Brilliant Javascript

Author: Ken Bluttman
Publisher: Prentice Hall, 2008
Pages: 276
ISBN: 978-0273721536
Aimed at: Beginners who already know HTML
Rating: 3
Pros: Attractive format
Cons: Starts off too slowly then goes to fast and too far
Reviewed by: Mike James

This really is a book for the beginner and it's bright, colourful and uses big print in an effort not to frighten the reader. Mostly this works but the program listings are still not as good as they could be. There is a tendency to give complete listings with the JavaScript embedded within HTML. Sometimes this is appropriate but on other occasions it makes things confusing. The program listings are also displayed with a narrow line length and haven't been formatted to tidy up the wrapped lines.

It starts off nice and slowly and settles into a pace that will suit even the most innocent beginner. The problem is that you can't really use big examples at this early stage and there isn't much scope for motivating the reader who doesn't really see why they should bother with scripting. It also assumes that while Javascript might be a problem for you, HTML is something you know and doesn't really need explaining. It also doesn't tackle the difficult problem of how you should create your JavaScript programs. It presents a listing and expects you to know how to type it in, save it and run it. There is also no real discussion of the distinction between JavaScript that is served or just loaded from the file system. Again I think the assumption is that the reader knows about HTML and web servers but needs to be introduced to JavaScript.

The main problem with this book is that it progresses too fast and without considering what suquence of topics might suit a beginner. After the basics we are quickly introduced to conditional logic and a huge switch statement - there are lots of other ideas and statements that could be tackled before this. From here the book becomes increasingly task-oriented and tends to teach Javascript by introducing small examples. Given the point it starts from it also goes a bit too far with the obligatory chapter on Ajax techniques at the end.

Overall the book is probably not going to suit a complete beginner and if you do have the grasp of HTML that it assumes you could probably learn JavaScript from a more technical approach. You can probably learn sufficient JavaScript from this book  to get you started on a more technical, and quicker, approach.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 September 2009 )