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Developer Reading List: The Must-Have Books for JavaScript

, February 12, 2013 The best books for learning the basics, becoming expert, and and writing complete apps in JavaScript
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JavaScript, The Definitive Guide, 6th Ed. David Flanagan

This is the definitive treatment of the language. Weighing in at more than 1000 pages, it performs deep dives into virtually every aspect of the language and of client-side Web apps. For example, individual chapters cover the jQuery library, client-side storage, scripted media and graphics, and so on. Each topic is treated in considerable depth. Two substantial appendices round out this tome: one is a reference on Core Java (that is, the language), the other covers client-side JavaScript (much of it dealing with the DOM). While the book is written as a tutorial, it need not be read from cover to cover. Rather, it's not difficult to dive into the chapter you need and extract all the information you want. In this capacity, it serves more as a detailed reference cum tutorial. And for this reason, I believe, it's one of the few books in this list that should be on every JavaScript user's bookshelf.

Effective JavaScript, by David Herman

This is the other book I recommend every JavaScript developer own. It continues the great tradition of books from Addison-Wesley that are entitled "Effective {insert language name}." Like its forebears, it's a slim volume that contains important, sometimes subtle, pointers about how the language should be used. Each pointer is given 1-2 pages of explanation that show why a recommended practice is necessary or how a proscribed practice causes trouble. Reading the book is a repetitive exercise in mumbling, "I never knew that." I don't think there's any way to truly dominate the crucial implementation details of the language without having read this book several times.

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