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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    JavaScript Books Help

    Ok guys and girls, I'd like your help on which JavaScript books to buy! After what seems like hours of searching, reading reviews, looking at tables of contents and contemplating I've decided that I'll read some more...Read what you guys (and girls) think.

    I've created my own shortlist (although it's not very short lawl) of what I think I may be happy with purchasing and reading through. If there's a book you know on JavaScript / DOM Scripting that I should definately buy that I haven't listed in this shortlist or haven't listed in the list of books I already have then please tell me. It's a fairly long shortlist really, a longlist I guess, but I don't know what I'm doing and the books listed below seem to be in my range / level.

    Feel free to suggest / recommend a list of books from this list as I won't just be buying one. Unless there is one book that covers absolutely everything these is to know about beginners JS (you know, basically everything JS excluding the OOP side) in which case I'll finally buy one last book on JS and not need to spend anymore! All of the links go to Amazon.co.uk so you can see the prices in UK British pounds - my budget is around 100, maybe 150 as I'll get some of the books for my birthday and pay for anymore with my own money.

    Books I Currently Own
    - DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model
    - Simply JavaScript
    - DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript & DOM
    - The JavaScript Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks
    - The Art & Science of JavaScript

    My Shortlist
    - JavaScript: The Missing Manual: The book that should have been in the box
    - JavaScript, A Beginner's Guide, 3rd Edition
    - JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 6th Edition (Publish Date: May 2010)
    - JavaScript: The Good Parts
    - JavaScript Step by Step Book/CD Package
    - ppk on JavaScript
    - Beginning JavaScript (Programmer to Programmer), 3rd Edition
    - Beginning JavaScript
    - Gettined StartED with JavaScript
    - Head First JavaScript
    - High Performance JavaScript
    - Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting & Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional)
    - JavaScript: The Complete Reference, 2nd edition: The Complete Reference. Complete coverage of the W3C DOM2 standard (Osborne Complete Reference Series)
    - Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
    - Sams Teach Yourself Javascript in 24 Hours
    - Scriptin' with JavaScript and Ajax: A Designer's Guide
    - <snip/>
    - JavaScript
    - JavaScript Bible
    - JavaScript Bible [Audiobook] (Paperback), 7th Edition
    - JavaScript by Example (Paperback)
    - Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting (Murach: Training & Reference) (Paperback)
    - Smashing JavaScript: 100 Professional Techniques (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
    - And whatever else you recommend to me!

    Halp pls. kthnxbye.

    Andrew Cooper
    Last edited by Mittineague; Dec 19, 2010 at 23:24. Reason: pre-new-sticky cleanup

  2. #2
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    Another book that covers the use of javascript is SitePoint's "Build Your Own AJAX Web Applications". You can only get the pdf version directly from SitePoint but you might be able to get a printed copy via somewhere like Amazon.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Another book that covers the use of javascript is SitePoint's "Build Your Own AJAX Web Applications". You can only get the pdf version directly from SitePoint but you might be able to get a printed copy via somewhere like Amazon.
    SpacePhoenix, thanks for the suggestion and although it is appreciated as with all other suggestions and recommendations I should have pointed out that I'm not interested in AJAX or AJAX related books. I've had a look at the book previously and didn't see anything on beginners JavaScript that would be helpful to me. I just had another look at the table of contents for the book but it looks like it's pretty much all AJAX content.

    There are other books out there also on JavaScript such as Design Patterns and Advanced OOP JavaScript as well as JavaScript Library / Framework books including the upcoming book jQuery: Novice to Ninja also from SitePoint. However, I've omitted these from the short / long list because I'm strictly looking for beginners books on JavaScript, but the beginners books shouldn't necessarily mean a 200 page book. It should cover everything a professional JavaScript coder / Front-End Web Developer would need to know (excluding OOP JS).

    Thanks again,

    Andrew Cooper

  4. #4
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    It might not seem that helpful at first, but I don't think you need yet another book. If you've mastered the content in Simply Javascript and The Art and Science of Javascript you have all the required info to get in there and do your own discovery.

    I'm hanging out for John Resig's new book http://jsninja.com/

    I'd suggest you start to dig into the code of js libraries like jQuery and Raphael. You could also look at patterns that can be applied to js so you can keep your code clean and extensible.

  5. #5
    John 8:24 JREAM's Avatar
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    I'd suggest learning a Javascript Framework API such as JQuery, Mootools, Prototype, Django, etc - as they'll save you a lot of time in the end.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JREAM View Post
    I'd suggest learning a Javascript Framework API such as JQuery, Mootools, Prototype, Django, etc - as they'll save you a lot of time in the end.
    There is little point though in learning the framework before you know much of JavaScript.

    Imagine having a child from grade 3 learn how to use calculus. They might be able to use it to solve some problems, but without a background knowledge of maths they cannot know what it's supposed to solve, nor will they be able to apply it when other fundamental techniques they should have learned need to be incorporated as well.

    Frameworks do save time when you understand how to apply them, and in what circumstances. If you haven't experienced beforehand the issues that frameworks solve, you are at risk of trying to do foolish things. For example, demanding "I want my framework to add two numbers together from a form." The subtext being that you're too scared to learn how to achieve that with JavaScript because you have come to expect your framework to perform most, if not all, of the heavy lifting for you.
    Last edited by paul_wilkins; Sep 14, 2011 at 01:47.
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    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I've seen entire libraries (sometimes two: jQuery AND prototype) on a web site who do nothing more than a lightbox, or to validate a simple contact form. I've seen them simply to make IE6 hover. Seriously. It was like assembling the mighty militant barbaric hordes of the Nations to kick a puppy off the edge of a cliff.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JREAM View Post
    I'd suggest learning a Javascript Framework API such as JQuery, Mootools, Prototype, Django, etc - as they'll save you a lot of time in the end.
    As I've previously said to others, I don't want anything to do with JavaScript Frameworks / Libraries at the moment. I thought I had made myself clear - I'm learning JavaScript from the ground up without the help of JS Libraries. To me, at the moment, JS Libraries don't exist. So don't preach about them to me please

    Quote Originally Posted by Blake Tallos View Post
    I'm liking this thread
    It's very helpful isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    I've seen entire libraries (sometimes two: jQuery AND prototype) on a web site who do nothing more than a lightbox, or to validate a simple contact form. I've seen them simply to make IE6 hover. Seriously. It was like assembling the mighty militant barbaric hordes of the Nations to kick a puppy off the edge of a cliff.
    I've seen exactly the same thing. It's a bit silly I think (personally). You have a whole library - or two, linked to a Web page which does a simple thing that you could just write in JS yourself, without the need of a JS Library and it would probably be less hassle. I don't know what I'm talking about actually, I'm just talking a load of dribble. At least, I personally would prefer to write a simple form validation script than use a JS Library. That's just me.

    I've got my nice list of JavaScript books that I'm going to order and the help I've received in this thread has been tremendous! I really appreciate it a lot! I think the "issue" in this thread has been "resolved" though and I don't see why we should carry on the discussion! -- Unless somebody else wants some advice on the same issue, I'm sure if they read the whole thread then they'd be helped out a lot too.

    Thanks again peeps! I'll get some heavy JavaScript reading and studying done over the coming months and I guess we'll see the results of these reading and experimenting sessions in the form of future Websites I build!

    Andrew Cooper

  9. #9
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    There is now a free ebook from O'Reilly called JavaScript Bibliography that provides summaries for many of the JavaScript books that are out there, and links to their online version of each book should you wish to read more of them.

    So far as gaining full access to the Safari content, many local libraries provide free access (my local example), even over your local web connection. So if you need to, get in touch with your own local libraries to find out how they can help.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for that, Paul. (Gah, I hate it when you have to log in to download something free, though.)
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  11. #11
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    I've heard that The Book Depository does free shipping to most location around the globe, including New Zealand where I am.

    Let's compare Amazon to The Book Depository when ordering the three afore-mentioned books. For the sake of consistency, I'll use US dollars here.

    Amazon
    31.49 The Definitive Guide
    19.79 The Good Parts
    31.57 Object-Oriented JavaScript
    82.85 Subtotal

    24.95 Standard International Shipping (cheapest)
    102.81 Total


    The Book Depository
    37.68 The Definitive Guide
    24.11 The Good Parts
    39.44 Object-Oriented JavaScript
    101.23 Total


    So it's clear to me that even when the costs of Amazon shipping is spread across 3 books, that The Book Depository is the preferred place to go.
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  12. #12
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    I've got several JS books, and the only one I've successfully waded through so far is Keith's DOM Scripting one, which is masterful.

    I also have Scriptin' by Wyke-Smith, which I bought because I liked his CSS book, but I don't like this one much, so I'm pleased you removed it from your list. It tries to cover too much, gets into Ajax far too early in the book, and seems to dive blindly into jQuery too. A bit of a hotch-potch.

    I might check out the Head First book, but I've avoided it because I find their other books far too chatty and fluffy... even though I appreciate the theory behind that approach. (Gawd, sometimes whole pages are full of fluff and whitespace... too much!)
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru Jason__C's Avatar
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    A book I am reading currently, Beginning JavaScript - by WROX, is a very, very good book. Also, very new, released within the past 3 months.
    Last edited by ScallioXTX; May 8, 2011 at 09:02.

  14. #14
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    You'll be fine with that 4th edition. The 4th book's page has errata info and other changes, which may be of help too.
    Last edited by ScallioXTX; Apr 16, 2011 at 17:45.
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    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Glad to see that this thread is still useful for other people too! Regarding the book JavaScript: The Definitive Guide - I've been waiting for the 6th Edition to be released for just over a year now on Amazon, they keep pushing the date back and back and back! I'm patient enough though to wait it out until it's released, even if it is another year!

    All the best to my fellow JavaScript beginners!

    Andrew Cooper

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    Glad to see that this thread is still useful for other people too! Regarding the book JavaScript: The Definitive Guide - I've been waiting for the 6th Edition to be released for just over a year now on Amazon, they keep pushing the date back and back and back! I'm patient enough though to wait it out until it's released, even if it is another year!
    Well good news - David has just finished editing the 6th edition. It could be a while though before it gets through production & print though.
    http://www.davidflanagan.com/2011/02...cript-the.html
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  17. #17
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    Thank you for the helpful advice on JS definitive guide.

  18. #18
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I saw one book listed twice...by Paul Wilton: "Beginning javascript". Every little bit to make your list shorter.

    In the bookstore I saw a JS book by Shelly Powers (O'reilly) which, flipping through it, seemed a sort of go-straight through the DOM and Do Stuff book, which might be useful.

    The Definitive Guide and The Good Parts get a definite two thumbs up from me.
    Agreed, even though I don't understand half of what's in Good Parts, when looking for code examples online I can use the back part to recognise what to avoid. Also, logic-flow diagrams++.
    6th Edition already for Rhino?? Dayum, that's fast. I has 5 and it mostly updated DOM stuff.

    because I'm strictly looking for beginners books on JavaScript, but the beginners books shouldn't necessarily mean a 200 page book. It should cover everything a professional JavaScript coder / Front-End Web Developer would need to know (excluding OOP JS).
    I doubt a "beginners" book can cover everything a professional front-ender should know, assuming said Front-ender isn't working in an environment where the extent of JS knowledge doesn't need to go further than how to copy others' scripts and modify them accordingly, or write very small things.

    I've got Simply Javascript and an old copy of my husband's Anthology. With both, there came a point where I had to stop and go find some other sources to read, before coming back to them. I don't think it's those books explaining things badly, but more that it took time and multiple differing explanations before stuff started to "stick".

    Still gonna pimp Marijn's site: http://eloquentjavascript.net/ I don't see the DOM stuff as particularly beautiful with all that typical old-fashioned HTML but, whatever. I'm struggling with higher-order functions, closures, and recursion recursion recursion.

    (excluding OOP JS)
    You can't. Everyone's an object, lawlz. Though you can also just make everything a function (functional programming) but functions are objects.


    Off Topic:

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper
    I've created my own shortlist (although it's not very short lawl)
    You see that, people? I can haz sfeer of Influence! Lawlz!

  19. #19
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Purchasing:

    Ok, I'm definately purchasing the following books.

    - JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 6th Edition (Publish Date: May 2010)
    - JavaScript: The Good Parts

    Amended Shortlist:

    I've looked over the shortlist again and made some amendments to it, it's much shorter, slightly more focused and there are less outdated books listed too. If you can't make any recommendations on which of the following to buy, then could you make recommendations on which not to buy instead?

    - JavaScript, A Beginner's Guide, 3rd Edition
    - Beginning JavaScript
    - Gettined StartED with JavaScript
    - Head First JavaScript
    - Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting & Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional)
    - Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
    - JavaScript Bible [Audiobook] (Paperback), 7th Edition (Publish Date: May 2010)
    - JavaScript by Example (Paperback)
    - Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting (Murach: Training & Reference) (Paperback)

    Quote Originally Posted by pmw57 View Post
    The Definitive Guide and The Good Parts get a definite two thumbs up from me.
    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I agree.

    A number of the other books listed are intended to be the first book someone buys covering JavaScript. Some of the others are also somewhat dated.
    I've definately buying The Definitive Guide and The Good Parts now. felgall, I'm a beginner in JavaScript really and need a helping hand, can you recommend which of the books in the list not to buy? And I've amended the list to take out the more outdated books.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    I saw one book listed twice...by Paul Wilton: "Beginning javascript". Every little bit to make your list shorter.
    Silly me xD, sorted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    In the bookstore I saw a JS book by Shelly Powers (O'reilly) which, flipping through it, seemed a sort of go-straight through the DOM and Do Stuff book, which might be useful.
    Is that the Learning JavaScript book by Shelly Powers? I had a look at it and was going to add it to the list but after looking at the table of contents it didn't look great. Do you recommend it though? (I know you just said you flicked through it, but from flicking through it, would you say it's worth it?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    6th Edition already for Rhino?? Dayum, that's fast. I has 5 and it mostly updated DOM stuff.
    Yea, I could really do with the Rhino book right now to be honest but I'm not going to buy the 5th Edition brand new when 6th Edition is only 4 months away. I'll have to wait for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    You can't. Everyone's an object, lawlz. Though you can also just make everything a function (functional programming) but functions are objects.
    Lawl. I'm talking about John Resig's book and all the others that talk about OO JS. For the majority of the JS I'll be making and wanting to use in Web pages, I doubt I'll have to make use of OO techniques within JS, hence, I don't want heavy / advanced books that talk about OO JS solely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Off Topic:


    You see that, people? I can haz sfeer of Influence! Lawlz!
    xD Lawl

    Andrew Cooper

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    I've definately buying The Definitive Guide and The Good Parts now. felgall, I'm a beginner in JavaScript really and need a helping hand
    In that case, I definitely recommend Head First JavaScript, that's a very good book that makes it easy to grasp the different concepts involved.

    The O'Reilly site lets you read it online too, via Safari Books. Click the [Read it now] link at the Head First JavaScript
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  21. #21
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmw57 View Post
    I definitely recommend Head First JavaScript
    I agree that this is one of the best books on JavaScript for beginners (it says so in the list of quotes inside the front cover of the book itself).

    The WROX book "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" is an excellent alternative if you already know other programming languages since it introduces JavaScript the same way most other languages are introduced rather than the way most books introduce other languages. I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't been learning other languages from books before though - for that the Head First book is far superior.

    I found the style of the Murach book difficult to follow so that I didn't even understand what some of the code was meant to be about when I first read it - I am not sure who that book is supposed to be intended for, there are a few sections of it that cover some things that are fairly advanced that are not covered in the other books scattered in between some of the really basic introductory parts.
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    SitePoint Zealot
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    DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith is a nice introduction to JavaScript. If you'd like to dabble in jQuery these videos are pretty straightforward

    Cheers,

    Jon

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    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I can't really say about Shelly's book. It seemed to move fast, compared to, say Simply Javascript which is really slow and hand-holding. Further, I really couldn't say. It might be sitting in a bookstore near you and you might be able to flip through it.

    About the Rhino: it's not a beginner book, it's kind of more a book about Javascript. It describes it, explains it, states what are the rules for it, etc. It reminded me of Perl's Camel book, a LOT.
    Same with Good Parts. Good Parts does not introduce JS. It states a case for it having some really good stuff for programmers in it, despite all the flaws it has. For me as a beginner the back of the book was more valuable than the front. I figure you already know that, but since others may read this, being beginners too...


    There are also two kinds of beginners and I'd think the Beginners books would be to one group or the other: people wholly new to programming (like me) and people new only to Javascript.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I assume you are referring to the second edition of "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" (which is slightly improved on the first edition - not that there was much that could be improved on anyway).

    You do seem to have all the best JavaScript books for beginners that I have seen over the past few years on your list.
    Yes, 2nd Edition of "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers", felgall. And I'm glad I have all of the best ones, or will have! Thanks for the feedback, felgall.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Marijn's book introduces and explains the concepts but he also goes very fast. Closures and recursion in chapter 3! : )
    Lawlz. You're always going on about closures and recursion in his book!

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I actually think JavaScript would make quite a good first language for people to learn as it doesn't require a great deal to be set up to be able to write and test it and it does have constructs that cover most of the concepts of both structured and object oriented languages.
    I agree. I think it's a very easy language, compared to VB.NET - It's just so much simpler and less code to get something working. Which I think will be helpful to beginners to programming and the language itself, because it's so simple, in terms of what code you need to write to make something work. As opposed to other languages.

    Quote Originally Posted by RLM2008 View Post
    "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers". Really rate this title. Very straight forward to understand.
    That's very pleasing and encouraging to hear! Thanks for the feedback. Appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by bulletproofpoet View Post
    JavaScript, The Definitive Guide is the only JS book I've ever needed. Very well written, great reference section, my 4th edition is used so much, it's nearly falling apart.

    Can't recommend it enough!

    Hope that helps.
    Thanks for the feedback and recommendation also. Don't worry, I'm definately getting it when the new edition is released in May

    Quote Originally Posted by markbrown4 View Post
    It might not seem that helpful at first, but I don't think you need yet another book. If you've mastered the content in Simply Javascript and The Art and Science of Javascript you have all the required info to get in there and do your own discovery.

    I'm hanging out for John Resig's new book http://jsninja.com/

    I'd suggest you start to dig into the code of js libraries like jQuery and Raphael. You could also look at patterns that can be applied to js so you can keep your code clean and extensible.
    That's the thing though - I haven't mastered the content in Simply JavaScript and The Art and Science of JavaScript and they don't seem to be as highly recommended as others such as The Definitive Guide and Head First JavaScript. As I said earlier, I'm not interested in JS Libraries at all at the moment (not even jQuery) and I'm certainly not interested in AJAX either.

    I appreciate your comments and feedback anyway. All views and recommendations are helpful to me as I'm a beginner however, I do have clear goals - To master the basics of JavaScript.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Off Topic:


    Lawl isn't a word... instead of LOL for a laugh I say it "Lawlz" as a sort of drawled-out lol. Andrew has picked up this bad habit of mine, except he leaves the awesome "z" out. So, it's not a word to do with English or Javascript!
    xD Would it please you if I started typing lawlz instead of lawl ?

    Still not sure on Christian Heilmann's book though!

    Andrew Cooper

  25. #25
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    As I said earlier, I'm not interested in JS Libraries at all at the moment (not even jQuery) and I'm certainly not interested in AJAX either.
    That's the right approach. You can't use a library such as jQuery properly without a good understanding of JavaScript first. Those who try usually end up in a mess because they are using advanced processing when they don't understand the basics.
    Stephen J Chapman

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