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Beginning JavaScript, 3rd Edition

Beginning JavaScript, 3rd Edition

Paul Wilton, Jeremy McPeak

ISBN: 978-0-470-17137-0

May 2007

767 pages


JavaScript is a scripting language that enables you to enhance static web applications by providing dynamic, personalized, and interactive content. This improves the experience of visitors to your site and makes it more likely that they will visit again. You must have seen the flashy drop-down menus, moving text, and changing content that are now widespread on web sites—they are enabled through JavaScript. Supported by all the major browsers, JavaScript is the language of choice on the Web. It can even be used outside web applications—to automate administrative tasks, for example.

This book aims to teach you all you need to know to start experimenting with JavaScript: what it is, how it works, and what you can do with it. Starting from the basic syntax, you'll move on to learn how to create powerful web applications. Don't worry if you've never programmed before—this book will teach you all you need to know, step by step. You'll find that JavaScript can be a great introduction to the world of programming: with the knowledge and understanding that you'll gain from this book, you'll be able to move on to learn newer and more advanced technologies in the world of computing.

In order to get the most out of this book, you'll need to have an understanding of HTML and how to create a static web page. You don't need to have any programming experience.

This book will also suit you if you have some programming experience already, and would like to turn your hand to web programming. You will know a fair amount about computing concepts, but maybe not as much about web technologies.

Alternatively, you may have a design background and know relatively little about the Web and computing concepts. For you, JavaScript will be a cheap and relatively easy introduction to the world of programming and web application development.

Whoever you are, we hope that this book lives up to your expectations.

You'll begin by looking at exactly what JavaScript is, and taking your first steps with the underlying language and syntax. You'll learn all the fundamental programming concepts, including data and data types, and structuring your code to make decisions in your programs or to loop over the same piece of code many times.

Once you're comfortable with the basics, you'll move on to one of the key ideas in JavaScript—the object. You'll learn how to take advantage of the objects that are native to the JavaScript language, such as dates and strings, and find out how these objects enable you to manage complex data and simplify your programs. Next, you'll see how you can use JavaScript to manipulate objects made available to you in the browser, such as forms, windows, and other controls. Using this knowledge, you can start to create truly professional-looking applications that enable you to interact with the user.

Long pieces of code are very hard to get right every time—even for the experienced programmer—and JavaScript code is no exception. You look at common syntax and logical errors, how you can spot them, and how to use the Microsoft Script Debugger to aid you with this task. Also, you need to examine how to handle the errors that slip through the net, and ensure that these do not detract from the experience of the end user of your application.

From here, you'll move on to more advanced topics, such as using cookies and jazzing up your web pages with dynamic HTML and XML. Finally, you'll be looking at a relatively new and exciting technology, remote scripting. This allows your JavaScript in a HTML page to communicate directly with a server, and useful for, say, looking up information on a database sitting on your server. If you have the Google toolbar you'll have seen something like this in action already. When you type a search word in the Google toolbar, it comes up with suggestions, which it gets via the Google search database.

All the new concepts introduced in this book will be illustrated with practical examples, which enable you to experiment with JavaScript and build on the theory that you have just learned. The appendix provides solutions to the exercises included at the end of most chapters throughout the book.

During the first half of the book, you'll also be building up a more complex sample application—an online trivia quiz—which will show you how JavaScript is used in action in a real-world situation.

Related Resources



Chapter 1: Introduction to JavaScript and the Web.

Chapter 2: Data Types and Variables.

Chapter 3: Decisions, Loops, and Functions.

Chapter 4: JavaScript--An Object-Based Language.

Chapter 5: Programming the Browser.

Chapter 6: HTML Forms--Interacting with the User.

Chapter 7: Windows and Frames.

Chapter 8: String Manipulation.

Chapter 9: Date, Time, and Timers.

Chapter 10: Common Mistakes, Debugging, and Error Handling.

Chapter 11: Storing Information: Cookies.

Chapter 12: Introduction to Dynamic HTML.

Chapter 13: Dynamic HTML in Modern Browsers.

Chapter 14: JavaScript and XML.

Chapter 15: Using ActiveX and Plug-Ins with JavaScript.

Chapter 16: Ajax and Remote Scripting.

Appendix A. Exercise Solutions.


  • Addition of coverage of Ajax - which is driving tremendous renewed JavaScript interest
  • Trimming "fat" from the book by removing some peripheral and dated coverage of ASP, databases, and older browser versions
  • Updating all the code to insure compliance with the current browsers FireFox 1.5/2 and Internet Explorer 6/7 or the most current versions at the time of publication
  • Improved examples throughout the book to use more up-to-date and relevant programming techniques
  • Introduction To Dynamic HTML - NEW to this edition
    • Dynamic HTML in modern browsers - completely updated for this edition
    • JavaScript and XML - major updates for this edition
    • Ajax for Remote Scripting - NEW to this edition
  • Instructor Supplements-Power Points, Test Bank and Instructor's Manual will be available.
All sample code from the book
Code downloads for this title are available here.
Code Downloads
All sample code from the book
Code downloads for this title are available here.
Code Downloads
ChapterPageDetailsDatePrint Run
30Error in Text
First paragragh, third line under heading Setting Up Your Browser for Errors :


should be:


380Error in Code
case: Paul

should be:

case Paul :

99Error in Code Description
last paragraph, first sentence:

The code description is incorrect. The answerCorrect() function is not actually used until a later chapter.

4114Error in Code
the 4th line in the code at top of that page:


should be:


8311Error in Text
The alert box will show this message:

should be:

The alert box will show this message:

326Error in Code
4th line of code:

+ 'document.QuestionForm.txtAnswer.value = ;<\/script>';

should be:

questionHTML = questionHTML + 'document.QuestionForm.txtAnswer.value = ;<\/script>';

8326Space Missing in Code
2 lines after the single shaded line of code, there?s a space missing after 'Answer Question' before the closing ?;

questionHTML = questionHTML + value='Answer Question' ;

Should be:
questionHTML = questionHTML + value='Answer Question' ;

418Error in Text
In the paragraph headed secure :


should be:

server .