ppk on JavaScript (Book review)

If you haven’t heard of or visited Peter-Paul Koch’s site QuirksMode, you probably haven’t been doing a whole lot of JavaScripting. On the other hand, if you are a seasoned scripter you probably remember when QuirksMode’s predecessor “The JavaScript Section” was the number one source of JavaScript-related information on the Web.

That intro is meant to emphasise that Peter-Paul Koch, perhaps better known as ppk, knows an awful lot about JavaScript and has helped many scripters find solutions for weird browser incompatibilities through the years. I remember how excited I was when I learned that ppk worked for the same company I did back in 2000 - imagine having all that scripting knowledge within the same company walls (well, it was a multinational Web consultancy, so within the same intranet is more accurate). Now ppk has taken that knowledge and experience and condensed it into a book that explains modern, accessible, and unobtrusive JavaScript.

With all the new books on modern JavaScript that have been released during the last year or so you’d think that all has been said already. I don’t think it has. I have DOM Scripting, DHTML Utopia, and The JavaScript Anthology in my bookshelf, and they are all really good books. ppk on JavaScript is at least as good as any of those books, and takes a slightly different approach to the subject.

I particularly enjoyed the first two chapters, in which ppk describes JavaScript’s purpose and context. I felt a bit like I was reading a novel instead of a book on programming, maybe because I’ve been working with the Web long enough to recognise myself in ppk’s historical overview of JavaScript. In the section on JavaScript history, ppk predicts that the current Ajax and JavaScript library hype will eventually collapse and end the same way the DHTML era did. I can’t wait…

The technical part of book is based on eight real-world scripts that are used to explain why, how, and when the various features of JavaScript are used. As the book progresses, most JavaScript concepts are first discussed in theory and then in the context of one or more of the scripts. Since the scripts are taken from real-world projects they also contain real-world flaws, intentionally left in there to show that the world isn’t perfect.

Instead of going into details, I’ll settle for saying that this is an excellent book and I recommend that you pick it up as soon as possible. ppk on JavaScript is essential reading for all but expert scripters, and will provide plenty of entertainment value even to experts.

ppk on JavaScript
Author: Peter-Paul Koch
ISBN: 0321423305

Posted on November 13, 2006 in JavaScript, Reviews


  1. You know, I think I’m going to do just that, right now…

  2. Thx - nice description, the case approach sounds good.

  3. The last year really has been great for books on unobtrusive DOM-scripting. But there has also been some lesser books. Speaking as a teacher I must say that this book by ppk is probably one of the best. Clear and readable text, some humour to make the read lighter and really good illustrations. Badly missing from many other books. This book is booth paedagogic as well as informative.

  4. I’ve been looking forward to picking this book up for a while now. Thanks for the review, good to hear that it’s worth the read.

  5. Thanks for the recommendation. By reading your review and reviews on Amazon this sounds like a really good book for someone who already knows JavaScript but wants to master it.

  6. thank you very much for the recommendation, just ordered one copy at amazon.

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