First DHTML Utopia review

Bobby van der Sluis is very kind about my book in the first review of DHTML Utopia. Cool. He does bring up a couple of small points, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t. For example, I don’t think that people should be introduced to the old DOM0 ways of doing things; I’m a firm believer in the idea that people with only DOM0-capable browsers shouldn’t get the benefit of JavaScript enhancements. Since pages must always have a non-JS fallback, I think that if you don’t have a reasonably recent browser then you should have to live with that fallback. While this is a touch unfair on people who are still running Netscape 4 and can’t upgrade, catering for DOM0 browsers makes code much harder to write for not very much benefit. He also takes issue with my use of Sarissa for the XMLHTTPRequest examples, suggesting that “it would have been useful to explain the different flavors of XMLHttpRequest and XMLHTTP first, so you learn how to use it to create simple applications, and discuss the use of a script library later for the more complex examples“. I find using it manually such a pain in the arse (all that “is MSXML2 installed? no? try another Microsoft library“) that in essence you’ll need to write a minimal wrapper library yourself just to successfully create an XMLHTTPRequest object in a cross-browser fashion. If you have to include a library regardless, then you might as well include one that makes it easy to step up to more complex apps later. Whether Sarissa is the best choice for an all-round library is something I leave to posterity to decide.
Thanks, Bobby; you didn’t spare my blushes (“currently the best book on the market for learning how to apply modern JavaScript and DOM“), and if the book impresses most of its readers in the way that it’s impressed you then we really could be on our way to a newer and brighter web. Hooray for that idea, I say.

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