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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    JavaScript Books Help

    Ok guys and girls, I'd like your help on which JavaScript books to buy! After what seems like hours of searching, reading reviews, looking at tables of contents and contemplating I've decided that I'll read some more...Read what you guys (and girls) think.

    I've created my own shortlist (although it's not very short lawl) of what I think I may be happy with purchasing and reading through. If there's a book you know on JavaScript / DOM Scripting that I should definately buy that I haven't listed in this shortlist or haven't listed in the list of books I already have then please tell me. It's a fairly long shortlist really, a longlist I guess, but I don't know what I'm doing and the books listed below seem to be in my range / level.

    Feel free to suggest / recommend a list of books from this list as I won't just be buying one. Unless there is one book that covers absolutely everything these is to know about beginners JS (you know, basically everything JS excluding the OOP side) in which case I'll finally buy one last book on JS and not need to spend anymore! All of the links go to Amazon.co.uk so you can see the prices in UK British pounds - my budget is around 100, maybe 150 as I'll get some of the books for my birthday and pay for anymore with my own money.

    Books I Currently Own
    - DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model
    - Simply JavaScript
    - DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript & DOM
    - The JavaScript Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks
    - The Art & Science of JavaScript

    My Shortlist
    - JavaScript: The Missing Manual: The book that should have been in the box
    - JavaScript, A Beginner's Guide, 3rd Edition
    - JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 6th Edition (Publish Date: May 2010)
    - JavaScript: The Good Parts
    - JavaScript Step by Step Book/CD Package
    - ppk on JavaScript
    - Beginning JavaScript (Programmer to Programmer), 3rd Edition
    - Beginning JavaScript
    - Gettined StartED with JavaScript
    - Head First JavaScript
    - High Performance JavaScript
    - Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting & Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional)
    - JavaScript: The Complete Reference, 2nd edition: The Complete Reference. Complete coverage of the W3C DOM2 standard (Osborne Complete Reference Series)
    - Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
    - Sams Teach Yourself Javascript in 24 Hours
    - Scriptin' with JavaScript and Ajax: A Designer's Guide
    - <snip/>
    - JavaScript
    - JavaScript Bible
    - JavaScript Bible [Audiobook] (Paperback), 7th Edition
    - JavaScript by Example (Paperback)
    - Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting (Murach: Training & Reference) (Paperback)
    - Smashing JavaScript: 100 Professional Techniques (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
    - And whatever else you recommend to me!

    Halp pls. kthnxbye.

    Andrew Cooper
    Last edited by Mittineague; Dec 19, 2010 at 23:24. Reason: pre-new-sticky cleanup

  2. #2
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    Another book that covers the use of javascript is SitePoint's "Build Your Own AJAX Web Applications". You can only get the pdf version directly from SitePoint but you might be able to get a printed copy via somewhere like Amazon.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Another book that covers the use of javascript is SitePoint's "Build Your Own AJAX Web Applications". You can only get the pdf version directly from SitePoint but you might be able to get a printed copy via somewhere like Amazon.
    SpacePhoenix, thanks for the suggestion and although it is appreciated as with all other suggestions and recommendations I should have pointed out that I'm not interested in AJAX or AJAX related books. I've had a look at the book previously and didn't see anything on beginners JavaScript that would be helpful to me. I just had another look at the table of contents for the book but it looks like it's pretty much all AJAX content.

    There are other books out there also on JavaScript such as Design Patterns and Advanced OOP JavaScript as well as JavaScript Library / Framework books including the upcoming book jQuery: Novice to Ninja also from SitePoint. However, I've omitted these from the short / long list because I'm strictly looking for beginners books on JavaScript, but the beginners books shouldn't necessarily mean a 200 page book. It should cover everything a professional JavaScript coder / Front-End Web Developer would need to know (excluding OOP JS).

    Thanks again,

    Andrew Cooper

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I saw one book listed twice...by Paul Wilton: "Beginning javascript". Every little bit to make your list shorter.

    In the bookstore I saw a JS book by Shelly Powers (O'reilly) which, flipping through it, seemed a sort of go-straight through the DOM and Do Stuff book, which might be useful.

    The Definitive Guide and The Good Parts get a definite two thumbs up from me.
    Agreed, even though I don't understand half of what's in Good Parts, when looking for code examples online I can use the back part to recognise what to avoid. Also, logic-flow diagrams++.
    6th Edition already for Rhino?? Dayum, that's fast. I has 5 and it mostly updated DOM stuff.

    because I'm strictly looking for beginners books on JavaScript, but the beginners books shouldn't necessarily mean a 200 page book. It should cover everything a professional JavaScript coder / Front-End Web Developer would need to know (excluding OOP JS).
    I doubt a "beginners" book can cover everything a professional front-ender should know, assuming said Front-ender isn't working in an environment where the extent of JS knowledge doesn't need to go further than how to copy others' scripts and modify them accordingly, or write very small things.

    I've got Simply Javascript and an old copy of my husband's Anthology. With both, there came a point where I had to stop and go find some other sources to read, before coming back to them. I don't think it's those books explaining things badly, but more that it took time and multiple differing explanations before stuff started to "stick".

    Still gonna pimp Marijn's site: http://eloquentjavascript.net/ I don't see the DOM stuff as particularly beautiful with all that typical old-fashioned HTML but, whatever. I'm struggling with higher-order functions, closures, and recursion recursion recursion.

    (excluding OOP JS)
    You can't. Everyone's an object, lawlz. Though you can also just make everything a function (functional programming) but functions are objects.


    Off Topic:

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper
    I've created my own shortlist (although it's not very short lawl)
    You see that, people? I can haz sfeer of Influence! Lawlz!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Purchasing:

    Ok, I'm definately purchasing the following books.

    - JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 6th Edition (Publish Date: May 2010)
    - JavaScript: The Good Parts

    Amended Shortlist:

    I've looked over the shortlist again and made some amendments to it, it's much shorter, slightly more focused and there are less outdated books listed too. If you can't make any recommendations on which of the following to buy, then could you make recommendations on which not to buy instead?

    - JavaScript, A Beginner's Guide, 3rd Edition
    - Beginning JavaScript
    - Gettined StartED with JavaScript
    - Head First JavaScript
    - Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting & Ajax: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: From Novice to Professional)
    - Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
    - JavaScript Bible [Audiobook] (Paperback), 7th Edition (Publish Date: May 2010)
    - JavaScript by Example (Paperback)
    - Murach's JavaScript and DOM Scripting (Murach: Training & Reference) (Paperback)

    Quote Originally Posted by pmw57 View Post
    The Definitive Guide and The Good Parts get a definite two thumbs up from me.
    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I agree.

    A number of the other books listed are intended to be the first book someone buys covering JavaScript. Some of the others are also somewhat dated.
    I've definately buying The Definitive Guide and The Good Parts now. felgall, I'm a beginner in JavaScript really and need a helping hand, can you recommend which of the books in the list not to buy? And I've amended the list to take out the more outdated books.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    I saw one book listed twice...by Paul Wilton: "Beginning javascript". Every little bit to make your list shorter.
    Silly me xD, sorted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    In the bookstore I saw a JS book by Shelly Powers (O'reilly) which, flipping through it, seemed a sort of go-straight through the DOM and Do Stuff book, which might be useful.
    Is that the Learning JavaScript book by Shelly Powers? I had a look at it and was going to add it to the list but after looking at the table of contents it didn't look great. Do you recommend it though? (I know you just said you flicked through it, but from flicking through it, would you say it's worth it?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    6th Edition already for Rhino?? Dayum, that's fast. I has 5 and it mostly updated DOM stuff.
    Yea, I could really do with the Rhino book right now to be honest but I'm not going to buy the 5th Edition brand new when 6th Edition is only 4 months away. I'll have to wait for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    You can't. Everyone's an object, lawlz. Though you can also just make everything a function (functional programming) but functions are objects.
    Lawl. I'm talking about John Resig's book and all the others that talk about OO JS. For the majority of the JS I'll be making and wanting to use in Web pages, I doubt I'll have to make use of OO techniques within JS, hence, I don't want heavy / advanced books that talk about OO JS solely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Off Topic:


    You see that, people? I can haz sfeer of Influence! Lawlz!
    xD Lawl

    Andrew Cooper

  6. #6
    Unobtrusively zen silver trophybronze trophy
    paul_wilkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    I've definately buying The Definitive Guide and The Good Parts now. felgall, I'm a beginner in JavaScript really and need a helping hand
    In that case, I definitely recommend Head First JavaScript, that's a very good book that makes it easy to grasp the different concepts involved.

    The O'Reilly site lets you read it online too, via Safari Books. Click the [Read it now] link at the Head First JavaScript
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I can't really say about Shelly's book. It seemed to move fast, compared to, say Simply Javascript which is really slow and hand-holding. Further, I really couldn't say. It might be sitting in a bookstore near you and you might be able to flip through it.

    About the Rhino: it's not a beginner book, it's kind of more a book about Javascript. It describes it, explains it, states what are the rules for it, etc. It reminded me of Perl's Camel book, a LOT.
    Same with Good Parts. Good Parts does not introduce JS. It states a case for it having some really good stuff for programmers in it, despite all the flaws it has. For me as a beginner the back of the book was more valuable than the front. I figure you already know that, but since others may read this, being beginners too...


    There are also two kinds of beginners and I'd think the Beginners books would be to one group or the other: people wholly new to programming (like me) and people new only to Javascript.

  8. #8
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmw57 View Post
    I definitely recommend Head First JavaScript
    I agree that this is one of the best books on JavaScript for beginners (it says so in the list of quotes inside the front cover of the book itself).

    The WROX book "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" is an excellent alternative if you already know other programming languages since it introduces JavaScript the same way most other languages are introduced rather than the way most books introduce other languages. I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't been learning other languages from books before though - for that the Head First book is far superior.

    I found the style of the Murach book difficult to follow so that I didn't even understand what some of the code was meant to be about when I first read it - I am not sure who that book is supposed to be intended for, there are a few sections of it that cover some things that are fairly advanced that are not covered in the other books scattered in between some of the really basic introductory parts.
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  9. #9
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    DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith is a nice introduction to JavaScript. If you'd like to dabble in jQuery these videos are pretty straightforward

    Cheers,

    Jon

  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Purchasing:

    Ok, I'm definately purchasing the following books.

    - JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 6th Edition (Publish Date: May 2010)
    - JavaScript: The Good Parts
    - Head First JavaScript
    - Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
    - JavaScript Bible [Audiobook] (Paperback), 7th Edition (Publish Date: May 2010)

    Amended Shortlist:

    Ok so I've only got one more book to decide on. Christian Heilmann's Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting & Ajax: From Novice to Professional. I've had another look over the table of contents and the following three Web pages / sites:

    - Unobtrusive JavaScript
    - From DHTML to DOM scripting
    - Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and AJAX

    It's still a 50 / 50 really. I know he's great and all, but the book is dated 2006. Although Jeremy Keiths book was published in 2005 and his book is great! Can I get some more help on this one please?

    Quote Originally Posted by pmw57 View Post
    In that case, I definitely recommend Head First JavaScript, that's a very good book that makes it easy to grasp the different concepts involved.
    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I agree that this is one of the best books on JavaScript for beginners (it says so in the list of quotes inside the front cover of the book itself).
    Not just because of you two, but pretty much everyone is recommending Head First JavaScript. So I'm going to buy that too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    It might be sitting in a bookstore near you and you might be able to flip through it.
    Nope it isn't. The libraries and bookstores in the towns I live near don't have many good books for JavaScript or Web-related topics at all. Hopefully it'll change soon though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    There are also two kinds of beginners and I'd think the Beginners books would be to one group or the other: people wholly new to programming (like me) and people new only to Javascript.
    Absolutely. I've found that there are a lot of books that'll teach languages -for beginners- yet they'll somehow expect them to already know programming concepts, because they don't teach /explain them very well at all. There should be books on -x- language that teaches the beginners programming concepts and the language features, it sounds like HFJ does this. And so does Marijn's book.

    I'm not new to programming concepts as I've created some small-scale applications in VB.NET and of course small, tiny JS scripts. I guess the more we read (whatever it is we read) the more we learn!

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    The WROX book "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" is an excellent alternative if you already know other programming languages since it introduces JavaScript the same way most other languages are introduced rather than the way most books introduce other languages. I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't been learning other languages from books before though - for that the Head First book is far superior.
    I'm going to also purchase this book, along with Head First JavaScript. I had another look at the books table of contents and it looks to be a really good read. It's pretty recent (published just a year ago) and the author seems to be respected in the JS world as he's also written High Performance JavaScript (which I've taken out of my shortlist because it isn't focused on beginners JS. I'm sure I'll buy it in the future though.)

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I found the style of the Murach book difficult to follow so that I didn't even understand what some of the code was meant to be about when I first read it - I am not sure who that book is supposed to be intended for, there are a few sections of it that cover some things that are fairly advanced that are not covered in the other books scattered in between some of the really basic introductory parts.
    I've removed this from my shortlist. Besides, I had another look at it and it isn't a focused book on beginners. It deals with chapters on JS Libraries (which isn't what I want) and has a chapter at the beginning with XHTML and CSS. I'm fine with XHTML and CSS, it's JS I want to read about. So I won't be buying this book, sorry Murach and Ray Harris!

    Thanks for the help, felgall.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonpugh114 View Post
    DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith is a nice introduction to JavaScript. If you'd like to dabble in jQuery these videos are pretty straightforward

    Cheers,

    Jon
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    And about jQuery - I don't want to know about JavaScript Libraries at the moment. I'm focusing on learn JavaScript from the ground up so that eventually, if I wanted to, I'd have the knowledge, skills and experience to create my own JS Library.

    You've seen my (pretty much finalized) list of JavaScript books I'm going to purchase. Before I go ahead and order them all - is there anything I should take out or include? I think the list at the top of this post is pretty solid and will give me an all-round basic understanding of JavaScript although I do one day want to be a professional JavaScript coder. Thanks for the help in deciding though, it might not seem like a big thing but buying brand new (they have to be brand new - blame my OCD!) books like these that are going to end up costing me a fair bit of cash (which doesn't come easy being a student!) is a fairly important decision for me, especially if it turns out I've just bought another 5 books (on top of the 5 I currently own) that don't teach me everything I need to know!

    Andrew Cooper

  11. #11
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    [I'm going to also purchase this book, along with Head First JavaScript. I had another look at the books table of contents and it looks to be a really good read. It's pretty recent (published just a year ago) and the author seems to be respected in the JS world as he's also written High Performance JavaScript (which I've taken out of my shortlist because it isn't focused on beginners JS. I'm sure I'll buy it in the future though.)

    I assume you are referring to the second edition of "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" (which is slightly improved on the first edition - not that there was much that could be improved on anyway).

    You do seem to have all the best JavaScript books for beginners that I have seen over the past few years on your list.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    There should be books on -x- language that teaches the beginners programming concepts and the language features, it sounds like HFJ does this. And so does Marijn's book.
    Heh, there is. My husband still has his Programming Pascal in Delphi book somewhere... there are languages like Pascal and Cat that are "teaching" languages... you can use them in a real application if you want, but they're mostly used to teach basic concepts, variables and pointers, loops, arrays and hashes, functions and objects...

    At least 5 people have told me to just read the ANSI C book, or flat out "learn C". Well, I managed to get through chapter 2 but then I died.

    Marijn's book introduces and explains the concepts but he also goes very fast. Closures and recursion in chapter 3! : )

  13. #13
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Heh, there is. My husband still has his Programming Pascal in Delphi book somewhere... there are languages like Pascal and Cat that are "teaching" languages...
    I have a couple of Pascal books somewhere - one that I used for a course at uni back in 1979 and the other I think covered the USCD operating system that was an alternative operating system for the Apple and IBM computers of the early 80s - from memory it was on the Apple ][ implementation so I don't know how much that varied from the IBM-PC version (USCD Pascal being one of the three operating systems that could be run on the original PCs - the other two being DOS and CP/M - Microsoft Xenix being added as a fourth alternative for the IBM-XT).

    I think Pascal was about the third or fourth programming language I learnt (although the course assumed that everyone had no prior programming experience - which meant that they didn't expect complete solutions to the assignments and gave bonus points when you gave a more complete answer than expected leading to my getting marks like 11 out of 10 for some assignments).

    I actually think JavaScript would make quite a good first language for people to learn as it doesn't require a great deal to be set up to be able to write and test it and it does have constructs that cover most of the concepts of both structured and object oriented languages.
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  14. #14
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    It might not seem that helpful at first, but I don't think you need yet another book. If you've mastered the content in Simply Javascript and The Art and Science of Javascript you have all the required info to get in there and do your own discovery.

    I'm hanging out for John Resig's new book http://jsninja.com/

    I'd suggest you start to dig into the code of js libraries like jQuery and Raphael. You could also look at patterns that can be applied to js so you can keep your code clean and extensible.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I assume you are referring to the second edition of "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" (which is slightly improved on the first edition - not that there was much that could be improved on anyway).

    You do seem to have all the best JavaScript books for beginners that I have seen over the past few years on your list.
    Yes, 2nd Edition of "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers", felgall. And I'm glad I have all of the best ones, or will have! Thanks for the feedback, felgall.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Marijn's book introduces and explains the concepts but he also goes very fast. Closures and recursion in chapter 3! : )
    Lawlz. You're always going on about closures and recursion in his book!

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I actually think JavaScript would make quite a good first language for people to learn as it doesn't require a great deal to be set up to be able to write and test it and it does have constructs that cover most of the concepts of both structured and object oriented languages.
    I agree. I think it's a very easy language, compared to VB.NET - It's just so much simpler and less code to get something working. Which I think will be helpful to beginners to programming and the language itself, because it's so simple, in terms of what code you need to write to make something work. As opposed to other languages.

    Quote Originally Posted by RLM2008 View Post
    "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers". Really rate this title. Very straight forward to understand.
    That's very pleasing and encouraging to hear! Thanks for the feedback. Appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by bulletproofpoet View Post
    JavaScript, The Definitive Guide is the only JS book I've ever needed. Very well written, great reference section, my 4th edition is used so much, it's nearly falling apart.

    Can't recommend it enough!

    Hope that helps.
    Thanks for the feedback and recommendation also. Don't worry, I'm definately getting it when the new edition is released in May

    Quote Originally Posted by markbrown4 View Post
    It might not seem that helpful at first, but I don't think you need yet another book. If you've mastered the content in Simply Javascript and The Art and Science of Javascript you have all the required info to get in there and do your own discovery.

    I'm hanging out for John Resig's new book http://jsninja.com/

    I'd suggest you start to dig into the code of js libraries like jQuery and Raphael. You could also look at patterns that can be applied to js so you can keep your code clean and extensible.
    That's the thing though - I haven't mastered the content in Simply JavaScript and The Art and Science of JavaScript and they don't seem to be as highly recommended as others such as The Definitive Guide and Head First JavaScript. As I said earlier, I'm not interested in JS Libraries at all at the moment (not even jQuery) and I'm certainly not interested in AJAX either.

    I appreciate your comments and feedback anyway. All views and recommendations are helpful to me as I'm a beginner however, I do have clear goals - To master the basics of JavaScript.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Off Topic:


    Lawl isn't a word... instead of LOL for a laugh I say it "Lawlz" as a sort of drawled-out lol. Andrew has picked up this bad habit of mine, except he leaves the awesome "z" out. So, it's not a word to do with English or Javascript!
    xD Would it please you if I started typing lawlz instead of lawl ?

    Still not sure on Christian Heilmann's book though!

    Andrew Cooper

  16. #16
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    As I said earlier, I'm not interested in JS Libraries at all at the moment (not even jQuery) and I'm certainly not interested in AJAX either.
    That's the right approach. You can't use a library such as jQuery properly without a good understanding of JavaScript first. Those who try usually end up in a mess because they are using advanced processing when they don't understand the basics.
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Totally agreed, felgall. I've gotten as many suggestions as Andrew to try jQuery. Crawl before walking, even if walking is easier.

    Lawlz. You're always going on about closures and recursion in his book!
    Cause they're damn hard. Why are they hard? For the same reason I can't do math in my head: I cannot hold "empty" placeholders and still remember them when I get to the end. I hear this can be improved with practise, but I was always the kid who needed to do it on paper, or use my fingers lawlz. I can keep the factorial one in my head but once I get to something like the typical "reduce"/"fold" it's more than I can keep straight at the moment.
    And yes I believe beginners should know and understand those. Right now in my JS for my company's page, I'm trying to get a function OUT of a loop so I can use it elsewhere... bleh.

    Lawlz is my BESTardisation of LOLSPEAK so I guess it doesn't matter what you choose. I'm pretty known for it, though. People might think you're me in other places.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    That's the thing though - I haven't mastered the content in Simply JavaScript and The Art and Science of JavaScript and they don't seem to be as highly recommended as others such as The Definitive Guide and Head First JavaScript.
    You'll find that the Head First book is a better one to read before the Definitive Guide. The former one gives you a running start, by giving you interesting and entertaining concepts with which to help you learn the overall shape of the landscape. The latter one is incredibly detailed and helps to fill in any gaps of knowledge that you might have had, but it's heavy going indeed and reminds me of a dry and dusty tome.
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    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    That's the thing though - I haven't mastered the content in Simply JavaScript and The Art and Science of JavaScript and they don't seem to be as highly recommended as others such as The Definitive Guide and Head First JavaScript. As I said earlier, I'm not interested in JS Libraries at all at the moment (not even jQuery) and I'm certainly not interested in AJAX either.
    I highly recommend them.
    Don't get into the trap of reading for the sake of reading - It will actually prevent you from really absorbing the content of future books and hinder your learning.
    Every good book requires at least three readings, once fast, one very thorough reading (taking notes, experimenting) and another quick read.
    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    That's the right approach. You can't use a library such as jQuery properly without a good understanding of JavaScript first. Those who try usually end up in a mess because they are using advanced processing when they don't understand the basics.
    Whilst I agree with what you have written, my advice was not to use a library.
    I suggested that after really absorbing Simply Javascript and The Art and Science of JavaScript he has all the basics as well as advanced concepts under his belt.
    He should be ready to start looking at the source of libraries and find out how professional js developers write and structure their code.

  20. #20
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbrown4 View Post
    Whilst I agree with what you have written, my advice was not to use a library.
    I agree about not using a library - since once you have a proper understanding of JavaScript you don't need to.

    My comment was with regard to those people who decide to use one anyway. Without a reasonable knowledge of JavaScript first they will just get into a mess since they wont understand their own code.

    Either way Andrew has made the right decision by not wanting to get side tracked into looking at libraries.
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  21. #21
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    That's the right approach. You can't use a library such as jQuery properly without a good understanding of JavaScript first. Those who try usually end up in a mess because they are using advanced processing when they don't understand the basics.
    Yea I know pretty much everyone is talking about JavaScript libraries right now and loads of books are being published on them but that doesn't mean everyone should just go ahead and use JS libraries rather than learn JS from scratch first. To be honest, I don't see myself ever using a JavaScript library, I think I'd just write a huge library of JS scripts myself and use them whenever I need to. I'm that way inclined - making my life harder than it needs to be!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Totally agreed, felgall. I've gotten as many suggestions as Andrew to try jQuery. Crawl before walking, even if walking is easier.
    On a serious note, now that I think of it, who says crawling is a bad thing? Let's face it, crawling when we were babies was just awesome. Babies are special (in the nice way) Crawl > Walk > Run. JavaScript > JS Libraries > Create your own uber-awesome and famous JS Library.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Cause they're damn hard. Why are they hard? For the same reason I can't do math in my head: I cannot hold "empty" placeholders and still remember them when I get to the end. I hear this can be improved with practise, but I was always the kid who needed to do it on paper, or use my fingers lawlz. I can keep the factorial one in my head but once I get to something like the typical "reduce"/"fold" it's more than I can keep straight at the moment.
    Yea, I'm rubbish with Maths both in my head and on paper I haven't actually gone over recursion yet, so you can say the same for me when I complain about learning it

    Quote Originally Posted by pmw57 View Post
    You'll find that the Head First book is a better one to read before the Definitive Guide. The former one gives you a running start, by giving you interesting and entertaining concepts with which to help you learn the overall shape of the landscape. The latter one is incredibly detailed and helps to fill in any gaps of knowledge that you might have had, but it's heavy going indeed and reminds me of a dry and dusty tome.
    By the sounds of it I'm going to love both of them! I can't wait to start reading these fantastic JavaScript books!...Come on Amazon! Get your butt in gear!

    Quote Originally Posted by babyboy808 View Post
    I have to chime in here and ask the OP a question.

    You have 5 books on JavaScript already and are buying another 5???

    If you can't learn from the ones you own already, what makes you think you can learn from more books?
    Because I don't find the current 5 that I have as being sufficient. The only book I've actually found useful is Jeremy Keith's DOM Scripting book, in fact that book has been a great read so far, but I'm sure a professional would need to know more than 300 (and odd) pages worth of a book to become a professional JavaScript coder.

    I can write HTML & CSS off by heart, probably thanks to doing it for the past 2 - 3 years and I now just validate my code when I've finished a Web page because I'm so confident that my markup and CSS will validate, and 9 / 10 it does, errors I usually get will be a missing trailing slash or something, so I'd say I'm pretty competent in HTML & CSS. I'd like to say the same for my JavaScript knowledge and skills in around 1 or 2 years time - I don't think Simply JavaScript and The Art & Science of JavaScript alone would help me do this.

    I've learned a lot from each of the 5 books I have. But I know myself that there's more to JavaScript than the 5 books I have which is why before I buy anymore books on JavaScript I've asked for help from the SitePoint community on which books are the best for giving me as much knowledge on JavaScript that I'll need.

    Quote Originally Posted by pmw57 View Post
    Because every book approaches the topic from its authors on particular point of view. Do not fall in to the trap of thinking that you've learned all there is after reading a few books. The basics may be the same, but after that it's in their own individual details that they really shine.
    Yup, I agree. There currently isn't any one particular book on the market for HTML, CSS, JS or PHP & MySQL that covers every single point a beginner would need to know to become a professional. It doesn't help especially when the books you have aren't the right books for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by markbrown4 View Post
    I highly recommend them.
    Don't get into the trap of reading for the sake of reading - It will actually prevent you from really absorbing the content of future books and hinder your learning.
    Every good book requires at least three readings, once fast, one very thorough reading (taking notes, experimenting) and another quick read.
    I understand what you're saying and agree. I often re-read some chapters in books just to refresh my memory and keep it fresh in my mind for a good few months. Thanks for the tip though Mark.

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Either way Andrew has made the right decision by not wanting to get side tracked into looking at libraries.


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  22. #22
    John 8:24 JREAM's Avatar
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    I'd suggest learning a Javascript Framework API such as JQuery, Mootools, Prototype, Django, etc - as they'll save you a lot of time in the end.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JREAM View Post
    I'd suggest learning a Javascript Framework API such as JQuery, Mootools, Prototype, Django, etc - as they'll save you a lot of time in the end.
    There is little point though in learning the framework before you know much of JavaScript.

    Imagine having a child from grade 3 learn how to use calculus. They might be able to use it to solve some problems, but without a background knowledge of maths they cannot know what it's supposed to solve, nor will they be able to apply it when other fundamental techniques they should have learned need to be incorporated as well.

    Frameworks do save time when you understand how to apply them, and in what circumstances. If you haven't experienced beforehand the issues that frameworks solve, you are at risk of trying to do foolish things. For example, demanding "I want my framework to add two numbers together from a form." The subtext being that you're too scared to learn how to achieve that with JavaScript because you have come to expect your framework to perform most, if not all, of the heavy lifting for you.
    Last edited by paul_wilkins; Sep 14, 2011 at 01:47.
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  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I've seen entire libraries (sometimes two: jQuery AND prototype) on a web site who do nothing more than a lightbox, or to validate a simple contact form. I've seen them simply to make IE6 hover. Seriously. It was like assembling the mighty militant barbaric hordes of the Nations to kick a puppy off the edge of a cliff.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JREAM View Post
    I'd suggest learning a Javascript Framework API such as JQuery, Mootools, Prototype, Django, etc - as they'll save you a lot of time in the end.
    As I've previously said to others, I don't want anything to do with JavaScript Frameworks / Libraries at the moment. I thought I had made myself clear - I'm learning JavaScript from the ground up without the help of JS Libraries. To me, at the moment, JS Libraries don't exist. So don't preach about them to me please

    Quote Originally Posted by Blake Tallos View Post
    I'm liking this thread
    It's very helpful isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    I've seen entire libraries (sometimes two: jQuery AND prototype) on a web site who do nothing more than a lightbox, or to validate a simple contact form. I've seen them simply to make IE6 hover. Seriously. It was like assembling the mighty militant barbaric hordes of the Nations to kick a puppy off the edge of a cliff.
    I've seen exactly the same thing. It's a bit silly I think (personally). You have a whole library - or two, linked to a Web page which does a simple thing that you could just write in JS yourself, without the need of a JS Library and it would probably be less hassle. I don't know what I'm talking about actually, I'm just talking a load of dribble. At least, I personally would prefer to write a simple form validation script than use a JS Library. That's just me.

    I've got my nice list of JavaScript books that I'm going to order and the help I've received in this thread has been tremendous! I really appreciate it a lot! I think the "issue" in this thread has been "resolved" though and I don't see why we should carry on the discussion! -- Unless somebody else wants some advice on the same issue, I'm sure if they read the whole thread then they'd be helped out a lot too.

    Thanks again peeps! I'll get some heavy JavaScript reading and studying done over the coming months and I guess we'll see the results of these reading and experimenting sessions in the form of future Websites I build!

    Andrew Cooper


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