May 16, 2005

How does one learn standards-based scripting?

I am a little late to this conversation, but there has been some discussion lately about browser elitism, and how CSS may be dipping its toes into waters best reserved for DOM-based scripting. I can agree with some of these arguments, and I have been trying to find a good way to go about learning DOM-based scripting for several months now. I have to say that it’s very hard to figure out where to start. There are a wealth of great CSS books out there for folks at every level of expertise, as well as more articles and demonstrations than you can shake a stick at, but there is comparatively little good information to be found about scripting. Just look at ALA– there are 62 CSS articles, as opposed to 26 DOM | Scripting articles. I’m sure this is reflective of a current bias in the web design industry, resulting from the javascript is evil” days of yore. On Amazon, I can find only a couple of books that mention the DOM, and they are from several years ago, except for one by Jeremy Keith that is not yet released. I can find some great tools and snippets of code that use it, but it’s unclear how to get started in the right direction. There is a lot of bad information about javascript out there, just like there is a lot of non-standards-based web design information. But there is not as much guidance as to how to use DOM scripting responsibly, best practices, common pitfalls, etc. So my question to the DOM-scripting gurus is: can you point us newbies to a good way to learn the basics so that we don’t have to learn responsible DOM-scripting by trial and error?

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