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REVIEW: "Learning VBScript", Paul Lomax

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKLRNVBS.RVW 20000605 Learning VBScript , Paul Lomax, 1997, 1-56592-247-6, U$39.95/C$56.95 %A Paul Lomax %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 19, 2000
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      BKLRNVBS.RVW 20000605

      "Learning VBScript", Paul Lomax, 1997, 1-56592-247-6, U$39.95/C$56.95
      %A Paul Lomax
      %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
      %D 1997
      %G 1-56592-247-6
      %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
      %O U$39.95/C$56.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
      %P 616 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "Learning VBScript"

      The preface suggests that this book is aimed at all of 1) Web page
      creators with no programming background, 2) Visual Basic programmers,
      and 3) hobbyists. The author has, in spite of the diversity of those
      groups, done a pretty fair job.

      Chapter one is basically a promotional piece for VBScript, sticking to
      the Microsoft party line. It is slow in getting started, but does
      present some solid reasoning, and demonstrates some functions of the
      language. Chapter two, rather ironically, talks about "open"
      environments in terms of the very closed Windows system. These two
      sections provide a general introduction to VBScript, but in a random
      and limited fashion.

      Chapter three begins the real meat of the book with a good
      introduction to programming VBScript. (It occasionally stumbles, as
      in the section dealing with arrays versus arrays of variants.) The
      explanation of flow and control structures, in chapter four, suffers
      from an overdose of pseudocode and a lack of realistic examples. Most
      of the material on controlling the browser, in chapter five, lists the
      window object hierarchy. Again the examples could be better, and this
      lack of short, clear sample code turns out to be an overall
      shortcoming of the book. An instance of this poor exegesis is in the
      review of the use of the document.write method to write into an
      existing page, or replace it with a new one. Neither page 204, nor
      the later content in chapter thirteen, adequately explain the
      situation. The element object, dealing mostly with form elements, is
      discussed in chapter six.

      Chapter seven looks at the ActiveX Control Pad. Despite the name, the
      HTML Layout Control, in chapter eight, is also ActiveX, and it gets
      used in a brief example in chapter nine. Chapter ten reviews date and
      time functions. Another example application, in chapter eleven, uses
      mouse events for link context explanations. Creating simple image
      maps is covered in chapter twelve.

      Chapter thirteen is supposed to be about dynamic Web pages, but does
      not explain itself clearly. Validation of form input emphasizes
      string operations in chapter fourteen. Chapter fifteen has some good
      points on debugging, although it starts with an example from which the
      error has been removed. (The error is present in the sample code on
      the disk.) A shopping cart application (of course) is provided in
      chapter sixteen. Chapter seventeen reviews the determination of
      browsers, although there is not much on compatibility. Appendix A is
      a decent language reference and Appendix E looks briefly at server-
      side scripting.

      In spite of the shortcomings of the book, it provides a decent
      introduction to VBScript, even for those without a programming
      background. For those who do know Visual Basic, Lomax points out
      differences and limitations. Hobbyists will probably want more detail
      on some topics, but they can start from the material in the text and
      then experiment.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2000 BKLRNVBS.RVW 20000605

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