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Book Review: DOM Scripting, Second Edition by Jeremy Keith with Jeffrey Sambells

I was very excited when I learned there was going to be a second edition of DOM Scripting. It was the book that enabled me to finally form a few years of copy-paste pseudo-coding into an actual chunk of reusable knowledge, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jeremy Keith, who wrote the first edition. Now I’m in the position of helping one or two other people learn how to use JavaScript the right way, and I wanted to start them with this book. This edition is both good and bad, and ironically, for a book that actively promotes the separation of content, presentation, and functionality, the good and bad is split right down the line between content and presentation.


Well, as Jeremy himself points out, he wasn’t actually involved in the second edition. That’s a little disappointing, but it’s still based on his first edition, and the ideas and concepts still carry through, so no harm, no foul.

The content of this book is still unbeatable. If you have messed a bit with JavaScript but needs to take the next step, this is the first book you should read. The fundamentals of using client-side script to work with the Document Object Model are the core, and every chapter builds on that. The book is one of the best primers on best practices I’ve ever read. Every decision is explained, every piece of code is in there for a reason. The additional HTML5 stuff is nice, too.

BUT this book is terrible to read. The typesetting is truly a mess. A tiny, cramped font is paired with tight leading and other poor spacing decisions, making it hard not only to scan, but hard to focus on in the first place. It’s really disappointing. I haven’t seen the ebook version, so I don’t know if it’s different than the print one. If someone has seen both, leave a comment and let us know.

I still think the book is worth the $35, because the knowledge it imparts is invaluable. Just be prepared to have to make yourself read it.

(The full title of the book is DOM Scripting – Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model, Second Edition)

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