JavaScript Beginners Book Choice
JavaScript Beginners Book Choice
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 24 August 2017
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JavaScript Beginners Book Choice
Scripting and Games Programming
jQuery for Beginners

 

Beginning JavaScript

Author: Paul Wilton & Jeremy McPeak
Publisher: Wrox, 2015 5th Edition
Pages: 792
ISBN: 978-0470525937

While this is a solid and comprehensive book, suitable for the well motivated beginner, it suffers from dry presentation of material, and  frameworks are only introduced at the end. It is aimed at the non-programming beginner who knows something about web design and construction and is a very traditional and solid approach to learning JavaScript. We reviewed the 4th edition, but there has been a more recent 5th edition.

 

 

While awarding it a 4 star rating, Ian Elliot says the book suffers from the common problem of trying to tell the beginner too much in an effort to be complete, advising beginners that it might make sense to skip the detail. Later chapters deal with more advanced techniques and focus on using JavaScript in the browser - forms handling, strings, date and time and timers and cookies.Most of the examples used are small enough to be understandable and reasonable enough for the non-programmer to see why doing something similar might be useful.

Scriptin' with JavaScript and Ajax

Author: Charles Wyke-Smith  
Publisher: New Riders, 2009
ISBN: 978-0321572608
Pages: 312

This, according to Mike James, who gave it a 5 star rating, is quite a successful introduction to Javascript and all of the many different technologies that you have to master to make use of it. You can mostly ignore the "Ajax" part of the title, which is just there to catch your attention.

The book isn't a reference guide to JavaScript or Ajax and it isn't an introduction to Javascript as an isolated computer language. The approach tackles the more difficult topic of JavaScript in the browser doing useful things.

However, given its subtitle, A Designer's Guide, and the broad remit, you can't expect the book to get very far and given it's quite thin you might suspect that it doesn't get anywhere.This isn't the case and you need to be warned that while the ideas are clearly explained there are a lot of them in a very few pages. Of course if you are looking for something that gets to the practical point as quickly as possible this is an advantage.

Mike's conclusion - a good book, well written and as long as you're not a dummy and are willing to learn it's fun.

3D Game Programming for Kids

Author:Chris Strom
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2013
Pages: 250

ISBN: 978-1937785444

This book introduces kids to JavaScript using 3D graphics. As Mike James observed, giving the book a rating of 4.5:

"JavaScript can be an idiosyncratic language and if you are going to teach it properly as a first language you have to either decide that the student is going to learn a non-typical language or you have to restrict what you teach to keep it both simple and general. It is a problem that might put off an academic wanting to teach a pure object-oriented or functional approach - but when you are teaching kids a first language there are other considerations. 

Perhaps the most important of these is motivation."

The book combines JavaScript with Three.js and other libraries to make it easy to create not just 3D graphics but games, and Mike says that if a beginner makes it as far as Chapter 8 they are probably going to, if not necessarily make it to the end of the book, master programming.

He says that this is a book that doesn't teach you to program, instead it provides things that you want to do that need you to know how to program and it explains those things as it goes. Sometimes it gets the level wrong and you think - "why explain this here" or it doesn't go deep enough at a point where you think that this would be a good place to get some theory across. You have to put up with this as this isn't a theory-oriented book that goes through the standard motions of learning a language.

It is also as much a book about 3D programming as it is about JavaScript. A lot of the code is just object creation and customization. As a result the reader doesn't get to program many basic algorithms and when they move on they might get a bit lost. But armed with the confidence that they had programmed complete and complicated games they probably would persevere and master the difficulty. 

You could also use the book as an introduction to 3D programming with Three.js even if you know JavaScript. What it doesn't do is teach you JavaScript to a level where you could go out and build a web app or a dynamic web site. Its purpose is to get the reader interested, motivated and confident that they can do almost anything with JavaScript.

His final conclusion:

"Oh and did I mention it's a lot of fun."

 

 

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<ASIN: 0321572602>

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<ASIN: 1937785440>

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