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Developer's Reading List

, July 17, 2012 Windows Debugging, Web Apps, JavaScript, and Clojure Lead the List of New Titles
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Maintainable JavaScript

by Nicholas Zakas

A few weeks ago, Anders Hejlsberg, the developer of C# and earlier of Turbo Pascal, caused a minor ruckus by labeling JavaScript "unmaintainable." While widely interpreted as an attack on the language, it was instead a reflection of one of the problems all JavaScript developers face: Language features make it easy to write spaghetti code that future maintainers will find challenging to patch. The problem has become more acute as JavaScript has morphed into a full development language, especially under the aegis of Node.js. In that context then, Nicholas Zakas's book on maintainable JavaScript is a welcome arrival. It's a thin, useful reference that could easily be enlisted by sites as a coding-style handbook. In it, Zakas presents the usual variety of coding issues, with many related to JavaScript-specific situations. He discusses what would make the code more readable and clearer. And where appropriate, he compares his suggestions with those put forth in industry coding "standards," such as Douglas Crockford's Elements of JavaScript style. Rather than repeating what Crockford has done, the author frequently refines and sometimes disagrees — always with good reason that is fully explained. He also refers at times to Google's JavaScript Style Guide, the jQuery Style Guide and chooses between them when they offer competing recommendations.

This book is an excellent volume for newbies as it discusses the one thing beginners often struggle with: writing code using language-appropriate idioms. For advanced users, it will serve as a valuable explanation of good coding practices. Recommended.

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