Simply JavaScript

When I wrote DOM Scripting I had a very specific audience in mind. I aimed the book squarely at web designers who were well-versed in the benefits of web standards such as CSS and semantic markup, but who were quite wary of JavaScript. JavaScript was not just a programming language (which is scary enough in itself) but it was a programming language with a bad reputation.

There weren’t any other books on the market like that. There were plenty of reference books and plenty of cookbooks but the reference books tended to be stodgy affairs best suited to programmers and the cookbooks often threw best practices to the wind with the philosophy that the end justified the means.

I think I was very lucky with the timing of DOM Scripting. It had the bookshelves right around the time that many web designers realised that there was a hole in their skillset that needed to be filled. The book struck a chord with people, it sold well and, more importantly, it helped the rehabilitation of JavaScript in developers’ collective consciousness.

Frankly, I never really wanted to write a book. But I wanted that book to get written and, because nobody else was doing it, I did it myself. On the whole, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Since then, there’s been a whole slew of really good JavaScript books published. Most of these books delve much deeper than DOM Scripting which remains very much a beginner’s book. In fact, DOM Scripting has remained pretty much the only book pitched at that level for that audience. Until now…

Simply JavaScript

Cameron Adams and Kevin Yank have written a book called Simply JavaScript. As Cameron makes clear, this book is aimed squarely at the same audience that I was targeting:

This book – Simply JavaScript – is all about progression: taking a topic which can get pretty darn complex and breaking it down into nice, simple baby steps.

This kind of approach sets up Simply JavaScript in competition with one of the most well-written tech books available – Jeremy Keith’s DOM Scripting.

Looking through the table of contents, it’s clear that Simply JavaScript is much more up-to-date than my book (which is almost two years old now). It covers the JavaScript libraries which have become so ingrained in modern development workflows. It even has instructions on Ajax.

Its progression, however, is quite similar to the way I set up my book: begin with the fundamentals of the language, move on the Document Object Model and then delve into some practical examples, all the while emphasising best practices.

And that’s the key to why a book like this deserves to be successful: it sets out to balance the practical considerations of scripting for various browsers with the importance of separating behaviour, presentation and structure. That’s a tricky balancing act but if anyone can pull it off, these guys can.

I had the pleasure of seeing Cam and Kevin present together at Web Directions South last year. Their excellent presentation on APIs was only slightly marred by the inclusion of a picture of my head clearly Photoshopped onto the body of a male stripper. How childish! And all because I happened to use a picture of topless cameron diaz in my presentation.

Despite my call for a truce, it appears that this war of attrition has crossed over into the printed page. Reading through the sample chapters from Simply JavaScript, I noticed that I am listed in one example table with the hobbies “Cooking, bouzouki and male stripping.” Lies! I hardly ever cook.

While I plot my revenge, I will lull my adversary into a false sense of security by recommending that everyone check out his new book:

Posted by Jeremy on Sunday, July 8th, 2007 at 8:03pm



Thanks for the great review of the book. I’m curious - with so many different JavaScript books that have come out since your DOM Scripting was published, how would you categorize the different books?

# Posted by Deborah on Monday, July 9th, 2007 at 4:16am

I would say that most of the JavaScript books out there are aimed at a higher level than DOM Scripting. In fact, I know quite a few authors who recommend reading DOM Scripting first before tackling their books. Simply JavaScript looks the only other book that’s intended as a "my first JavaScript book."

# Posted by Jeremy Keith on Monday, July 9th, 2007 at 11:16am


The reason I asked the question is I bought your DOM Scripting book 1 1/2 years ago as a Christmas present and really enjoyed how it stepped me through understanding JavaScript.

This past Christmas I decided it was time to buy a new JavaScript book. It was a tedious process. I would buy a book, review it at home, only to discover many of the code examples didn’t use best practices and often had invalid XHTML code. Long story - I went through returning 5 books before finally settling on your Bulletproof Ajax book, which I’ve enjoyed.

I’ve discovered that sample chapters of books are great, when the authors/publishers provide them online.

# Posted by Deborah on Monday, July 9th, 2007 at 12:43pm

Consider your adversaries sufficiently lulled, Jeremy :)

I’m sure if you’d like to compare books, I can organise Sitepoint to get one out to you. Just let me know.

# Posted by Cameron Adams on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 at 2:37am

I want to thank for links to funny photos at flickr :) btw. I read few comments about the book and I think I definitely buy it.

# Posted by Tomek on Thursday, July 12th, 2007 at 2:54pm

where is it possible to get this book?

# Posted by Miscellaneous on Saturday, July 14th, 2007 at 9:56am

can you write more info about where we can buy it and how many pages it have ?

# Posted by lukas on Monday, July 16th, 2007 at 8:37am

Can you write more info about this book?

# Posted by Konin on Monday, July 16th, 2007 at 8:51pm

Thanks for the great review of the book. I read few comments about the book and I think I definitely buy it.

# Posted by tercume on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 7:46pm

I still prefer a hardcopy vs. PDF :)

# Posted by Anthony on Friday, July 20th, 2007 at 8:43pm

It is yet possible to write new about JavaScript. Now only reading a document about possibilities is necessary and all

# Posted by Improv on Saturday, July 28th, 2007 at 8:03am

This book is really very succesful. I’ve already estimated its advantages compare with other books about JavaScript. Thanks

# Posted by Bean on Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 at 9:27pm


thanks. This Book have all Infos about Java Script?

Gretting Versicherung

# Posted by Versicherung on Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 at 9:02am

Jeremy, DOM Scripting is like a perfectly cooked steak. Tender, seasoned and juicy. A lot of the other books are microwave made steaks… tuff, dry, and doesn’t taste like meat. I’ve learned so much from DOM Scripting and Simply Javascript. I thought I would never figure out JS. Thanks again. Kudos!!

# Posted by Mikey D'Antignac on Saturday, August 4th, 2007 at 6:28am

Sorry. Comments are closed.

July 2007

Recommended Reading

XML Subscribe

Grab the RSS feed for this blog.

JavaScript API

Grab the RSS feed of comments for this entry.