Building A JavaScript Library
Thursday, 05 February 2015
Article Index
Building A JavaScript Library
JavaScript Classics
For Beginners, For Kids, For Fun


More for beginners

JavaScript 24-Hour Trainer 

Author: Jeremy McPeak
Publisher: Wrox, 2010
Pages: 456
ISBN: 9780470647837
Print: 0470647833
Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

This book is a fairly standard introduction to JavaScript for those who already program in another language but with the added feature of having a DVD with video lessons bound into the back. 



Overall the book takes a good modern approach to JavaScript, emphasizing its good points and warning 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. 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 videos help in that they walk you through the examples and provide comments which aren't in the book. 

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. 

JavaScript and JQuery

Author: Jon Duckett 
Publisher: Wiley 
Pages: 640 
ISBN: 9781118531648
Print: 1118531647
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

This is a very unusual book and its approach will only suit the complete beginner with a limited technical background. It makes things look simple using a combination of large clear print and lots of pictures. It puts very little actual information on a single page and this is the reason it has 640 pages. It is also very task-oriented. It doesn't really go in for explaining the principles, philosophy or the bigger picture. This is about using JavaScript and jQuery to get particular tasks done. 




This is a very well-designed book. It doesn't do anything radical and it certainly doesn't attempt to make the reader into a computer scientist. This is about learning programming to get a very particular job done. Having said this, if the reader has any aptitude for programming this book might help them discover it and then graduate to something more. If you find the clear "big typeface" colorful presentation helpful, then this might be the book that gets you started with programming. I have a feeling that it is also going to create quite a few readers who sort of manage to master bits of it, forget others and then end up being very vague about why things work. Even so it still comes highly recommended to the right reader.   

For Kids 

There's a current rash of books aimed at introducing programming to youngster and a title that uses JavaScript, plus some graphis libraries, seems to do a good job. 

3D Game Programming for Kids

Author:Chris Strom
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf
Pages: 250
ISBN: 978-1937785444
Print: 1937785440
Kindle: B00HUEG8O6
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Mike James

While you can set abstract exercises in a language for students who have made the decision that learning a language is worthwhile - this is not something you can do with kids. You have to demonstrate fairly quickly that this stuff can do things - real things. 

So why not put JavaScript into the equation along with Three.js and other libraries to make it easy to create not just 3D graphics but games? This is what this book does and it provides motivation very quickly.

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.

Recommended as long as you are not looking for an academically correct introduction to a programming language.

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

For Fun

On the topic of having fun here's something a bit different.

If Hemingway Wrote JavaScript

Author: Angus Croll
Publisher: No Starch Press, 2014
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781593275853
Print: 1593275854
Rating: 4.5

Reviewer: Lucy Black


Angus Croll, who confesses that he is obsessed with both JavaScript and literature, came up with an intriguing idea, What if William Shakespeare were asked to generate the Fibonacci series or Jane Austen had to write a factorial program?  His book opens with the account of a dream in which he assigned homework to Ernest Hemingway and 24 other "literary luminaries"from Chaucer to Douglas Adams. 


Prior to writing the book trying this formula with Ernest Hemingway led to a well received blog post.

Part of the appeal of looking at how writers with different styles would produce JavaScript program is that it illuminates an important aspects of JavaScript -  its capacity to accommodate variety.

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.


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Visual Differential Geometry and Forms

Author:  Tristan Needham
Publisher: Princeton
Pages: 584
ISBN: 978-0691203706
Print: 0691203709
Kindle: B08TT6QBZH
Audience: Math enthusiasts
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Mike James
The best math book I have read in a long time...

Visual Complex Analysis

Author:  Tristan Needham
Publisher: Clarendon Press
Pages: 616
ISBN: 978-0198534464
Print: 0198534469
Kindle: B0BNKJTJK1
Audience: The mathematically able and enthusiastic
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Mike James
What's complex about complex analysis?

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 June 2015 )