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JavaScript: The Definitive Guide


JavaScript: The Definitive Guide Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Whether you need an example-driven programmer's guide or a complete desk reference, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is the most authoritative book on the language that runs the Web. The sixth edition offers comprehensive coverage of ECMAScript 5 (the new language standard) and also the new APIs introduced in HTML5. The chapters on functions and classes have been completely rewritten and updated to match current best practices. A new chapter covers language extensions and subsets.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is organized into four sections:

  • Learn the core JavaScript language in detail — ideal for newcomers as well as experienced JavaScript programmers who want to sharpen their skills
  • Understand the scripting environment provided by web browsers with broad and deep coverage of client-side JavaScript illustrated by many sophisticated examples
  • Get a complete reference for core JavaScript that documents every class, object, constructor, method, function, property, and constant
  • Consult a separate reference to client-side JavaScript, including legacy web browser APIs, the standard Level 2 DOM API, the XMLHttpRequest object, and the canvas tag

"A must-have reference for expert JavaScript programmers...well-organized and detailed."

--Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript, CTO of Mozilla

"I made a career of what I learned from JavaScript: The Definitive Guide.”

— Andrew Hedges, Tapulous

"The Definitive Guide taught me JavaScript.”

--Tom Robinson, co-founder of 280 North, co-creator of Cappuccino

Book News Annotation:

The sixth edition of this comprehensive guide to JavaScript provides updated information on the latest version of the scripting language as well as material covering the integration of the popular client-side scripting language with HTML5. The volume is divided into sections covering the core facets of JavaScript and client-side scripting and includes detailed reference chapters for both topic groups. The work includes numerous code examples and access to additional online resources, including sample code, is provided. Flanagan is the author of several computer programming books. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


The sixth edition of this guide offers comprehensive coverage of EcmaScript 5, new chapters on JavaScript subsets, JavaScript programming tools, and much more.


Since 1996, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide has been the bible for JavaScript programmers—a programmer's guide and comprehensive reference to the core language and to the client-side JavaScript APIs defined by web browsers.

The 6th edition covers HTML5 and ECMAScript 5. Many chapters have been completely rewritten to bring them in line with today's best web development practices. New chapters in this edition document jQuery and server side JavaScript. It's recommended for experienced programmers who want to learn the programming language of the Web, and for current JavaScript programmers who want to master it.

"A must-have reference for expert JavaScript programmers...well-organized and detailed."
—Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript, CTO of Mozilla

"I made a career of what I learned from JavaScript: The Definitive Guide.”
—Andrew Hedges, Tapulous

About the Author

David Flanagan is a computer programmer who spends most of his time writing about JavaScript and Java. His books with O'Reilly include JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, JavaScript Pocket Reference, Java in a Nutshell, Java Examples in a Nutshell, and Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell. David has a degree in computer science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lives with his wife and children in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. David has a blog at

Table of Contents

Dedication; Preface; Conventions Used in This Book; Example Code; Errata and How to Contact Us; Acknowledgments; Chapter 1: Introduction to JavaScript; 1.1 Core JavaScript; 1.2 Client-Side JavaScript; Core JavaScript; Chapter 2: Lexical Structure; 2.1 Character Set; 2.2 Comments; 2.3 Literals; 2.4 Identifiers and Reserved Words; 2.5 Optional Semicolons; Chapter 3: Types, Values, and Variables; 3.1 Numbers; 3.2 Text; 3.3 Boolean Values; 3.4 null and undefined; 3.5 The Global Object; 3.6 Wrapper Objects; 3.7 Immutable Primitive Values and Mutable Object References; 3.8 Type Conversions; 3.9 Variable Declaration; 3.10 Variable Scope; Chapter 4: Expressions and Operators; 4.1 Primary Expressions; 4.2 Object and Array Initializers; 4.3 Function Definition Expressions; 4.4 Property Access Expressions; 4.5 Invocation Expressions; 4.6 Object Creation Expressions; 4.7 Operator Overview; 4.8 Arithmetic Expressions; 4.9 Relational Expressions; 4.10 Logical Expressions; 4.11 Assignment Expressions; 4.12 Evaluation Expressions; 4.13 Miscellaneous Operators; Chapter 5: Statements; 5.1 Expression Statements; 5.2 Compound and Empty Statements; 5.3 Declaration Statements; 5.4 Conditionals; 5.5 Loops; 5.6 Jumps; 5.7 Miscellaneous Statements; 5.8 Summary of JavaScript Statements; Chapter 6: Objects; 6.1 Creating Objects; 6.2 Querying and Setting Properties; 6.3 Deleting Properties; 6.4 Testing Properties; 6.5 Enumerating Properties; 6.6 Property Getters and Setters; 6.7 Property Attributes; 6.8 Object Attributes; 6.9 Serializing Objects; 6.10 Object Methods; Chapter 7: Arrays; 7.1 Creating Arrays; 7.2 Reading and Writing Array Elements; 7.3 Sparse Arrays; 7.4 Array Length; 7.5 Adding and Deleting Array Elements; 7.6 Iterating Arrays; 7.7 Multidimensional Arrays; 7.8 Array Methods; 7.9 ECMAScript 5 Array Methods; 7.10 Array Type; 7.11 Array-Like Objects; 7.12 Strings As Arrays; Chapter 8: Functions; 8.1 Defining Functions; 8.2 Invoking Functions; 8.3 Function Arguments and Parameters; 8.4 Functions As Values; 8.5 Functions As Namespaces; 8.6 Closures; 8.7 Function Properties, Methods, and Constructor; 8.8 Functional Programming; Chapter 9: Classes and Modules; 9.1 Classes and Prototypes; 9.2 Classes and Constructors; 9.3 Java-Style Classes in JavaScript; 9.4 Augmenting Classes; 9.5 Classes and Types; 9.6 Object-Oriented Techniques in JavaScript; 9.7 Subclasses; 9.8 Classes in ECMAScript 5; 9.9 Modules; Chapter 10: Pattern Matching with Regular Expressions; 10.1 Defining Regular Expressions; 10.2 String Methods for Pattern Matching; 10.3 The RegExp Object; Chapter 11: JavaScript Subsets and Extensions; 11.1 JavaScript Subsets; 11.2 Constants and Scoped Variables; 11.3 Destructuring Assignment; 11.4 Iteration; 11.5 Shorthand Functions; 11.6 Multiple Catch Clauses; 11.7 E4X: ECMAScript for XML; Chapter 12: Server-Side JavaScript; 12.1 Scripting Java with Rhino; 12.2 Asynchronous I/O with Node; Client-Side JavaScript; Chapter 13: JavaScript in Web Browsers; 13.1 Client-Side JavaScript; 13.2 Embedding JavaScript in HTML; 13.3 Execution of JavaScript Programs; 13.4 Compatibility and Interoperability; 13.5 Accessibility; 13.6 Security; 13.7 Client-Side Frameworks; Chapter 14: The Window Object; 14.1 Timers; 14.2 Browser Location and Navigation; 14.3 Browsing History; 14.4 Browser and Screen Information; 14.5 Dialog Boxes; 14.6 Error Handling; 14.7 Document Elements As Window Properties; 14.8 Multiple Windows and Frames; Chapter 15: Scripting Documents; 15.1 Overview of the DOM; 15.2 Selecting Document Elements; 15.3 Document Structure and Traversal; 15.4 Attributes; 15.5 Element Content; 15.6 Creating, Inserting, and Deleting Nodes; 15.7 Example: Generating a Table of Contents; 15.8 Document and Element Geometry and Scrolling; 15.9 HTML Forms; 15.10 Other Document Features; Chapter 16: Scripting CSS; 16.1 Overview of CSS; 16.2 Important CSS Properties; 16.3 Scripting Inline Styles; 16.4 Querying Computed Styles; 16.5 Scripting CSS Classes; 16.6 Scripting Stylesheets; Chapter 17: Handling Events; 17.1 Types of Events; 17.2 Registering Event Handlers; 17.3 Event Handler Invocation; 17.4 Document Load Events; 17.5 Mouse Events; 17.6 Mousewheel Events; 17.7 Drag and Drop Events; 17.8 Text Events; 17.9 Keyboard Events; Chapter 18: Scripted HTTP; 18.1 Using XMLHttpRequest; 18.2 HTTP by
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