Advanced JavaScript Book Choices
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 18 December 2017
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Advanced JavaScript Book Choices
JavaScript Beyond the Essentials
Clever JavaScript



Clever JavaScript

If you are an enthusiastic fan of JavaScript then you might like to add any of the following books to your library.


The Art & Science of JavaScript

Author: Cameron Adams, James Edwards, Christian Heilmann, Ara Pehlivanian, Dan Webb, Simon Willison & Michael Mahemoff 
Publisher: Sitepoint, 2008
ISBN: 978-0980285840

This is a book that is all about idioms and is full of interesting examples of doing clever things.

On the other hand, Ian only gave it a rating of 4 on the grounds that:

"overall this book is a mess. The reason is that its written by a collection of authors and hence isn’t a single person’s unified view. This is a shame because it makes many of the excellent ideas difficult to place into a framework that we could call “advanced JavaScript”.

Test-Driven JavaScript Development

Author: Christian Johansen
Publisher: Addison Wesley, 2010
Pages: 600
ISBN: 978-0321683915

This is a book that gives good explanations of advanced topics and its main problem is its title in that that it isn't focused on test driven development. Instead it's an enjoyable read that goes into the details of JavaScript from a programmer's point of view, earning a rating of 4.5 from our reviewer.

The review concluded that

"At the end of the book I felt I'd learned a lot about Javascript and a little about the testing approach to building programs. However I didn't feel that I was on top of the TDD approach and would probably need another book or some additional help... However overall this is a really good book on Javascript that you can return to often."

Test Driving JavaScript Applications

Author: Dr. Venkat Subramaniam
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf (2016)
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-1680501742

This is a book that looks at how to use automated testing to improve the quality of your code. Subtitled Rapid, Confident, Maintainable Code, and looks at how a number of automated testing tools can be used, including Karma, Mocha, Chai, Istanbul,Sinon and Protractor.

Our review concluded:

"This is a good introduction to the various testing tools, and some of the suggestions for ways to test made me think about better ways to test my own code. An interesting read."

D3.JS By Example

Author: Michael Heydt
Publisher: Packt Publishing (2015)
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-1785280085 

This book aims to introduce the popular D3 data visualization framework by means of examples, and according to reviewer Ian Stirk, it certainly succeeds. He found the book to be well written, and easy to read. There are helpful diagrams, step-by-step code walkthroughs, inter-chapter links, and links to further information.

The book introduces D3 with simple initial examples, and adds new functionality as the book progresses, providing steadily increasing knowledge. To get the most out of the book, you need some basic understanding of programming, but not too much. For me, the highlight was the use of to run the example code, making it much easier to follow along.

Awarding it a rating of 4.5, Ian Stirk concluded:

"If you want to learn data visualization using the D3 framework, I can heartily recommend this instructive example-led book."



You Don't Know JS: this & Object Prototypes

Author: Kyle Simpson
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2014
Pages: 174
ISBN: 978-1491904152

A small focused book on the two most difficult topics in JavaScript sounds like a really good idea. It is useful, according to reviewer Ian Elliot, because the majority of programmers misunderstand the use of this and the so-called prototypical inheritance that JavaScript offers. Then there is the second big problem of programmers coming from a class-based, object-oriented background, and that's most of us, trying to turn JavaScript into something it isn't - again this mostly centers on clever use of this and prototype. 

Concluding that the book takes the right approach in treating JavaScript as JavaScript rather than trying to make it something else, Ian still thought the organization overly complex. However he says that

"If you do know JavaScript then reading it will be fun because you can spend time working out why you don't think about it quite in the same way."

Supercharged JavaScript Graphics

Author: Raffaele Cecco
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2011
Pages: 280
ISBN: 978-1449393632

This book was described by Ian Elliot as "fun to read" and "probably the best book I have read this year".

Ian summed it up as:

well written and full of useful and sensible discussions of how things work and how best to achieve a result. If you are a reasonably good JavaScript programmer and interested in graphics then you can't help but enjoy reading it.

If Hemingway Wrote JavaScript

Author: Angus Croll
Publisher: No Starch Press, 2014
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781593275853 

This book is a fun read. It consists of Short JavaScript programs imagined as if created by famous literary personages from Chaucer to Douglas Adams. How does that work? Quite well, according to Lucy Black, who awarded the book 4.5 stars.


The idea is, what if William Shakespeare were asked to generate the Fibonacci series or Jane Austen had to write a factorial program? Lucy said:

"I had fun dipping into this attractively produced book and part of the reason was the author's obvious enjoyment in writing it. Along the way I learned about some authors I was unfamiliar with and also some unusual, although usually not useful, JavaScript idioms"

Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja

Author: John Resig & Bear Bibeault
Publisher: Manning, 2016
Pages: 300
ISBN: 978-1617292859

There is no doubt that if anyone deserves to be called a JavaScript Ninja it's John Resig, one of this book's authors and creator of jQuery among other things.

This book isn't aimed at beginners and it isn't a coherent course introducing JavaScript even to a programmer. What it is is a set of looks at how JavaScript is different, so before you read this you need to have a reasonable grasp of JavaScript as a conventional language and want to know more.


The approach taken throughout the book is a mixture of easy to follow explanations and less easy to follow examples. The examples generally show you something and then asks you what you expect to happen. Then it tells you the actual outcome and tries to make the general behaviour clear.

Reviewer Ian Elliot suggested that an alternative title for the book could have been "JavaScript - the interesting parts", and while he had minor niggles about the book, he said:

"It is important to note that this is a really enjoyable book if you know enough JavaScript and are enthusiastic to learn more. It really is a lot of fun and it could well make readers rethink their attitude to JavaScript and how they use it. As long as you are not a JavaScript beginner or a JavaScript denier,  this book comes highly recommended."

The JavaScript Pocket Guide

Author: Lenny Burdette
Publisher: Peachpit Press, 2010
Pages: 312
ISBN: 978-0321700957

Despite the title, this isn't a reference book. Instead it is, according to Ian Elliot, a well written and easy to read introduction to Javascript and its associated technologies.

His conclusion is that

It's well worth having a copy and not just in your pocket. If you want a short introduction to all things Javascript then this is a great place to start.


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More JavaScript books

If you think we've missed your favourite JavaScript title there's a chance we have reviewed it but just not included it in this round up. The complete, and ever increasing, list of our JavaScript book reviews can be found here. However, we do know there are more JavaScript titles out there - and as new editions of them come out we will try to cover them.

Meanwhile if you want to give our reviewers reading recommendations then email Bookwatch.


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Last Updated ( Monday, 18 December 2017 )