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JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,742 ratings  ·  97 reviews
This Fifth Edition is completely revised and expanded to cover JavaScript as it is used in today's Web 2.0 applications. This book is both an example-driven programmer's guide and a keep-on-your-desk reference, with new chapters that explain everything you need to know to get the most out of JavaScript, including:

Scripted HTTP and Ajax XML processing Client-side graphics u
Paperback, 5th Edition, 1032 pages
Published August 24th 2006 by O'Reilly Media (first published 1996)
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 ·  2,742 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Rami Burpee
Jun 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: geeks
Everything you need to know about JavaScript. And a rhino on the cover for the kids.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Vladimir Rybalko
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
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.
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Sai Reddy
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very good reference material for experienced and budding JavaScript programmers. Covers the latest APIs of HTML5/ES6 as well
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Wilson Jimenez
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: web-development

Unopinionated guide of pretty much every JS detail, it doesn't get into many suggestions on JS features to avoid or anything like it, the purpose is to explore the complete breadth and depth of the language available to you (up until ES5). I don't think it's a learn-to-program guide to complete beginners, for instance, not like Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke.

I feel the book should've covered the event loop which is fundamental in order to completely understand JavaScript's sin
May 25, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Pavel Shchegolevatykh
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book to learn the basics of ES5. It covers almost every topic. Though it feels a bit dated in 2017. All the topics and aspects of the language and client side API covered with equal importance and volume, even parts you would never use these days. I believe this makes the book larger than it should be.
Ali Torki
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
this book has been perfect for learning the javascript for beginners...
Nassim Daoud
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was amazing at the time now it needs to be updated.
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This is one of the best modern JavaScript language references/guides I've encountered. If it's not definitive, it's likely closer than any other book out there. I wouldn't recommend it to a beginning coder--that's not really what this is for. If you have some coding experience, it is a perfect companion to any guided tutorial or structured class focusing on JavaScript. I expect I will refer to it back as I continue to immerse myself in future JavaScript coding projects.
Tech Nomad
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very good comprehensive and systematic overview of the JavaScript (ES5) language. I didn't read the book from the beginning to the end. I did this with Jon Duckett's JavaScript book. But every time I missed something there I could find an answer in this book. The language used by the author is quite dry but for my needs it was perfect.

I'm excited about the upcoming 2020 edition.
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bit outdated for today's web standards but still decent. A must see after reading it is: ...more
Gabor Zelenak
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
definitely a must have book
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
David Enoch
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the finest I have ever read in the world of computer programming
Saleh Rahimzadeh
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive and sophisticated book to learn JavaScript and HTML API DOM.
Taras Chornyi
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was very hard to read about technologies that were used before I was born,but as honorable engineer I read it totally and I don’t get bold.
Cezary Piątek
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most comprehensive books about JavaScript. I learned a lot from reading it many years ago.
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
great book, but got irrelevant so quickly - time to read 7th edition
Justin Smith
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably should have been two books. The section on JavaScript is worthwhile but the tour of web development and node felt tiresome and incomplete. I started tuning out around the last three chapters. Still a great read though.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book 'Javascript: The Definitive Guide' by David Flanagan is a great book that does a great job explaining the aspects of Javascript. From how to integrate Javascript into your webpage to how to make classes and methods this book has you covered. For example, when I just started reading this book, I was trying to make a website login form with XML. But, page 479 had me covered. It said, "var request = new ActiveXObject('Msxml2.XMLHTTP')" and this taught me more about how to use GET methods i ...more
Taylor Young
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
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