Beginning JavaScript (with DOM Scripting and AJAX)

About the Author

Here's a bit of information about me, the author of the book you hopefully bought and came here to download the accompanying code examples for. A lot of information has been omitted to protect the innocent and to stop evil-doers of this world to find out my secret weaknesses and use them to stop me from foiling their plans for world domination. Christian Heilmann, ready for the big fight

Youth and Greed

I was born in a small town in Germany and soon found a fascination for computers and what can be done with them (paint pictures without having a clue about painting with pen and paper, fake Math homework, communicate with the world - the latter first via swapping floppy disks via mail, then via a modem and BBSes and finally later on via email using my Commodore 64 and a university shell).

Time out

I spent a year working for the Red Cross (instead of joining the army - which is still mandatory for reasonably healthy German lads when they turn 18) as a bus driver for handicapped children before coming back into the job market and starting at a radio station as an audio producer / news editor. There I got my first internet connection and was immediately taken in - a media that anyone can participate in for free!

A developer is born

I taught myself web development techniques like HTML around 1996 and finished my first web site on a laptop during a small hospital stay using Netscape Composer and manual fixing until I got fed up with the results and started from scratch using notepad and my brains. The web site that was the result of these endeavours got some local ISPs interested in me and I did some small web sites for local shops.

Joining the bigger market

These in turn alerted a headhunting agency from Munich and lead them to ask me if I wanted to give a large German car manufacturer with three letters a hand in developing their web site and intranet. I relocated to the very south of Germany and spent two month painting two buttons, writing five A4 pages why I painted the buttons like this. Furthermore I created some proof of concept JavaScript enhanced forms that were to become part of the admin section of the intranet.

When this contract ended I went to Munich, looked at the prices for renting a flat and fled to a smaller nearby city, where I got a job in a web agency creating my first online shops in Intershop 4 and dabbling in Perl. Some other clients included a big German bank, a shop for high class manufactured products and a publishing house. When the job turned sour I walked around Munich to find a new job and joined (after some stints contracting for smaller "hip" agencies) PopNet, a "cross media agency", where I delivered yet more shops (this time in Intershop Infinity with Java as the backend), a "community" site and some other bits and bobs.


I was approached (decently) by someone working for etoys - something like Amazon for toys - and got sent to the UK for training. During the training session I explained that HTML 3.2 will soon be history (hah, I was so young!) and pointed out the benefits of that newfangled HTML 4 and CSS. That was enough for etoys to declare me a trainer and made me define the development standards for the UK office. I was sent for a short while to Los Angeles (which turned out several months in which the Munich office shut down and I became a UK employee) to do the same and helped rolling out the Y2K release of the page in Template Toolkit. Afterwards I was sent to San Francisco to work for the subsidiary where I heard the UK office shut down. I was even too late handing my company laptop back in!

Settled on the island

Christian Heilmann, behaving silly in a Japanese Restaurant

I started at Netdecisions, which later on became Agilisys and delivered a multitude of projects over 5 years, in every constellation of backends, CMSes and frontend technologies possible. Some names are,, parts of the European HP web site, and several ill-fated joint ventures and smaller sites. My job there also included looking after a team in the UK and India, and spending many an hour in allocations meetings and reviewing products and technologies. One of my favourite pastimes there was accessibility consulting and workshops with clients but when that ceased I felt the developer's itch again. Being too pretty for investment banking, and having a rollercoaster CV like this, I ended up applying for Yahoo! and this is where I am now.

For those still awake, I got the opportunity to write this book after releasing a lot of online articles and blog posts, some of the relevant ones you can find in the related publications section.

Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional