A Programmer’s Tour Of Javascript

Recommended Reading

All of these books are good, and all of them are very cheap (especially the Kindle editions). When they are published commercially, I provide links to Amazon’s product page for those books. (This is not an endorsement of Amazon per se, but it is the most popular e-book vendor at this moment.) On the other hand, when free editions are available (legally), I will always link to those instead. Links that are followed by (PDF) are direct links to PDF files, and links that are followed by (HTML) are links to pages on external websites.

JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

This book is almost universally recommended as the best JavaScript introduction among my programmer friends. It is on the official “suggested reading” list for at least one of the companies that they work at. Personally, I think the best parts of the book are Appendices A and B, where Crockford lists the “Awful Parts” and “Bad Parts” of JavaScript. At only about 150 pages, it’s also a very quick read.

Crockford is also the author of Code Conventions for the JavaScript Programming Language (HTML), which I heartily recommend that you follow.

Object-Oriented JavaScript by Stoyan Stefanov and Kumar Chetan Sharma

This is the first book I read that even covered topics like closures and prototypes in JavaScript. It’s still my personal favorite. The second edition is the newest book published among those I am recommending.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan

This is now in its 6th edition, and it’s been the standard JavaScript reference book for many years now. At $25 for the Kindle edition, it’s also the most expensive book on this list(!).

Learning JavaScript Design Patterns (HTML) by Addy Osmani

A quick but surprisingly thorough guide to the many, many JavaScript-specific design patterns that are commonly in use. The book is released under a CC BY-NC-ND license, and is available for free at the above link. Of course, if you want to support the author and publisher, you can also buy a copy.

The ECMAScript Programming Language (PDF) by Ecma International

ECMAScript is the technical name for JavaScript, as standardized by Ecma International. (Originally, ECMA stood for “European Computer Manufacturers Association,” but they changed their name to reflect their global nature.) It is considered the “official” version of JavaScript. The linked PDF is the ECMAScript Language Specification, ECMA-262 5.1 Edition (June 2011). Like all programming language specifications, it is a terribly boring read, but it’s essential as a reference.

Thank You

First, I’d like to extend a big thank-you to my brother Kris, who is actually, like, a real programmer and stuff. His input on this article has been invaluable. Not only that, but without his continued support, I wouldn’t be a programmer at all.

Besides Kris, two users of Stack Overflow suggested the “type check” in the constructor as a way to prevent poisoning the global namespace. Those users are Felix Kling and Volune.

I’m betting that the article still has a lot of issues. If and when you point them out to me, I’ll credit you here.

But no matter what, I hope you found this article helpful.

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About Karl

I live in the Boston area, and am currently studying for a BS in Computer Science at UMass Boston. I graduated with honors with an AS in Computer Science (Transfer Option) from BHCC, acquiring a certificate in OOP along the way. I also perform experimental electronic music as Karlheinz.
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