Learning JavaScript

JavaScript – Everyone who is the least bit familiar with the Internet eventually wants to represent him or herself there with a home page. But the common page-building programs like Netscape Composer or Microsoft Frontpage no longer suffice for creating anything more than a very mediocre home page. Anyone who wants to have a really cool home page must know a little more than the countless amateurs who are out there on the Internet.

The easiest and best tool for creating a truly attractive and interactive home page is called JavaScript. The beautiful thing about JavaScript is that the knowledge and system-related prerequisites for learning the language are relatively low. You just need to know some HTML. And I’ll teach you the most crucial things in the first section of this booklet. If you’d like to delve deeper, I recommend the KnowWare booklet “Homepages for Beginners” by Johann-Christian Hanke. Since JavaScript is platform-independent, it can be used on almost any Mac or PC.

As far as software is concerned, you’ll need just an Internet browser (preferably Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer) and a simple ASCII text editor, for example, the one that comes with Windows. ASCII text consists of unformatted letters, that is, for every letter, you need to have one byte of hard disk space available. By contrast, Microsoft Word formats text with fonts, colors, etc. and it’s not really suited to serve as an ASCII text editor.

The Basics

This section will give you an overview of HTML and inform you about how to incorporate JavaScript into HTML pages. If you’re already familiar with HTML and you’ve already worked with JavaScript, you can skip right over this section.

The Necessary Software

As I’ve already mentioned, all you’ll need is a text editor and a browser. Text editors come with practically every operating system. Under Windows 95/98, the editor can be found by clicking Start button/ Programs / Accessories / Notepad . You’ll find browsers that you can download for free over the Internet at the Netscape Website ( www.netscape.com) and the Microsoft Website (www.microsoft.com).