Web Developer's Guide to JavaScript & VBScript

by Peter Aitken
This book review is published in Developers Review
Web Developer's Guide to JavaScript & VBScript
Peter Aitken
The Coriolis Group Books
394 pages (with CD-ROM)
US$ 39.99
Web pages consist of static HTML code. We can create interactive web pages by writing web server applications, but not everybody has an ISP or web server that supports (or allows) this ability. Fortunately, we can add interactive processing on the client side, using JavaScript (supported by both Netscape and Internet Explorer) or VBScript (Internet Explorer only).
This book teaches us the features of both scripting languages to create dynamic and interactive web pages (in fact "thin client" applications). Personally, I only use JavaScript, since this is supported by both browsers, and I'm lucky, as two-thirds of the book is indeed mainly focused on JavaScript.
The book starts with a little introduction to explain the need for (and advantages of) client-side scripting languages, followed by a short introduction of HTML. Then, we're going deeper into Netscape Navigator Gold and JavaScript specifics. The book covers all possible expressions, operators, variables, statements, functions and objects, and we quickly learn nice techniques such as data-entry validation (on the client-side, remember?). We also learn how to manipulate the browser and the contents (jump to other links, frames, etc) and how to respond to user actions and events. All in all, JavaScript turns out to be a really helpful addition to add some more dynamics to otherwise static web pages, and this book shows us how to do it.
After the JavaScript part, the book starts on VBScript - the language of Internet Explorer. Again, all VBScript statements, operators and procedures are covered, followed by an overview of objects and events. While I admit I had less use for the VBScript part of the book, I must also admit that it's as clear and potentially as useful (to others) as the JavaScript part.

The book is written in a way to allow us not only to learn the basics from it, but also to use it as reference material lateron. Especially the list of built-in functions, procedures, events, etc. is very helpful, and so are the many example scripts that are ready to be put in our current static web pages.
The CD-ROM contains all sample scripts, of course, as well as a set of Web-related programs and utilities (more of them shareware).
I fully recommend this book to all Web Masters and Web Developers.

(Bob Swart)

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