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5 Classic Books about JavaScript

January 29, 2021

In addition to HTML and CSS, JavaScript is currently one of the most well-known web-programming languages globally. Many apps and websites are built based on this popular programming language. Hence, if you’re a web developer and programmer, you need to grasp JavaScript. In your journey to becoming a master of JavaScript, your baggage cannot exclude classic books about JavaScript. In this review, we bring you a list of the top 5 must-read books about JavaScript from basic to advanced levels. Let’s check it out!

Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming

Author: Marijn Haverbeke
Number of pages: 224
Publication date: February 3rd, 2011.
Publisher: No Starch Press

The first book in the list of 5 classic books about JavaScript is Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming, written by Marijn Haverbeke.  This book covers basic to advanced knowledge about JavaScript, including DOM, Canvas, Ajax, and NodeJS. It discusses principles of programming and the relationship between programming languages ​​and computers. It consists of three main parts:

  1. Introduction to JavaScript, including variables, data types, data structures, functions, etc.
  2. Browser programming tutorials, including DOM.
  3. Basic knowledge of NodeJS, high-level functions, target-oriented programming.

Regarding good points, it’s generally comprehensible as the author explains technical knowledge step-by-step. The book also analyzes JavaScript and mentions underlying concepts related to HTTP and browsers’ requests to users.

The book provides illustrative sample projects, so you can follow easily and apply what you’ve learned from the book into practice. By learning theoretical knowledge and practicing, you can remember longer and create some simple products like a DIY website.

Classic Books about JavaScript: Eloquent JavaScript by Marijin Haverbeke
Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke

Nonetheless, the more you read, the more nerve-racking you feel, regardless of the author’s efforts to make the content easy to absorb. It’s because the level of difficulty gradually increases as you come into the last parts and chapters. 

In general, the book provides you with the “formula” and detailed guidance on how to code effectively and systematically. It’s indeed a book that those interested in Javascript will find it hard to put down.

See also: How to Learn Javascript

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

Author: David Flanagan
Number of pages: 1032
Publication date: August 24th, 2006
Publisher: O’Reilly Media

This book explores JavaScript and the platform API’s features from an expert perspective. It targets experienced programmers passionate about learning more about web-programming languages. Those who already know JavaScript can also read this book to become masters of JavaScript. 

In terms of content, this book contains 4 main parts:

  • Part 1: A detailed explanation of the JavaScript language, providing newbies with a comprehensive guide to JavaScript. 
  • Part 2: An explanation of the scripting environment from web browsers. In this part, the writer centers around DOM scripting.
  • Part 3: A further reference on core JavaScript. It refers explicitly to JavaScript 1.5 and ECMAScript Version 3.
  • Part 4: A referential source for client-side JavaScript, including APIs, Level 2 DOM API, etc.

This comprehensive reference book covers a complete and well-organized overview of the JavaScript language. Therefore, it’s useful for those who have a rough understanding of JavaScript to hone their skills further and acquire an in-depth insight into this programming language.

Classic Books about JavaScript: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan

However, you may find this book rather lengthy, with over 1000 pages. On top of that, the book requires you to delve into specialized Javascript knowledge. Therefore, it may be challenging for Javascript novices to absorb all the useful information in this book.

JavaScript Patterns, one of the best classic books about JavaScript

Author: Stoyan Stefanov
Number of pages: 216
Publication date: September 28th, 2010
Publisher: O’Reilly Media

This is a book about design patterns in JavaScript and how to apply them in practice. For instance, whether the application you design is client-side or server-side, this book will help you identify problems encountered during the coding process and find solutions to address those problems. 

Moreover, it reveals endearing habits to generate high-quality JavaScript code like avoiding globals. Plus, you will learn how to define a JavaScript function in various ways, such as using the function keywords or arrow function expressions. Moreover, the book also refers to common design patterns such as Singleton, Factory, or Decorator, etc.

Classic Books about JavaScript: JavaScript Patterns by Stoyan Stefanov
JavaScript Patterns by Stoyan Stefanov

The book provides advanced JavaScript concepts with a variety of examples and good explanations. You may find the book engaging to read and can uncover concealed secrets of modern JavaScript. Therefore, after reading this book, you can obtain a more thorough understanding of the JavaScript language. 

However, it’s not designed for beginners but for those trying to dig deeper into the JavaScript language. The book provides readers with specialized terms and advanced concepts that require a solid foundation in JavaScript. 

In general, the book targets software developers and those with a basic knowledge of JavaScript, giving them a deeper understanding of how to design and develop large-scale applications.

JavaScript: The Good Parts

Author: Douglas Crockford
Number of pages: 153
Publication date: May 1st, 2008
Publisher: Yahoo Press

JavaScript: The Good Parts is another worth-reading for web developers and programmers interested in JavaScript. This book discusses the bad habits JS developers have, such as eval, global variable, etc. It also provides readers with a variety of tips to write better code.

Besides, this book analyzes the best parts of JavaScript comprehensively. From then on, you can see the beauty of this language.  Specifically, the author points out that every programming language consists of 3 main parts:

  • Good parts: The language is useful and therefore used widely.
  • Bad parts: The language has some weak points like the low level of abstraction or the lack of namespace concept, but we can avoid those points.
  • Awful parts: The language has some drawbacks, such as complex run-time checking or lack of exception handling, but we still have to use it.

The book suggests that a good programmer should identify and understand each of the parts above to use the programming language more effectively. In particular, programmers should contribute to furthering JavaScript’s refinement since it was hurriedly created and developed.

Classic Books about JavaScript: JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford
JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

What many cherish in this book is that it looks at JavaScript from an original and analytical perspective. This way helps to awaken a multidimensional and critical outlook at JavaScript you have never thought about before. In other words, you will see more clearly that though a wonderful language, JavaScript still has dark sides. 

However, it’s not advisable to read this book unless you have at least 1 – 2 years of JavaScript coding experience. The explanations and illustrations of difficult concepts are sometimes moderately complex, even for those with JavaScript experience. 

JavaScript and jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development

Author: Jon Duckett
Number of pages: 640
Publication date: June 30th, 2014
Publisher: Wiley

The last item in the list of 5 classic books about JavaScript is JavaScript and jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development. In addition to books about HTML and CSS, Jon Duckett continues to bring out a book on JavaScript and jQuery. This book gives you an insight into JavaScript syntax and how to use variables, methods, loops, arrays, etc.

Furthermore, this book develops a visual approach to JavaScript & jQuery. Hence, you will grasp how to design web pages to engage more interactions by using inspiring code examples, infographics, and photography. In order words, you can adopt some useful techniques in this book to design your websites, like adding animation, or sorting data, etc. 

Classic Books about JavaScript: JavaScript and jQuery by Jon Duckett
JavaScript and jQuery by Jon Duckett

Besides useful information about JavaScripts, JavaScript APIs, and jQuery plugins, this book includes colorful visual illustrations like diagrams and imagery, making it easy to read and follow. The writing style is well-organized and fascinating, which contributes to the popularity of this book. 

Nevertheless, those who have already been a programmer or had programming experience may find this book boring. It’s only a fundamental knowledge revision and a collection of terms. In brief, the book content is understandable without having previous programming experience, so it is truly a book for beginners.

The final thought

All in all, with the top classic JavaScript books above, you can absorb useful JavaScript knowledge in the journey to mastering JavaScript. Though each item in the list of top 5 classic books about JavaScript has its strong points and weaknesses, all of them are worth reading. Importantly, you can easily apply the information you digest from those books into your projects and enjoy better results.

See also: Top 7 Web Development Languages To Use In 2021

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