JavaScript is one of the most popular ways to code out there at the moment (it’s in the top ten according to TIOBE), and fortunately for people at all levels, there are plenty of resources out there to help you learn it, refine your knowledge, and really get into the nuts and bolts of how it’s put together. This list isn’t an exhaustive list of all the books on JavaScript out there – there must be literally hundreds, which is part of the problem – but it is a good range of resources for JavaScript developers at every stage of their career. The following books come highly recommended, and should be easy to get your hands on too.

 

1. JavaScript for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming, by Nick Morgan (No Starch Press, 2014).

This might seem a bit insulting, but that’s not the intent. The thing is, JavaScript can be hard to just jump into, and this introduction written for children is one of the most accessible out there – for people of any age. The playful tone is a big help in introducing JavaScript without making it too overwhelming. It gets some stunning reviews from adults who had trouble learning JavaScript beforehand – for example, Lana Michaels on Amazon says that “as an adult who struggled to learn JavaScript, this book really opened things up for me”.

 

2. JavaScript: The Good Parts, by Douglas Crockford (O’Reilly Media, 2008).

This might be a little out of date now – after all, when it was written, JavaScript was still looked down on by the big players, who tended to work in other languages like C# or Java. But Crockford saw the hidden gems in the language other coders were deriding, and his book is still a great resource for learning just what’s special about JavaScript and how to exploit that.

 

3. Professor Frisby’s Mostly Adequate Guide to Functional Programming, by Brian Lonsdorf (Online, ongoing).

This project might not be finished, but it’s still well-worth the look. It’s more than “mostly adequate”, and it has a cute related video series that might help in understanding what it covers as well. If you’re looking for something accessible on functional programming, some people consider this the go-to resource.

Screencap from Classroom Coding with Prof. Frisby

 

4. You Don’t Know JS: ES6 & Beyond, by Kyle Simpson (O’Reilly Media, 2015).

You Don’t Know JS is actually a series, with a whole range of books you’ll probably find useful. ES6 & Beyond covers the new inclusions in the version of JavaScript released in 2015, which can be particularly good if you need to get up to date.

 

5. Eloquent JavaScript, by Marijn Haverbeke (No Starch Press, 2014).

This is the kind of book teachers choose to teach their classes, full of powerful example exercises and very clearly laid out. It’s great for getting back to basics.

 

6. Effective JavaScript: 68 Specific Ways to Harness the Power of JavaScript, by David Herman (Addison-Wesley Professional, 2012).

This might be older than some of the super up-to-date books on this list, but it remains an amazing resource. It’s great for once you’ve got the basics down and you want to kick it up to the next level. It’s been described as the “missing manual” to JavaScript, so you can see why it’s a popular choice.

 

7. JavaScript Allongé, by Reginald Braithwaite (LeanPub, 2016).

This isn’t a basic textbook or anything like that, but it is a great exploration of how to build flexible software – one of the high points of JavaScript programming! The book is designed to get you thinking differently about how to put your code together, so it’s not an easy ride, but most developers agree it’s a worthwhile one.

Table of contents for JavaScript Allongé

8. JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, by David Flanagan (O’Reilly Media, 2011).

This is the kind of book on JavaScript that you’ll find on most developers’ shelves. It truly is definitive, full of up-to-date examples and advice on the best practices. The creator of JavaScript, Brendan Eich, calls it “a must-have reference”.

 

9. Programming JavaScript Applications, by Eric Elliott (O’Reilly Media, 2014).

This one doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re an intermediate level JavaScript developer, it’s worth a look. It teaches a practical approach to creating efficient, robust architecture in your code.

 

10. Node.js in Action, by Mike Cantelon et al (Manning Publications, 2013).

If you’re looking to get involved with Node.js, this book was highly anticipated before it came out and has become a staple for those involved with Node. It’s a little bit out of date now, but it’s still really useful in getting to know the basics.

 

11. Pro JavaScript Performance: Monitoring and Visualization, by Tom Barker (Apress, 2013).

If you’re interested in maximizing the effectiveness of your code through gathering and analyzing data, Tom Barker’s book can guide the way. Barker advocates changing with the times and learning to be flexible – something pretty much all effective developers agree with.

 

12. High Performance Browser Networking, by Ilya Grigorik (O’Reilly Media, 2013).

This is the go-to reference book for people concerned about web performance and how to maximize it. If you’re looking for advice on best practice and how to really optimize how your code works in a browser, this book should be the top of your list.

 

13. Murach’s JavaScript and jQuery, by Mike Murach and Zak Ruvalcaba (Mike Murach and Associates, 2012).

This is another of the books on this list that could easily be used as a textbook. If you’re looking to expand into using jQuery, Murach and his staff are one of the teams who’ve been working on unique approaches to JavaScript and jQuery for a long time now. Definitely worth picking up this one.

This is just scratching the surface, so it’s inevitable that it misses out one of your favorites, or something you consider completely indispensable. Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Posted 18 June, 2017

Nicole Walters

Transcriptionist - Proofreader - Writer

I carefully choose projects I know I have the time, expertise and interest in completing. When I make a bid, I have already scheduled the work I could do for you. I currently work for the transcription company, Global Lingo, on a freelance basis, and I have previously worked for Dr Crockett of Dewsbury Hospital. I have a wide range of experience in transcription, research, writing and data entry ...

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