JavaScript Books (2012)
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 06 January 2012
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JavaScript Books (2012)
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Another recommended beginner's book errs in the opposite direction. The problem we identified with  JavaScript & jQuery: The Missing Manual (Pogue Press, 2011) is that it doesn't devote enough space to JavaScript to do it justice. The explanation for this may simply be the existence of an earlier book JavaScript: The Missing Manual (Pogue Press, 2008) by the same author, David Sawyer McFarland.

If you have got beyond the beginner's stage, jQuery Cookbook (O'Reilly, 2009) is recommended as a

good addition to your bookshelf because it can provide standard solutions to problems that are similar to your own.

The review tells us:

Although the book starts off from the basics - selecting elements, manipulating the DOM etc - it very quickly gets more advanced. Topics include issues of performance, event handling, plugins, forms, the jQuery UI, Ajax and utilities. The final two chapters deal with using jQuery in "big" projects and unit testing. Both are worth reading even if your project is small and unit testing is not something you do.

If you already know JavaScript and want a cookbook approach to JQuery you might like jQuery: Visual QuickStart Guide (PeachpitPress, 2009). It takes a logical approach but it doesn't go beyond well explored ideas.

If you are already fairly proficient in JavaScript our recommended book as a reference on jQuery is jQuery in Action (2nd Edition) which was described by Ian Elliot as

a practical book that explains how jQuery works without digging into the details of its implementation. It attempts to give you the flavour of the philosophy behind the design and explains how best to use it.



 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 (Sitepoint 2008) is a book that is all about idioms and is full of interesting examples of doing clever things. In his review, Ian Elliot wrote:

JavaScript is a strange language. Because it is dynamic you can take what looks like a very simple, primitive even, language and turn it into whatever you want. The key to this is to invent new idioms, standard boiler plate ways of putting instructions together to do something surprising. You could call any one of these idioms a pattern if you wanted to but they are really closer to the syntax and semantics of the language than the term pattern might suggest.

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”.

A rating of 4.5 was given to Test-Driven JavaScript Development (Addison Wesley, 2010). 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.




If you want a book that looks at JavaScript from the perspective of the web designer then Scriptin' with JavaScript and Ajax (New Riders, 2009) provides a successful introduction to Javascript in the browser and is well-organised and easy to read.

Supercharged JavaScript Graphics (O'Reilly, 2011) was described by Ian Elliot as "fun to read" and "probably the best book I have read this year" summing 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.

Our final recommendation is for The JavaScript Pocket Guide (Peachpit Press, 2010). In fact this isn't a reference book. Instead it is:

a well written and easy to read introduction to Javascript and its associated technologies. 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.

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 ( Friday, 06 January 2012 )