Book Review - The Web Programmers Desk Reference

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Author: alt.don PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:38 pm    Post subject: Book Review - The Web Programmers Desk Reference
Web Programmers Desk Reference

Author(s): Lazaro Issi Cohen & Joseph Issi Cohen
Publisher: No Starch Press
Book Specifications: Soft-Cover, 1085 pages
Category: Web page programming
User Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Suggested Publisher Price: $59.95 USA/ $83.95 CAN/ £37.95 Net UK (inc of VAT)
ISBN: 1-59327-011-9 Web Programmers Desk Reference Web Programmers Desk Reference

Info from Back: "One of the challenges of web programming is remembering what you can do with what, and what works with everything else. Sure, you can create a button, but can you change its color and font to match the style of your site? And are you sure it will look the same on all browsers? With “The Web Programmer’s Desk Reference”, you can find stuff you never knew existed, look up stuff you’re a bit rusty on, or find what’s compatible with familiar stuff so you can develop something even better.”


When you think of the web (or the internet depending on your terminology), what first comes to mind? For me, the first thought is a web site. The bulk of the web today is composed of websites whether they be commercial, or personal. Makes sense does it not? It would make for a boring online experience if all you did was ftp downloads, and ssh connections. Just what is a web site composed of, or for that matter built with?

The answer to the question of what is used to design web content is answered in this book. All of the major website programming languages are covered. You the reader will be introduced to HTML, CSS, and Javascript. These three form the backbone of most webpages out there today. Bear in mind that this book is not only useful for the aspiring or experienced web programmer, but also to the security professional. From a security prospective you need to be able to recognize what the various html tags are as well as javascript snippets.

Content & Overview

The book itself is laid out over fifteen different chapters as well as an index composed of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript listings. I will cover a selection of those chapter’s contents. Shown in the first chapter are CSS, or cascading style sheets. There are various types of cascading style sheets, and as this is a programming language detailed also are varying attributes for CSS.

Following this in chapter two is Object-Oriented programming. You will learn in this chapter how HTML is manipulated using JavaScript. This is an important chapter per my perspective as more and more pages are using JavaScript, and as you may know JavaScript is an ever present security issue.

In chapter four you will read about JavaScript’s core language, and fundamentals. Over the course of this chapter many of JavaScript’s functions, and uses will be detailed. Also you learn all about operators, and conditionals. Noted earlier was the fact that these languages are indeed programming ones. This has now become very much self evident after reading this chapter. When used properly JavaScript can be a very powerful web programming language.

Gone over in lengthy detail in chapter five are HTML elements. Each element has an example usage, a description, and proper syntax. The authors of this book made sure that the new XHMTL standard was observed. What does that mean? Simply put that all HTML elements and attributes are in lowercase. Chapter five was a bit lengthy I found but this book is billed as a complete reference. Mind you this chapter certainly substantiates that claim, and is covered well.

An important area for web programmers is how will the web browser interpret the web page they have just designed? In chapters nine and ten of this book the Microsoft Internet Explorer behaviours, filters, and transitions are covered. For this chapter’s contents to be put into practice you will need IIS installed. It is in this chapter that you will also learn about the various behaviour types, and how to use them. You will also be shown what the default Microsoft behaviours are as well. Due to the sheer size of the book and the many chapters contained, all chapters are not covered in this section. For a full listing of the chapters click here and then navigate to the books contents please as a direct url was not found.

Style and Detail

The way a book is laid out, and more importantly written is very important. In this book each chapter begins with a bolded and oversized font, which quickly relates what is to come. I personally found that to be nicely done. Inside the book itself are a great deal of code snippets, and explanations as befits a reference book. Personally I couldn’t fathom writing such an exhaustive treatment on this subject, but the authors have done an admirable job of including all required detail. Due to the sheer size, and weight of the book you can easily keep the book open on a specific page with a minimum of fuss. Lastly, the extremely well detailed table of contents is very good. This will help you maximize your time by quickly finding what it is you are looking for. Always a plus!


When it comes to programming languages whether they be web based, or otherwise; having a complete reference book is crucial. Programming anything can be a difficult task, and one does not need it compounded by searching for a specific function’s explanation. I would consider myself a novice web programmer, and as such would be inclined to recommend this book more to those who are intermediate to advanced. Perspective is everything though, and even if you are a novice much like myself give it a quick browse while at the book store to see if it suits your needs. Overall I definitely recommend the book for its complete and thorough coverage of HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

This book gets an SFDC 8/10 from me

Keywords for this post: Linux Cookbook 2nd Edition

This review is copyright 2004 by the author and Security-Forums Dot Com, and may not be reproduced in any form in any media without the express permission of the author, or Security-Forums Dot Com.

Author: gvnhosting PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:16 am    Post subject: cool book
Very Happy totally cool book

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