Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “JavaScript: The Definitive Guide” as Want to Read:
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,556 ratings  ·  91 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about JavaScript, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about JavaScript

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,556 ratings  ·  91 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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.
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-dev

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 singl
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This book accomplishes its goal: to be a comprehensive reference to Core JavaScript. However, Flanagan tries to write the book in a way that would be beneficial to those that have never studied computer science (describing what a string is, or describing what an integer is, etc.) This is contrasted by the fact that there is a significant lack of example code, or practice problems. I only read ~150 pages of this book and then looked for another resource, as I knew I wasn't absorbing all of the in ...more
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.
Ali Torki
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
this book has been perfect for learning the javascript for beginners...
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
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.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nassim Daoud
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was amazing at the time now it needs to be updated.
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:
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive JavaScript reference.
Gabor Zelenak
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
definitely a must have book
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.
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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 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 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • CSS: The Definitive Guide
  • JavaScript Patterns
  • High Performance JavaScript
  • Programming Perl
  • Html5: Up and Running: Dive Into the Future of Web Development
  • Programming PHP
  • jQuery: Novice to Ninja
  • JavaScript Web Applications
  • HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide
  • PHP Cookbook
  • jQuery Cookbook: Solutions & Examples for jQuery Developers
  • Mastering Regular Expressions
  • JavaScript: The Good Parts
  • jQuery in Action
  • Learning Perl
  • Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference: The Definitive Reference
  • JavaScript & jQuery: The Missing Manual
  • Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook (Pioneering Series)
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
“JavaScript derives its syntax from Java, its first-class functions from Scheme, and its prototype-based inheritance from Self. But” 0 likes
“JavaScript is not a functional programming language like Lisp or Haskell, but the fact that JavaScript can manipulate functions as objects means that we can use functional programming techniques in JavaScript.” 0 likes
More quotes…