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JavaScript & AJAX - Learn JavaScript and Ajax the Quick and Easy Way
by Tom Negrino, Dori Smith

Peachpit Press
6 edition
September 2006
512 pages

Reviewed by Pauline McNamara, January 2007
  (4 of 10)

My opinion about this book would be much higher if it had not claimed to be a learning book. The intended audience are people with basic familiarity of HTML, and the authors "don't assume that you know anything about programming or scripting." If you fall into this category, I'd wouldn't recommend this book.

It starts with a couple gentle introductory chapters, followed by a very dense syntax dump in the third chapter. The intended reader may survive the sink or swim approach, but I suspect they're more likely to give up after that chapter. The now requisite Ajax chapter towards the end seems quite out of place, again because of the context of non-programmers just picking up scripting.

The rest of the book is a collection of useful examples in a cookbook style, with line-by-line annotations of the code (however not explaining the syntax specifically). If you learn by watching, or if you already write code and are looking for a good JavaScript cookbook, you'll be happy to have this on your shelf. If you've never coded a loop before, you'll need other books to really learn the mechanics.

Strengths: good cookbook for experienced programmers, sprinkled with useful tips (albeit buried in code explanations).

Weaknesses: way too much information that a learner has to take on faith, narrow column format drastically reduces code readability.

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