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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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Refining JavaScript Skills

JavaScript Patterns, by Stoyan Stefanov

All language and problem domains have patterns to help implement solutions in a clean, uniform way. This excellent and very readable book points to patterns of implementation that are useful in JavaScript. The author dives into lesser-explored topics, such as currying, to show how it can used beneficially to address one class of problems. On a well-known pattern, callbacks, he explores the pros and cons, the benefits and the disadvantages, the problems of scope, of timeouts, and of using callbacks inside libraries. Unlike other treatments on design and programming patterns, this book is not academic in tone, presents no new nomenclature, and does not promote heavy solutions to light problems. It is emphatically pragmatic, which is why it will benefit almost all intermediate to advanced users of the language.

JavaScript: The Good Parts, by Douglas Crockford

I've included this book because people I respect like it. The marketing material for the title accurately describes it as digging "…through the steaming pile of good intentions and blunders to give you a detailed look at all the genuinely elegant parts of JavaScript…As you move ahead with the subset of JavaScript that this book presents, you'll also sidestep the need to unlearn all the bad parts." Meh, the books already in this list do a fine job explaining what works well in JavaScript and what doesn't. The fact that some of the chapters are essentially short references to material available in most books on the language does little to stimulate my enthusiasm. Crockford, however, is a larger-than-life character in the JavaScript community, so his views on what is good and what is not tend to reach all corners of the community. In this sense, knowing what he thinks has some value, although I doubt it will greatly change your programming style.

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