Elisabeth Robson

Elisabeth Robson

Internet technology expert, technology manager, author

Seattle, Washington

Elisabeth first got hooked on computers when she wrote a BASIC program to fill up her Commodore 64's monitor screen full of hearts. She's loved getting computers to do fun things ever since. She's tinkered with everything from super computers to her iPhone, and she's been programming the Web since the early days, when she built one of the first online resources for women in technology. Along with her many years of programming experience, Elisabeth has produced online training, and written four best-selling books and an online video course for O'Reilly Media (Head First Design Patterns, Head First HTML and CSS, Head First JavaScript Programming, Head First HTML5 Programming, and Learn to Build iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript). She is currently co-founder and principal at WickedlySmart, an education content and technology company.

Head First JavaScript Programming Head First JavaScript Programming
by Elisabeth Robson, Eric Freeman
March 2014
Print: $49.99
Ebook: $42.99

Head First HTML and CSS Head First HTML and CSS
by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson
Second Edition August 2012
Print: $39.99
Ebook: $33.99

Head First HTML5 Programming Head First HTML5 Programming
by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson
October 2011
Print: $49.99
Ebook: $41.99

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML
by Elisabeth Robson, Eric Freeman
December 2005
Ebook: $31.99

Head First Design Patterns Head First Design Patterns
by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
October 2004
Print: $59.99
Ebook: $50.99

Learn to Build iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript Learn to Build iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
by Elisabeth Robson
December 2009
Video: $159.99

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Elisabeth blogs at:



What it really means when people say “Everything in JavaScript is an object”

May 30 2014

When you begin programming with JavaScript you might run across books, tutorials, and people who say “Everything in JavaScript is an object.” While it’s not 100% true (not *everything* is an object), it is *mostly* true. And sometimes this can … read more

Dos and Don’ts in JavaScript

May 20 2014

  With every programming language, there’s a list of do’s and don’ts and JavaScript is no exception. Some of these best practices are there for your protection (like always always always using semi-colons!); some to make your code more readable … read more

I just slipped on a banana peel named “this”

May 14 2014

In JavaScript, the special variable this is used to refer an object. But which object this refers too depends on the code you’re executing and how this is used. So, a common problem for those learning JavaScript is keeping track … read more

What is that upside-down tree doing in my browser?

May 07 2014

The secret to getting your web pages to do your bidding with code is to use JavaScript to manipulate the Document Object Model, or DOM. The DOM is an upside-down tree-like structure that the browser uses to represent your web … read more

Wait, where is my variable defined?

April 30 2014

  You may have noticed that Head First JavaScript Programming is released! Now that the book is done, we’ve got a few more Head First JavaScript Programming teasers for you. The book is aimed at those of you who are … read more

Are You Ready for an Advanced JavaScript Course?

March 04 2014

New Advanced JavaScript Essentials Course Takes You from a “Scripter” to a Knowledgeable Programmer with a Deep Dive into the JavaScript Language One of the great things about JavaScript is that it’s relatively easy to get started. All you need is a text editor and a browser. That, plus a… read more

JavaScript Flexibility: Fun, But Use with Care

May 21 2013

When you begin programming in JavaScript, you’ll need to use variables. A variable is just a bit of storage to hold a value. Just about every line of code you write will use a variable of one kind or another, … read more

JavaScript Makes Browsers Behave

May 14 2013

If you know HTML and CSS, you’re ready to begin learning JavaScript. But you might be surprised, because JavaScript looks quite different from both HTML and CSS. That’s because JavaScript is a language for computation. Unlike HTML, which is for … read more

Cutting Your Programming Teeth on JavaScript

May 07 2013

JavaScript is a bit different from other programming languages. How? Well, JavaScript runs in an environment, and that’s usually the browser. So when you learn JavaScript, you’ll learn both the language basics, as well as how to use JavaScript in … read more

Location, Location, Location

April 30 2013

Everyone knows you add JavaScript to your page by putting your <script> element at the top of your HTML page, right? Not so fast. In part two of Head First JavaScript Programming Teasers, Eric explains the nuts and bolts of … read more

Yet another JavaScript book?

April 23 2013

Eric Freeman and I are writing a new book: Head First JavaScript Programming, and to go along with it, we’re creating a series of teaser videos to give you a taste of what’s coming in the book, and a chance … read more

Get ready to create an Android Twitter app

May 04 2010

If you're interested in learning how to build a Twitter app on your Android phone with Java then you'll want to check out our upcoming online course, Developing Android Applications with Java: Building a Twitter App, and you'll want to watch this screencast so you're ready to go on the… read more

Getting started with the SplitViewController on the iPad

April 23 2010

In this screencast, I show you how to build a simple iPad app using the new SplitViewController. As we build the app, you'll learn the basics of creating a SplitViewController-based app, and how to implement a simple XML reader to read an XML feed, display a list of article titles… read more

Using CSS Media Queries to Style Your iPhone and iPad HTML

April 17 2010

In my previous post, I showed how you can use JavaScript to detect orientation and style your iPhone and iPad pages. As reader Jason Grigsby kindly pointed out, you can also do this purely with CSS Media Queries! I've reworked the file I made for that example to use CSS… read more

Styling your web pages for iPhone and iPad

April 03 2010

Now that the iPad is out, it's time to style your web pages so they look good on both the iPhone and the iPad. read more

Making an O'Reilly RSS iPhone App with TapLynx

October 27 2009

There has been an explosion of interest in creating content for the iPhone in the past couple of years, and recently, a corresponding rush of libraries and frameworks to make building iPhone apps easier for those of us who are not experts in Objective-C and Cocoa Touch. Some of these… read more

Developing iPhone Apps Requires Xcode on the Mac

October 07 2009

I've had a few questions about the software I used in my previous screencasts. I created the app using Xcode for the Mac. Xcode is a developer tool, and if you want to develop iPhone apps, you'll need to download both Xcode and the iPhone SDK. read more

O'Reilly Books Example updated: Show a different image for each book

July 12 2009

I got some great feedback on my first screencast - thank you! A few of you asked: how can you show a different view for each of the rows in the table view, instead of just showing the same view... read more

iPhone workshop frequently asked question: Key Value Coding error

July 01 2009

One of the most common questions from the iPhone workshops we held recently is: "What is key value coding and why the heck am I getting this error?" read more

Tab bars and Navigation bars together

June 24 2009

The TableView is a common way to display data on an iPhone. Combining a tab bar with a table view and navigation bar isn't very difficult, but it took me forever to figure out how to do it properly. read more

Big learning curve for iPhone development

June 22 2009

I just started learning how to develop for the iPhone. After helping to put together an iPhone workshop with my friend Joe Heck, I got really excited about this new platform. I've dabbled in Cocoa and Objective C before, many years ago, and figured it was time to relearn Mac… read more

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Webcast: 10 things every web developer, designer (and manager) should know about HTML5
December 02, 2011
In this webcast we'll give you a 45 minute jumpstart on this new technology and everything you need to know when you walk into your next staff meeting and the subject comes up.

"I would recommend this volume for anyone seeking to deeply understand the basics of web page layout and formatting, it also forms a solid background for more advanced Web Programming topics and it explains enough of what is going on on the server and the network to support further study."
--Ira Laefsky, Amazon.com

"Head First HTML5 Programming is a good book if you know HTML, CSS and at least a little Javascript."
--Stefan Mischook, Killersites.com

"After reading Head First Design Patterns cover to cover, I don't think I could point to another book that is better tailored to my (and I hope your) kind of thinking. I've already used several of the chapters to help out with specific projects. Don't let the fact that this book is aimed at Java Developers. You can just as easily apply it's contents to C++ or any other object oriented language. Heck, I've even implemented some of the patterns in plain-old ANSI-C (i.e., a non-OO language), with great results (there are many books out there on how to implement objects in a non-OO language). If you are doing much code development, either as a student, hobbyist or professional, I can't recommend this book highly enough."
--Chris Parker, Amazon.com

"A pleasant, somewhat goofy alternative."
--Andrew Binstock, Dr. Dobbs

"If you work with any class-based OOP languages (AS3, C#, etc.) you must read this book."
--Michael James Williams, Activetuts+

"Ultimately if you are familiar with HTML, CSS and JavaScript but wish to update your skill set then this is definitely a book you should place on your holiday, birthday, Amazon wish list. I honestly do not think you will be disappointed."
--Mikel King, JAFDIP

"A excellent book for coders interested in learning HTML5 in a quick, memorable, and practical way. "
--Armando Roggio, eCommerce Developer

"Eric Freeman & Elisabeth Robson have done the community a great favor with the addition of Head First HTML5 Programming. If you are a designer or product manager or backend engineer (though as the latter you will have to get past the less serious tone you may be accustomed to) then this book is for you...Its really hard to write a book for the complete newbie yet remain technically accurate. The authors have done this and more. Let the shared understanding grow. Highly recommended."
--Bill Scott, Looks Good Works Well

"If you’ve been wondering about the new features in HTML5, this book is a good introduction. The authors have stuck to the parts of HTML5 that are pretty well defined, and stayed away from those parts of the standard that are still changing. The Head First style presents you with the material from many different angles, which helps to make sure that your brain holds onto it. One of my daughters is interested in web programming. She needs just a little more CSS learning and then she’ll be ready to step up to dynamic HTML / HTML5. When she is, I’ll be handing her a copy of this book."
--Ted Leung, Ted Leung on the Air/Sauria.com

"Head First HTML5 Programming advertises that it will promises to help “load HTML5 and JavaScript straight into your brain,” and it seems to start doing that right after you open its pages — as long as you keep an open mind about using a programming book that is actually enjoyable and fun to read while it instructs."
--Si Dunn, Sagecreek Productions

"You'll get a book that focuses on helping you "get" HTML5 and helping you not to forget what you learned...I highly recommend this book. It is aimed to help you learn, have fun while you're learning, and to help you retain this knowledge so you can go out there and do great HTML5 stuff."
--John Wetherbie, JavaRanch

"I'm still very much a novice when it comes to web developer, but was able to make it through the first few chapters without much trouble. Once I got deeper into the book, however, I decided to switch over to O'Reilly's Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML for a refresher course. With that knowledge firmly in my head, I was able to get through the rest of the book without much outside research. By the time I got to the new tags, I started figuring out steps well before they were introduced in the book. I don't recommend jumping ahead in any chapters - even if you already know it - but it is the best testament possible for the book's methods. They work."
--Ricky Tucker, Game Vortex

"Head First HTML5 Programming is a great book! For being a teaching book its very effective and is a much more interesting read than most tech teaching books are...The book is very entertaining to read as well and because of the subtle use of repetition, I found myself not having to refer back as much because I actually remembered the information...I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking at doing any type of web development or even WebOS development too, as it uses many of the HTML5 concepts which are taught in the book."
--Editor of AnythingButApple, AnythingButApple

"...an entertaining yet instructive and compelling tutorial on how beginners can learn to use many of the advanced new techniques in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript."
--Michael J. Ross, Web Developer, Slashdot.org

"The authors have hit the nail on the head—JavaScript skills are the key to HTML5. Even if you've never written a JavaScript program before, they'll quickly get you up and running through a series of fun and practical projects."
--David Powers

"This ain't your grandpa's DHTML! Head First HTML5 Programming paints a hopeful and confident picture of the future of the Web through HTML5, while empowering you to code your own ticket there. If you're seeking a definitive, accessible, and at times pretty funny guidebook to this standard, look no further."
--Manny Otto

"Straightforward, informative and entertaining, Head First HTML5 Programming is a must for anyone wanting to get started with HTML5 or just to refresh their skills. The Head First series helps me to keep my technical skills up to date allowing me to better support my developers and projects."
--Todd Guill

"HTML5 is the hottest new technology for website development. Developers far and wide can’t wait to put it to use to build flexible, rich media websites that also work great on tablets and smart phones. Head First HTML5 Programming is the best and funnest way to feed this exciting new technology to your brain. I highly recommend it!"
--Marianne Marck

"With Head First HTML5 Programming, the multiplicity of HTML5 is approached with a multiplicity in the medium that makes the hard work of learning fun."
--Ward Cunningham

"HTML5 is a cake with many layers of technologies. Head First HTML5 Programming bakes that cake, and then throws it at your face. You will consume deliciousness and rejoice. "
--Josh Rhoades