What's the differences between the regular editions?

Historically, we've added a significant amount of new material in every new edition. The 2nd edition was 195 pages, the 3rd edition was 304 pages, the 4th edition was 430 pages, and the 5th edition was 498 pages.

The 6th edition was also 498 pages but it actually contained much more than the 5th. That's because we rewrote the book to conform to current best practices, which let us cut out much of the old browser-dependent code. That is, by cutting out separate tasks on how to do something in Netscape 4 or Netscape 6+ or IE, we could instead add full coverage of Ajax (two full chapters of coverage, in fact: Introducing Ajax and Ajax Toolkits).

[Wondering what we did in previous editions? The 4th edition added Forms and Regular Expressions, User Interface Design with JavaScript, Applied JavaScript, and Bookmarklets. In the 5th edition, we reorganized some chapters, added a new chapter, Manipulating Nodes, and added new tasks to many different chapters.]

In the 6th edition, we also removed some chapters (Working with Visual Tools and Debugging Common Errors) and combined some others (Image Basics and More Fun with Images became Working with Images, for example).

In the 7th edition, we're over 500 pages for the first time: 544, to be exact. The big changes you'll notice are that we removed the Introducing CSS chapter (figuring that CSS is not as foreign a topic as it once was) and added the Designing with Ajax chapter. But that alone wouldn't add any more pages; along the way, we also added more depth on some topics and new coverage of others, including object literals, JSON, and jQuery.

One big change appeared in the 4th edition and has remained in subsequent editions: in the reference section in the back of the book, the Object Flowchart and the Object Table are now printed in glorious color, making it lots easier to see which objects work in which browsers.

What's the Student Edition? What are the differences between it and the regular edition?

The Student Edition was a special version of the 5th edition that includes everything in that edition, plus exercises and review materials for each chapter. Peachpit Press asked us to do it because the book is in such widespread use in colleges and universities. Each chapter contains:

  • Learning Objectives
  • Get Up and Running Exercises
  • Class Discussion Questions
  • Review Questions

We created the Student Edition to make it even easier for instructors to teach JavaScript, and for students to learn it. No, we don't currently have a Student Edition to go along with the current edition; if you want one, tell Peachpit!

Will you have a big downloadable file on your site that contains all the examples in the book?

Yes, and you'll find a link to it in the nav bar above—just click on “download the scripts.”

That file seems to be missing some scripts. Where are they?

We haven't made scripts available for download when they're straight HTML files. That is, those which are referenced in the book and by other scripts, but where the contents aren't given in the book. These are all just normal vanilla HTML files, and can be linked to any files that you have already.

I have a JavaScript question that has nothing to do with your book. Are you available for consulting?

Between teaching and working on our next books, we're not taking on any consulting projects at this time. Thanks for asking, though.

I'm a student in a class that uses your book as a textbook. Will you help me with my homework?

No. If we did, we would never have time to write our next books. And you wouldn't learn as much.

I didn't buy your JavaScript book, I bought someone else's instead. Can I ask you a question about the one that I bought?

Sorry, no. Go talk to the author of the other book.

I'm just learning HTML. Can you help me with my pages?

Again, we can't, because we get so much mail that we would never get new work done. We can recommend a really good HTML book, though; it's HTML, XHTML, and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, 6th edition, by our friend Elizabeth Castro. Clicking that link and buying that book from Amazon makes both us and Liz happy. Special note for the cat fanciers: our cat Pixel is prominently featured on Page 105.

Well, can't I ask you guys anything?

Sure you can. We just can't promise to answer individual questions, because of the time it takes. We will put frequently asked questions (and their answers!) here on this page as they come in.

How should I get in touch with you?

Use the email address found in the book at the end of the Introduction. We read all mail sent to that address, though we can't guarantee a personal reply to every message. We regret that because of the large volume of email that we get, we cannot answer email about the book sent to our personal email addresses.

I have a question about your book. Can I send you my script files?

Not in this world of viruses being spread with email attachments. We've already been sent viruses by accident (or at least, they said it was an accident); we don't want any more. So we never open any files sent to us by people we don't know. Instead, you should post your pages on the Web, then send us the URL so we can take a look at the problem. We trust you, of course; it's the other guys that made us come up with this rule.

If I can't send you a file, can I just include the script as text in email?

Most of the questions we get have to do with image manipulation: rollovers, banners, etc. It's difficult to debug scripts that involve images without having the images available, as quite often, the problem has to do with the way the images are referenced (e.g., directory structure issues or proper capitalization issues). So again, please, send us a URL of the problem page, and we'll be happy to take a look at it.

I'm using a WYSIWIG tool from Adobe/Microsoft—can you help me with a JavaScript question?

If you use the code from our book, we're happy to help you. However, if you use the code from our book and ask Microsoft or Adobe for help, they'll require you to start using their products first.

We have to ask the same thing. If you have a problem with an Adobe product, please contact Adobe. If you have a problem with a Microsoft product, please contact Microsoft. And if you have a problem with our code, please contact us. But the two of us can't afford to give multi-million dollar software companies free support for their products.

If you use Dreamweaver, you also might consider purchasing Dreamweaver CS4: Visual QuickStart Guide, which we also wrote.

Your book uses someAction.cgi and gotoLocation.cgi in the Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 scripts. Where are these located?

Those are just example names for CGIs—it's literally "some action"; any action that you want it to be. We don't actually have any CGIs, as they're not required to test or use the JavaScript scripts in that chapter. If you want to learn to write CGIs, we recommend Elizabeth Castro's book Perl and CGI for the WWW: Visual QuickStart Guide, 2nd edition.

How do I run the scripts in Chapter 17?

The scripts in Chapter 17 are not standalone scripts; they are bookmarklets. If you go to the page for each individual script, you can drag each bookmarklet by clicking and dragging on its name to either the personal toolbar or Favorites bar in your browser.