JavaScript: some good books

11:20 AM Xun 1 Comments

Even within the highly concentrated little world of JavaScript, the amount of information and knowledge can be overwhelming. And they rush to you in every kind of media: books, blogs, online articles, video presentations, websites that dedicated to collect more source code than you can ever possibly read or even browse through. If you were like me, you probably would just jump from page to page, led by the guiding hand of google, then get lost from traveling along the circulous, endless-branching, criss-crossing paths.

At times like this, books may offer you an anchor. If you are patient enough, good books may even offer you great many ah-ha moments, cystal clear insights into concepts that were murky and clouded by competing, half-baked opinions on the web.

With regards to JavaScript, the following books are on my list of good books:

JavaScript: The Good Parts
by Doug Crockford

Available on amazon. However you can also read free here.

Crockford is an eloquant speaker and writer. His insight and keen observation made it possible for him to "discover" the gold of object literal notation (JSON) in its flexibility of representing any structure in simple, succinct and accessible manner.

In JavaScript: The Good Parts, Crockford presents JavaScript's blunders or things that meant for good, however went bad through entrenched bad practices; yet through evil and less ideal, he illustrates how effective, dynamic and liberating and expressive JavaScript can be. Where Java Applet fails, JavaScript shines and wins as the language of the web. Crockford also gave a series of talks surrounding the goodness and badness of JavaScript. All of the videos can be found, you know, at YouTube.

Pro JavaScript Techniques
by John Resig

John Resig is the number one celebrity of the community. Young, penetratingly smart, he created jQuery. He aslo rolled out a bunch of books mostly about JQuery. This Pro JavaScript Techniques however is not JQuery specific, it addresses a wide range of best practices and advanced techniques, such as object-oriented JavaScript, testing and debugging, unobustrusive JavaScript, etc., then he illustrates his techniques with sophisticated real life examples, auto-complete search, image gallaries, an ajax wiki. I am sure the moment you put down the book, you will be able to put together a dazzling web site.

High Performance JavaScript
by Nicholas C. Zakas

Nicholas C. Zakas is also a highly recongnizable name. He is the principal front end engineer for Yahoo! He has authored accaimled JavaScript book Professional JavaScript for web developers and co-authored Professional Ajax. Nicholas also frequently speaks in various venus.

About the book. Fast, better, responsive web is forever the goal for any websites. With JavaScript growing in complexity and size, optimization through better coding, better DOM handling, code minimalization are more important than ever. So in the book: High Performance JavaScript, Nicolas illustrates various techniques, do-s and dont-s, to speed up page loading and eliminate performance bottlenecks. Rather than just saying you need to do this and that, he also back up his case by showing various performance metrics among different browsers.

Professional JavaScript for web developers
by Nicholas C. Zakas

The book features a very handsome Nicholas C. Zakas on the cover, which, in short order, is followed by a forward that succinctly yet beatifully captures the trajectory of JavaScript, and continues on to offer a glowing Why Nicholas' book is such a great book. Quotes blow:

"What Zakas accomplished with Professional JavaScript for Web Developers is singular: he treated JavaScript as a subject that is both serious and accessible. If you are a programmer, you will learn where JavaScript fits into the broader spectrum of languages and paradigms with which you're farmiliar. You'll learn how its sytem of inheritance and its intrinsic dynamism are, yes, unconventional but also liberating and powerful."

Pro JavaScript Design Patterns
by Ross Harmes, Dustin Diaz

Published in 2008, this book could be a little out dated to your taste. However, you can read to your heart's content to soak in all of the object-oriented patterns, and how can you apply those in JavaScript in real life examples. And if you are to design a complex JavaScript application, it is probably a good idea to think through your structure through the lens of those object-oriented design patterns.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
by David Flanagan

From the first edition in 1996, to the six edition in 2011, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide certainly passed the test of longetivity. It also says its enduring appeal to programmers, either novices or professionals. With each edition, the book shed some out-dated concepts and incorporates some new standards and pratices, which is great. I am sure The Definitive Guide is going to live for as long as JavaScript lives.

Oh, boy, the definitive guide is bulky, however it has very straight-forward structure: Core JavaScript, meant to be a JavaScript language reference, to me it can be a quick cheat sheet; Client Side javascript, gets into the implemenation business, JavaScript in action. To me, the first part is more valuable. The second part comes across as a little too simplistic or inadequate.

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