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Javascript: The Definitive Guide: The Definitive Guide
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Javascript: The Definitive Guide: The Definitive Guide

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,580 ratings  ·  67 reviews
JavaScript is a powerful scripting language that can be embedded directly in HTML. It allows you to create dynamic, interactive Web-based applications that run completely within a Web browser; you don't have to do any server-side programming, like writing CGI scripts.
JavaScript is a simpler language than Java. It can be embedded directly in Web pages without compilation, s
Paperback, 3rd Edition, 776 pages
Published June 8th 1998 by O'Reilly Media (first published 1996)
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Nov 19, 2012 Rob rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: webdev ninjas
This book has been on my shelf for five years. I use it every week; I should probably know more by now but this book always has exactly what I need to jumpstart me through whatever brain-fart froze me up in the first place.

It has earned the nickname: El Rhino Diablo!

---- Updated for Sixth Edition ----

I continue to hold this book in high esteem, and the Sixth Edition is a huge improvement over the old edition that I had. You can tell that Flanagan put a lot of thoughtful work into the re-write. I
Rami Burpee
ugh. This book was suggested by the reddit popular "How to learn javascript properly" program as a good way for total noobs to learn javascript. This book is horrible for learning how to program. It is an excellent Javascript reference book, but it's not something to just sit down and read straight through. I can barely get through a few pages at a time without my brain feeling fried. It goes into the minutiae of every aspect of the language but rarely ever explains why anyone should care or any ...more
Sep 18, 2007 Al rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: geeks
Everything you need to know about JavaScript. And a rhino on the cover for the kids.
It took me a month to read through the book.

The core JavaScript part is comprehensive but a little bit boring, but the problem is caused by the language, not the book. Since JavaScript is a bad language, any other authors couldn't do much better.

In the client-side part, some topics (Window, DOM, CSS, Events) are explained very well; some others (Ajax, jQuery, SVG, HTML5) are shallow.

The two reference parts are not so necessary, because online references could serve better.

I am a little confused
The best use for this book is as reference, and mainly for people who already have some programming experience.

I've started reading it as the main source for "Learn JavaScript the proper way" tutorial I found on reddit. So I haven't covered all the chapters or followed the order. What stroke me first was the level of detail. Every chapter squeezes almost all there is to say about the subject, from core js concepts to DOM scripting. This is why reading a whole chapter at once can become daunting
Stephan Renkens
JavaScript is the programming language of the Web. It is the first sentence of this impressive reference by David Flanagan. In fact I think that it is an overstatement. JavaScript only can claim this qualification because every internet browser has an implementation built in, making that JavaScript is the only way to do client side programming. Yet client side programming is in my opinion not the principle way to make dynamic web sites. For dynamic web sites server side programming has my prefer ...more
800+ pages of pure raw information. I guess I don't like information...I like *insight.* I learned tremendously more from reading the O'Rielly "Javascript Web Applications" in a much shorter time period. Whenever a book gets this thick, it is likely you can do better by reading several smaller books which concentrate on sub-topics than a single monolithic tome. As for reference - Google is faster than cracking this thing open and trying to figure it out from there.
Anyone doing web development should have this book on their shelf. It is a fantastic resource detailing every facet of the JavaScript language and the DOM. Sure, you could find all of this information online through some Google searching, but it is very nice to have a single resource to turn to when you have a question. There are many, many sample implementations and answers to some common gotchas throughout.
Although this book has every object method and property in it, the limited number of examples aren't very good. This title needs more step-by-step instructions and more examples. Unfortunately, the limited number of examples don't have any illustrations, making it harder to understand them.
Javascript is a language of freedom. Just like anything that is free, which is good (of course), but they can also be abused. Abused freedom is not good. This book talks about the good limits that should be enforced in the realm the js freedom.

I was learning js for my work in the past few months. And this is the first js book that i have ever read, which I fell lucky, because it teaches me the good habbits of programming js from the beginning.
Žilvinas Navickas
Everything is perfect about this book, except for some uncertain things not described like Client-side JavaScript does not exhibit the nonlinear cross-reference problem and it was mentioned that it's recommended to read book from start to end but some chapters are too easy to understand and some are too hard. Overall this book is great, recommended for beginners.
Carl-Erik Kopseng
I don't see the relevance for this book.
If you need a reference on a topic, then googling "mdn array" will give you more up-to-date and relevant info faster than turning to this book.
If you need a teaching tool - ANYTHING beats this book. I would recommend "Test Driven Javascript" by Johansen (a better version of Crockford's "Good parts" book).

After reading the first few chapters, skimming some more I realised "The Definitive Guide" was exactly the kind of book I hate: the bible kind (as in "Th
Illia Olenchenko
Even after a few pages i understood that this book is good for my lvl. I have meshed up knowledge in lang before, and after reading i feel my knowledge more structured and upgraded. Title is very good enough - truly Defenitive Guide.
Good, comprehensive guide. Covers many details that are really the language essences. Must have. Must read.
its a wonderful book. It contains everything what you need to understand the language JS. I recommend.
Pretty much everything that you want to know about Javascript.
Farooq Haider
best book to learn javascript
I've been a fan of this book since at least its second edition. It does more than cover the core JavaScript language and goes into details about using JavaScript in the context of a web browser client.

This is a great place to start for anyone new to JavaScript. It's also an important book for seasoned JavaScript developers to revisit over the years and keep up with the changes in usage patterns and the language/browser object models.
Jul 17, 2008 Leslie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, web-dev
I don't "do" Javascript to speak of. I bought this book as a reference for those times when I need to look something up. The O'Reilly books are generally very good for that purpose, but with this one you really have to know JS at least a little to be able to use it as a reference. It's probably a decent textbook, but I haven't read it in that capacity, so I'll have to reserve judgement.
Erik Mattheis
I read this as a refresher for the stuff I already knew and in hopes I'[d pick up on some advanced topics like functional programming. For me the refresher part was great. Chapter 9: Classes and Modules was way over my head and seemed to assume the reader had experience in similar techniques in other languages.
I read this book as I was working through all of the HTML5, CSS, Javascript and jQuery modules on The book can benefit from architecture diagrams of core web components and the overlaying frameworks that simplify their use. A worthwhile book if you are immersing yourself in this technology.
Super reference for JavaScript.
I'm always skeptical of programming books over 500 pages, but the mix of language details with non-trivial examples in this book made the whole read a blast. Just the first 350 pages or so completely changed the way I looked at JS in general. Definitely recommended for the serious JS developer.
Daniel Ross
Do not code JavaScript without "the Rhino Book." Please. On the reference end it's definitive. On the tutorial end it's just as good; reading it will really give you a feel for the real multi-paradigm, dynamic, shockingly expressive language lurking beneath the language's deceivingly c-like veneer.
Provides a rapid and thorough exposition of the JavaScript programming language, as well as an in-depth reference section covering each JavaScript function, object, method, and even handler. Experienced programmers will quickly find the information they need to start writing JavaScript programs.
The rhino book is a reference book. Please treat it like one. I don't think the content is any sort of dramatic revelation about JavaScript, but when you can't remember random things like the exact syntax of a math function, then this book is a good item to have around.
Harit Himanshu
This is my first book for Javascript and I am so amazed with the details of the language described in the book, with such simple words.

I have completed first 8 chapters and I feel that I can really read any Javascript code with confidence, and start to write it
Should have read this all the way through a long time ago, after nearly 10 years of coding with JavaScript this book connected the rest of the dot-to-dot I had conjured up in my mind. This particular version is a bit dated but it was still worth my time.
This is a "must have" book for any professional web developer. While it has to be said that standards move more quickly than editions are published, this is should still be the mandatory reference book for all JavaScript developers. Essential!
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