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What's in This Book

The first four chapters focus on fundamental JavaScript topics. In Chapter 1, Strings, you will see the difference between a string value and a string object. Regular expressions play a big role in string parsing for these recipes. You will also see a reusable library for reading and writing string data to cookies. Chapter 2, Numbers and Dates, includes recipes for handling number formatting and conversions, as well as date calculations that get used in later recipes. Perhaps the most important core JavaScript language chapter is Chapter 3, Arrays and Objects. Recipes in this chapter provide the keys to one- and multidimensional array creation, array sorting, object creation, hash table simulation, and exploration of the prototype inheritance powers of objects. Chapter 4, Variables, Functions, and Flow Control, includes a recipe for improving overall script performance.

Chapter 5 through Chapter 8 provide solutions for problems that apply to almost all scriptable browsers. In Chapter 5, Browser Feature Detection, you will learn how to free yourself of the dreaded "browser sniffing" habit and use forward-compatible techniques for determining whether the browser is capable of running a block of script statements. If multiple windows are your nemesis, then Chapter 6, Managing Browser Windows, provides plenty of ideas to handle communication between windows. A few recipes present suggestions for modal windows (or facsimiles thereof). Not everyone is a frame lover, but Chapter 7, Managing Multiple Frames, may be of interest to all, especially if you don't want your site being "framed" by another site. Intelligent forms—one of the driving forces behind the creation of client-side scripting—are the subject of Chapter 8, Dynamic Forms. Updated to modern techniques, recipes include form validation (with or without regular expressions) and some cool but subtle techniques found on some of the most popular web sites on the Internet.

Interactivity with the user is driven by event processing, and Chapter 9, covers the most common event processing tasks you'll encounter with DHTML scripting. Events ripple through most of the remaining chapters' recipes. That includes many recipes in Chapter 10, where you'll see how to implement a variety of menuing designs and pass data from one page to the next. Chapter 11, provides recipes for both basic and advanced style sheet techniques as they apply to dynamic content, including how to load a browser- or operating system-specific stylesheet into the page. Style sheets play a big role in Chapter 12, where recipes abound for image rollovers and user-controlled font sizes, to name a couple.

Chapter 13, addresses numerous challenges in keeping positioned elements under tight rein. A positioning library recipe is used extensively throughout the rest of the book, including more recipes in this chapter for animating elements, scrolling content, and creating a draggable element. In Chapter 14, the W3C DOM gets a good workout with recipes for tasks such as embedding JavaScript and XML data within a document, transforming data into renderable HTML content, and sorting HTML tables instantly on the client. Additional dynamic content recipes come in Chapter 15, where more complex recipes show you how to use DHTML for a slide show, a visual count-down timer, and a pop-up calendar date picker, among others.

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