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Murach’s JavaScript and DOM Scripting

by Ray Harris
20 chapters, 764 pages, 337 illustrations
Published August 2009
ISBN 978-1-890774-55-4
Print: $38.15
List Price: $54.50 Save 30%
eBook: $31.15
List Price: $44.50 Save 30%
Print + eBook: $45.15
List Price: $64.50 Save 30%

With this book, you’ll be able to code, test, and debug your first JavaScript applications by the time you finish chapter 3! Then, chapters 4-12 build on that base to show you how to use all aspects of the JavaScript language. After that, the last 8 chapters take you to a professional level of expertise as you learn how to use JavaScript for a wide variety of DOM scripting applications.

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I’ve read a ton of books on JavaScript, and Ray Harris’ wonderful tome is perhaps THE best modern title you’ll find on the topic. The book is intelligently organized, and written in a concise fashion, with practical examples, delivered with a friendly voice that makes what can often be convoluted or confusing concepts easy to grasp for beginners."

Jason Salas, Developer, Guam

  • About this Book
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Who this book is for

This book is for anyone who needs to do client-side programming with JavaScript. Today, that includes just about anyone in either of these groups:

  • Server-side programmers who use languages like ASP, JSP, or PHP and would like to add JavaScript programming to their skill sets.
  • Web designers who use HTML and CSS and would like to build rich Internet applications (RIAs) with JavaScript and DOM scripting.

Which of our JavaScript books should you buy

When you’re ready to learn JavaScript, our first recommendation is Murach’s JavaScript and jQuery. It teaches you enough about JavaScript to get the most from jQuery, which is the JavaScript library that professionals use to add common features like slide shows, accordions, and carousels to a website.

Of course, there’s a lot more to JavaScript than using it with jQuery. So, if you want to learn more about JavaScript, Murach’s JavaScript and DOM Scripting is the right book for you. Its first two sections are good for beginners, and the last two sections take your JavaScript skills to an entirely new level.

What this book does

To present the JavaScript skills that you need in a manageable progression, this book is divided into four sections.

Section 1: Introduction to JavaScript programming

This section is designed to get you off to a fast start whether or not you have any programming experience. So chapter 2 presents a complete subset of JavaScript, and chapter 3 shows you how to use Firefox and its free Firebug extension to debug your applications. Then, in case you need them, chapters 4 and 5 present crash courses on the HTML and CSS skills that you’ll need for developing JavaScript applications...although that information is dated now that HTML5 and CSS3 are widely used.

Section 2: JavaScript essentials

In this section, you’ll learn the rest of the JavaScript essentials, including how to use arrays, functions, regular expressions, exception handling, libraries, and your own object types. Along the way, you’ll also learn advanced skills like how to use closures, recursion, and prototype-based inheritance, and how to extend built-in JavaScript objects.

The last application in this section illustrates an object-oriented approach to data validation that you can use as a model for your own applications…and you just won’t find anything like this in other books.

Section 3: DOM Scripting

To get the most from JavaScript, you need to know how to use it to manipulate the Document Object Model, or DOM. And this section shows you how to do that at an expert level. Here, you’ll learn how to manipulate both the HTML and CSS for a web page as you build applications that run slide shows, do image rollovers, use drop-down menus, rotate headlines, sort the data in tables, and provide animation.

The last application in this section is a rotating, three-dimensional carousel of images that the user can control with the mouse or keystroke combinations. And here again, you won’t find anything like this in other books.

Section 4: Other JavaScript skills

The last section in this book rounds out your professional skills by showing you how to use the objects, methods, and properties of a web browser and how to use third-party libraries like jQuery and Dojo.

Why you’ll learn faster and better with this book

Like all our books, this one has features that you won’t find in competing books. Here are just two that are unique to this JavaScript book.

  • To show you how all of the pieces of a JavaScript application work together, this book presents 20 complete applications ranging from the simple to the complex that include the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. As we see it, the only way to master JavaScript programming and DOM scripting is to study the code in applications like these. And yet, you won’t find anything like this in other JavaScript books.
  • As part of the DOM scripting section, you’ll learn how to create event handling libraries that standardize the differences in the way browsers handle the DOM events. These libraries are critical for browser compatibility because Microsoft’s Internet Explorer frequently handles DOM events differently than other browsers. These libraries also include keyboard events, which most developers avoid because there are no standards for them. In fact, the three event libraries that come with this book are so valuable that we think they pay for this book by themselves.

What software you need

A text editor

To develop JavaScript applications, you can use any text editor. However, a text editor that includes syntax coloring and auto-formatting will help you develop applications more quickly and with fewer errors. That’s why we recommend Notepad++ for Windows users and TextWrangler for Mac OS users. Both are available for free, and both can be used for editing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

A browser with debugging capabilities

To test and debug a JavaScript application, you need a web browser with debugging capabilities. For that, we recommend Mozilla Firefox and its Firebug extension. Both of these are free, and Firebug is an excellent tool for solving serious debugging problems.

Internet Explorer

Because Internet Explorer is the browser that deviates the most from the standards, you should test your applications on it too. That way, you can be sure that your applications are compatible with both Internet Explorer and DOM-compliant browsers like Firefox. Internet Explorer is installed by default on all Windows systems.

How to install these products

To help you install these products, Appendix A provides the website addresses and procedures that you’ll need. In addition, the first figure in chapter 2 provides a quick guide to using Notepad++, and chapter 3 provides a tutorial on using Firebug.

Companion books

Murach’s JavaScript and jQuery

Since every web developer today needs to know jQuery, which is a JavaScript library, Murach’s JavaScript and jQuery is the right book for learning jQuery and enough JavaScript to take advantage of jQuery. In fact, we recommend that you start your JavaScript training with this book. Then, if you want to learn more about JavaScript, you can get Murach’s JavaScript and DOM Scripting.

Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3 (Third Edition)

Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3 is the perfect companion to our JavaScript books because it shows how to develop web pages with HTML5 and CSS3. It builds on the skills that are in chapters 4 and 5 of our JavaScript and DOM Scripting book. It shows the modern way to develop web pages. And it’s the best HTML and CSS desk reference that money can buy.

What people say about this book

"If you are new to web design or an old pro like me, this book is a must-have in my opinion. I love how it starts out with the basics and then moves on to the good stuff. Each chapter is full of examples and sample code showing you how to do the most common techniques that you will face as a web developer/designer. I really liked the DOM scripting sections and how to manipulate the DOM on the fly. I have not seen a better book on the subject. This one will be on my desk for a while!"
- Shawn Jackson, Web Developer, Ft. Collins, Colorado

"I bought this book after suffering through the Head First JavaScript book. I can actually code in JavaScript after reading this book and doing the exercises, which is something I couldn’t do after Head First."
- Posted at an online bookseller

"I am a graphic artist doing web development, I’m not a programmer. Fortunately for me, and any of you out there who are like me, Ray Harris wrote this book. He speaks everyday English and doesn’t assume you know too much. His text is very clear and straightforward. This book has given me the technical knowledge I need to create dynamic web sites and understand the DOM and object-oriented programing."
- Kurt Pruhs; posted at an online bookseller

"I’m an experienced database developer who has had to move into more web programming for my current project which includes some AJAX functionality. I’ve programmed in VB, VB.NET, C#, classic asp, and ASP.NET, but never done anything but read and debug other people’s JavaScript code.

This book was great for me as it started with basics and then moved into more advanced topics. You get HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and DOM Scripting, all building on each other from basic to complex. If you are already an accomplished web developer (HTML, CSS) then you can skip those sections and dive right into JavaScripting and take off running. For a beginner, you can read from cover to cover and gain an understanding of most web programming concepts, at least from the browser side.

This is the first Murach book I’ve read and I learned to enjoy the unique format. I would also buy other Murach books based on my experience with this one."
- Jack D. Corbett, Database Developer, Wiseman-Wiseguy blog

"I bought this book to fill in the massive hole a Deitel book leaves in a college course. The two-page topic style is great. Others have commented on the Pros of this book in depth so I will only add that I have found no cons to date. I am looking into other Murach titles!"
- Posted at an online bookseller

"Kudos to Ray Harris for putting together a comprehensive book on JavaScript that can carry the novice to an expert level of development.... I help run a .NET user group with thousands of registered members and I often recommend Murach titles for those learning .NET or web technologies."
- Oliver Nguyen, Bay .NET Users Group, San Francisco

"An essential characteristic of this book, as well as the other Murach books, is that the examples, programs, and applications are all thoroughly tested. This book will work WONDERFULLY to help you build better and more robust websites!"
- Marvin Schneider, Instructor, New York

"I’ve read a ton of books on JavaScript, and Ray Harris’ wonderful tome is perhaps THE best modern title you’ll find on the topic. The book is intelligently organized, and written in a concise fashion, with practical examples, delivered with a friendly voice that makes what can often be convoluted or confusing concepts easy to grasp for beginners."
- Jason Salas, Developer, Guam

To view the table of contents for this book in a PDF, just click on the link below:

Table of Contents

Sample chapters

To get a better idea of how well this book works, you can download two of its chapters in PDF format. These chapters can also help you decide whether this is the right book for you or whether you should start with our JavaScript and jQuery book.

Chapter 2: How to develop a JavaScript application

This chapter presents a subset of JavaScript and DOM scripting that will soon have you writing significant applications. If you don’t have any programming experience, this chapter helps you test whether this is the right book for you. If you read it and can do the exercises at the end of the chapter, you’re ready for the rest of this book.

Chapter 3: How to test and debug a JavaScript application

This chapter shows you how to use the Firebug extension to the Firefox browser to test and debug your JavaScript applications. These are important skills that are omitted from competing books. And Firebug offers you some powerful features for handling this otherwise challenging task.

Chapter 2 PDF (642Kb) Download Now

Chapter 3 PDF (748Kb) Download Now

Book applications and exercises

This download includes:

  • The source code for the applications that are presented in the book
  • The starting source code for the exercises in the book

Appendix A in the book shows how to install and use these files.

Exe file for Windows (8.2Mb) Download Now

Zip file for any system (8.1Mb) Download Now

On this page, we’ll be posting answers to the questions that come up most often about this book. So if you have any questions that you haven’t found answered here at our site, please email us. Thanks!

To view the corrections for this book in a PDF, just click on this link: View the corrections

Then, if you find any other errors, please email us so we can correct them in the next printing of the book. Thank you!

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College Instructors

If you're a college instructor who would like to consider a book for a course, please visit our website for instructors to learn how to get a complimentary review copy and the full set of instructional materials.