Dojo: The Definitive Guide
Powering Up Ajax Development Techniques
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: June 2008
Pages: 488

Of all the Ajax-specific frameworks that have popped up in recent years, one clearly stands out as the industrial strength solution. Dojo is not just another JavaScript toolkit—it's the JavaScript toolkit—and Dojo: The Definitive Guide demonstrates how to tame Dojo's extensive library of utilities so that you can build rich and responsive web applications like never before. Dojo founder Alex Russell gives a foreword that explains the "why" of Dojo and of this book.

Dojo provides an end-to-end solution for development in the browser, including everything from the core JavaScript library and turnkey widgets to build tools and a testing framework. Its vibrant open source community keeps adding to Dojo's arsenal, and this book provides an ideal companion to Dojo's official documentation.

Dojo: the Definitive Guide gives you the most thorough overview of this toolkit available, showing you everything from how to create complex layouts and form controls closely resembling those found in the most advanced desktop applications with stock widgets, to advanced JavaScript idioms to AJAX and advanced communication transports. With this definitive reference you get:

  • Get a concise introduction to Dojo that's good for all 1.x versions
  • Well-explained examples, with scores of tested code samples, that let you see Dojo in action
  • A comprehensive reference to Dojo's standard JavaScript library (including fundamental utilities in Base, Dojo's tiny but powerful kernel) that you'll wonder how you ever lived without
  • An extensive look at additional Core features, such as animations, drag-and-drop, back-button handling, animations like wipe and slide, and more
  • Exhaustive coverage of out-of-the-box Dijits (Dojo widgets) as well as definitive coverage on how to create your own, either from scratch or building on existing ones
  • An itemized inventory of DojoX subprojects, the build tools, and the DOH, Dojo's unit-testing framework that you can use with Dojo—or anywhere else

If you're a DHTML-toting web developer, you need to read this book—whether you're a one-person operation or part of an organization employing scores of developers. Dojo packs the standard JavaScript library you've always wanted, and Dojo: The Definitive Guide helps you transform your ideas into working applications quickly by leveraging design concepts you already know.

Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews


by PowerReviews
oreillyDojo: The Definitive Guide

(based on 6 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 6 customers

Displaying reviews 1-6

Back to top

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


3 years; no updates... look elsewhere

By Dave

from Kingston, RI

About Me Developer

Verified Reviewer



    • Not comprehensive enough
    • Outdated

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate

    Comments about oreilly Dojo: The Definitive Guide:

    This book was decent when I bought it when it first came out. But Dojo is now (Dec '11) up to version 1.7... far removed from the v1.2 covered here with no hint that updates are planned. Dojo just changes too quickly to usefully be captured in book form. Even the online documentation still refers to v1.6.

    (8 of 9 customers found this review helpful)


    index is deficient, and probably out-of-date

    By kibbylop

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Dojo: The Definitive Guide:

    When I first bought this book, it was an excellent resource. With a new dojo-intensive project (using dojo 1.3.2), I'm finding that much of the information is inaccurate. Also, the index is deficient - try finding djConfig in the index .... good luck.

    Summary: in its day it was good, but content seriously needs updating and index needs serious expansion.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


    Definitely THE definitive guide on Dojo!

    By Abe Music

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Dojo: The Definitive Guide:

    Dojo has been a staple in the all-inclusive JavaScript toolkit world for a while now, providing a buffet of useful (and not so useful) features that any web developer should at least consider before tackling a Web 2.0/Ajax-based project. Dojo is actually very easy to use and can dramatically increase developer's productivity - after the steep learning curve that is.

    I have been using Dojo (and many other toolkits) for quite some time, however, I fell off the wagon during the Dojo v0.4x days due to a lack of documentation and wandering completely off the path of web development. Recently, I have found the need to venture back into that realm and needed to brush up on my Dojo skills. I immediately went to to read up on any new features and improvements, and found that the documentation was still not quite right -- and with the increased feature set available today I felt like I was back at v0.4x again and the struggle was exponential. Reflecting on how much time I wasted poking around the source only to find that the documentation didn't match the current version's code was a nightmare - *shudders* - I didn't want to do that again.

    Lucky for me (and the rest of us) Matthew Russell has done a great deal of the legwork in explaining the ins and outs of Dojo's latest and greatest while dramatically reducing the learning curve. I can't say enough how important the order of learning things is when tackling a new toolkit, API, or language. Start small, learn the building blocks, and eventually you'll have something extremely useful in front of you that makes sense - something the Dojo docs could definitely use (not all of us want to read the API before starting) Russell's book accomplishes this very well by explaining the roots of Dojo upfront so when you reach more complex ground (like creating custom Dijits) you'll be well prepared.

    This book points out early that it is not meant to be a primer for web development -- so don't expect any hands-on guides for HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. However, it actually does do a very good job of not overcomplicating such things. If you know what the building blocks of web development are, you're interested in all that is the Dojo goodness, and you're not afraid to get your feet wet then I urge you to take a look at this book. You won't be disappointed.


    Simply Excellent

    By Mike A

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Dojo: The Definitive Guide:

    Matthew Russell has written a truly excellent book on Dojo. In this particular space the landscape is rapidly transforming and Dojo is one of the best tools available to build beautiful, rich web applications. Russell's coverage of the toolkit couldn't be better and the rythymn of the book makes it easy and interesting to read. Russell tells you what your are about to learn, teaches you, peppers you with clear functional examples (and the tools to execute them), then double-checks to make sure you learned what you were supposed to, then you move on and start all over again on the next topic. Every once in awhile you think "wait, I missed something", and then you read "Don't worry about that just yet, full coverage is coming up in Chapter 12" and so you put your mind at ease until the full coverage of the topic, and you are set. This is one of the few tech books I sat down and read cover to cover in a few days time, I couldn't get enough.

    I have been doing Java Development for almost 10 years and Web Development for most of those 10. In the past few years my focus has been on RIA and it has been pretty heavy Dojo-related in the last year. I think the material is covered with a real expert / insider's knowledge of the toolkit. I think that although having some web development experience will make this an easier read, it is probably fine for someone fairly junior. In fact it is so well written I bet I could get my mom using dojo.query() in less than a week.


    the Dojo Mojo

    By KSall

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Dojo: The Definitive Guide:

    Matthew Russell has captured what makes Dojo the "magic sauce" of the Ajax world. As he indicates in the book's dedication, Dojo can be your friend in combating browser idiosyncrasies. Since Russell has been an active participant in the Dojo development community for a long time, he's in an excellent position to write from an expert's viewpoint. Another Amazon reviewer has covered the book's contents thoroughly. "Dojo: The Definitive Guide" is very well-organized and covers lots of ground. I appreciate the fact that the author doesn't simply rehash online documentation; instead he provides real insight and coherent explanations. Like most O'Reilly books, the table of contents and index are invaluable in rapidly honing in on a particular subtopic.

    To get the most out of this book, you do need to have some web development background (JavaScript, CSS, HTML), but then who else would be purchasing this book? While the book might have benefited from a discussion of Dojo use with YUI, Google Gear, or other toolkits, the author points out this is out of scope. I imagine this saved more than a few trees. (Check out the ongoing efforts of the OpenAjax Alliance at if you need to combine multiple frameworks.) I would have preferred access to the code examples packaged in a convenient zip file; perhaps the author will add that to his O'Reilly catalog page. However, these points do not detract from the thoroughness in which Russell has covered a difficult and rapidly changing topic. The fact that it is edited by the always discerning Simon St. Laurent is definitely a plus. If you are a web developer who needs cross-browser support, you need this book in your library. This is truly "the Definitive Guide" for Dojo, at least for version 2.*.

    (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


    Deep coverage of Dojo

    By Pete Otaqui

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Dojo: The Definitive Guide:

    This review is an extract from a complete article.

    If I ever want to get a book on a subject and there is an O'Reilly Definitive Guide, I will choose that one - mostly based on having the Javascript and Actionscript equivalents. I have to say though that I felt a bit let down with this version, as DTDG isn't as comprehensive as I'm used to from the series. While the coverage is broad (more so than the other books in this review), it isn't all that deep in some key areas - missing out on some of the gotcha's that I have found indispensable when working with Dojo.

    I should make it clear that book is very clearly written with clean and helpful examples. It is also written with the clear intention of readers people build solid web applications beyond using Dojo.

    DTDG does go into excellent detail about the Dojo environment - bootstrapping, the build system, the dijit life-cycle, browser utilities, OOP with Dojo, Event management and the Publish / Subscribe mechanism, Ajax / JSON / JSONP / JSON-RPC, and more besides. I think few people who aren't Dojo committers could read and grok the book without gaining considerable insight.

    This puts the book in context - it isn't really for the average developer who wants to get an application up-and-running with Dojo. I would say it is for someone who wants a deeper understanding of the structure of the library, rather than how to hack something together with it. A good example is the explanation of dojo.byId(), a clear detailing of the vagaries of document.getElementById() - and why the former is more useful (however I'll leave you to go and buy the book to find out the specifics ;). (

    Displaying reviews 1-6

    Back to top

    Buy 2 Get 1 Free Free Shipping Guarantee
    Buying Options
    Immediate Access - Go Digital what's this?
    Ebook:  $31.99
    Formats:  DAISY, ePub, Mobi, PDF
    Print & Ebook:  $43.99
    Print:  $39.99