JavaScript Beginners Book Choice
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 24 August 2017
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JavaScript Beginners Book Choice
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In almost a decade I Programmer's book reviewers have read and commented on over 1500 programming titles. That's only a fraction of the programming books published, but we try to cover the important ones. In Programmer's Bookshelf we recommend the books you might find helpful at different stages in your personal development.

JavaScript is a language that suffers from its very name. It is often misunderstood simply because of the inclusion of "script" in its name. However, it is now one of the most important languages around.  If you need more persuasion, see JavaScript inherits the earthJavaScript Is Basic's Offspring and JavaScript The Language With Two Names.

In general if you are looking for a book on JavaScript you are spoiled for choice. There are plenty of books on this language and many of the books are good or excellent. As there are so many JavaScript books which were highly rated, we've split them into two piles. This is our selection of JavaScript books for Beginners - either complete beginners, or beginners to JavaScript. We'll look at Java books for experienced JavaScript programmers next time.


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If you want to read more of the original review click in the link in each title. Clicking on the book jacket in the side panel will take you to Amazon. If you just want to find out more about the book click in the top portion of the thumbnail to open the book's product details page. If you do decide to make a book purchase accessing Amazon from a link on I Programmer means that we are credited with a few cents - so thanks to all of you who support us in this way.

JavaScript 24-Hour Trainer 

Author: Jeremy McPeak
Publisher: Wrox, 2010
Pages: 456
ISBN: 978-0470647837

This title is one of the 24-hour series from Wrox with book and DVD packages. It offers a fairly standard introduction to JavaScript but with the added feature of having a DVD with video lessons bound into the back.

Ian Elliot gave it a 4 star rating, saying that overall the book takes a good modern approach to JavaScript which emphasizes its good points and warns about its bad points. It is reasonably advanced in that it explains how objects work but it doesn't go the whole way and take an object-oriented approach to coding JavaScript. He says this is probably reasonable given the level it is working at and the sort of tasks it considers. For the same reasons it doesn't go into the more advanced aspects of JavaScript such as using closures or functional programming - this is also probably the right thing to do.




The lessons are all quite short, which is an advantage but it can mean that a lot of ground is covered and you need to keep up. The book probably isn't suitable for the complete beginner unless they are prepared to work fairly hard. The videos help in that they walk you through the examples and provide comments which aren't in the book. In conclusion, if you are looking for an introduction to JavaScript that focuses mainly on how you use it within a browser this is a good choice.

Murach's JavaScript, 2nd Ed

Authors: Joel Murach and Michael Urban
Publisher: Murach & Associates (2010)
Pages: 630
ISBN: 978-1890774851

Murach's books on technical topics are a well known series and they follow a fairly standard pattern which you either love or hate. However, as Ian Elliot observes, giving this book a 4 star rating, there isn't much to hate about them because they don't go in for anything revolutionary by way of presentation. In this case JavaScript is covered in a workmanlike fashion from the simple stuff to the advanced.

Ian's conclusion is that overall, as long as you are not a complete beginner, this is a good book if you like JavaScript presented in a "how to" format. There are lots of examples all the way through and these are reasonably realistic. The book also mentions ECMAScript 5 and explains that some of the functions might not be available in older browsers. It doesn't really cover ECMAScript 2015 but this isn't a huge problem for a book that is about using JavaScript in the browser. The biggest omission is that it doesn't say anything much about Ajax which is fairly core to creating single-page applications. 




As an introduction to practical JavaScript in the browser, this book has the advantages of begin clear and task oriented. All of the chapters are called "How To" and many of the sub-heading are "How to use". If this is what you are looking for, Ian's advice is to buy a copy.

Simply Javascript

Author: Kevin Yank & Cameron Adams
Publisher: Sitepoint, 2007
Pages: 424
ISBN: 978-0980285802

This is quite an old book, but as it describes classic JavaScript, is still relevant. Just be aware that it doesn't cover material from ECMA Script 2015 onwards as that postdates the book.

Giving it a 4 star rating, Mike James says the author clearly knows his stuff and despite the attempt at creating a beginner’s book there are lots of things that will interest the intermediate to expert reader. It emphasises the complexities of having to deal with the reality of browser incompatibilities. 

On the negative side the approach to HTML is a bit disorganised and there is a dependency on using JavaScript libraries to make the language more powerful.


Today there is so much more to JavaScript than you will find explained in this book but this is an excellent reminder of where it all came from and given the number of websites that use this style it’s still important information. A book packed with practical information that will please everyone but the absolute complete beginner.



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Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 August 2017 )