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Book Review: Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference, Third Edition by Danny Goodman

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Dynamic HTML is a huge book. Weighing in at over 1300 pages, the optimum word in the title is “Definitive”! The book began when Goodman felt he could not trust any of the existing documentation on Dynamic HTML (DHTML). After finding too many contradictions in standard publications, he felt the need to put together his own documentation. That became the first edition of this book.

Dynamic HTML assumes that you have a solid foundation in HTML and at least an idea of what DHTML is about. If you do, you are in for a real treat — a book that takes everything you wanted to know – need to know – about DHTML and presents it in a very useful format. This is a reference book, not a how-to book and so strives to be complete within its own goals.

Dynamic HTML is broken down into three parts. The first part is the Dynamic HTML Reference. In section one it tears apart HTML and XHTML attribute value types and event handlers. Section two explores the document object model (DOM) property values, events and objects. Section three is an alphabetic event reference, section four is a style sheet property reference and section five is a JavaScript reference.

The second part is a quick cross reference of all the tags, objects and properties of HTML, XHTML AND DOM.

The third part is the appendices. It includes color names and RGB values, HTML Character Entities, keyboard event values, and HTML/XHTML DTD support.

One thing that I think that many will not know unless they visit the website is that even though the book is over 1300 pages, on line is an additional 200+ pages in the form of a PDF called Applying Dynamic HTML which the author includes as a bonus. This, the third edition also adds coverage of Ajax and Web 2.0.

I cannot emphasize enough that Dynamic HTML will not teach you dynamic HTML. But if you are working with DHTML, you are wasting your time if you do not have this book!

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About T. Michael Testi

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