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JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  2,205 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Since 1996, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide has been the bible for JavaScript programmers—a programmer's guide and comprehensive reference to the core language and to the client-side JavaScript APIs defined by web browsers. The 6th edition covers HTML5 and ECMAScript 5, with new chapters on jQuery and server side JavaScript. It's recommended for experienced programmers wh ...more
Paperback, 6th Edition, 1100 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by O'Reilly Media, Incorporated (first published 1996)
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Rami Burpee
Jun 24, 2013 Rami Burpee rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
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
Aug 19, 2007 Rob rated it really liked it
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
Jun 24, 2011 Thadd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 18, 2007 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: geeks
Everything you need to know about JavaScript. And a rhino on the cover for the kids.
Jul 16, 2012 Alpha rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech
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
Oct 20, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
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.
May 25, 2012 Rex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Vladimir Rybalko
Aug 19, 2016 Vladimir Rybalko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is enough old but still useful. It's a full complex guide to wide and excellent javascript world. Obviously, that some chapters are already outdated in our rapidly changing world. However chapters about the core JS principles will be actually forever. Easy to read, easy to use. The definitive glossary in the end is really good. Perhaps it will be my desk book for the next few months.
Ali Torki
Jul 20, 2016 Ali Torki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book has been perfect for learning the javascript for beginners...
Sai Reddy
Dec 28, 2015 Sai Reddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good reference material for experienced and budding JavaScript programmers. Covers the latest APIs of HTML5/ES6 as well
May 04, 2017 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive JavaScript reference.
Taylor Young
Feb 20, 2017 Taylor Young rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent reference for those looking to explore the depths of JavaScript. Every little intimate detail of JavaScript is covered by the author in this comprehensive review of the scripting language. It has been a great tool for me when doing web development work, or when I am looking to expand my knowledge on certain concepts. Certainly not a book for beginners, this guide is more for those who have prior development experience.
Jun 04, 2014 caisah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 18, 2016 Book rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is very extensive and thorough JavaScript book, which can be used as reference book but also can be read from beginning to end for someone completely new in the field.

The first 12 chapters provides rich introduction into the history of JavaScript and the core language functionality, following 10 chapters are about Client-Side JavaScript and last 300 pages are Core and Client-side JavaScript Reference.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide will teach you developing in J
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
Mar 21, 2012 Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 04, 2014 Haoran.yi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Anton Antonov
Feb 07, 2016 Anton Antonov rated it it was ok
JS is changing too fast and too soon to make use of this book.

Even if the newest edition comes out today, tomorrow you'll read about 5 new technologies that you'll try out.

The good thing is that the definitive guide tries to be up to date with latest ES specification and most popular DOM APIs.

The bad thing is that it fights an uphill battle.

This format doesn't work.

Short and specific books such as the ones in "You Don't know JS" are easier to write, publish and maintain.
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.
Feb 13, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: web-development
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.
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.
Erik Mattheis
Jan 25, 2015 Erik Mattheis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 19, 2011 Brian rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Mar 16, 2013 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 15, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programacion
Es dificil dar una opinión objetiva con este libro dado que javascript realmente no me gustó. Además, me parece que el libro no me facilitó la tarea del aprendizaje. Se me hizo desordenado (y aburrido). Aunque he de reconocer que la portada me gustó mucho.
Jul 28, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the structure of the book. how it builds up from basics into complexity. How clear things are. The basics are tackled in the first half, and in the second half he covers practical matters, such as making canvas draws. It is thick, but worth the read.
May 06, 2012 Snowmeister rated it it was amazing
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!
Jan 26, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
The only book to read, if you're looking to go from being a so-so front-end developer, to really understanding how to leverage the power of client-side code in an efficient way. I know javascript well, but this book never leaves my desk.
Sep 26, 2012 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference
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.
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