JavaScript Books That Should Be Required Reading

15. September 2010 10:38

I often get asked what books I recommend for developers looking to get more into JavaScript. Often they're looking for something specific to a given framework, most often jQuery. Although there are some great jQuery and a couple of jQueryUI books as well, I'd recommend the following books first and formost for those with some knowledge of JavaScript, but wanting to get a better grasp.

The first half of this year I read through eight recently published books centered around JavaScript and these are the one's I would recommend.

Book Cover--JavaScript: The Good Parts
JavaScript: The Good Parts is one of two JavaScript books that I feel should be required reading for all web developers. Even if you've jumped into JS and don't care to start with entry level re-hashes, this is a great read. I don't agree 100% with Douglas Crockford's views. However, this is a great read that will give some insightful concepts and ideas. Also worth looking at is Crockford's video series on YUI Blog.

Book Cover--Even Faster Web Sites
Even Faster Web Sites: Performance Best Practices for Web Developers is the other book I feel should be required reading for all web developers, and even designers. It covers a lot of great examples of how JavaScript and other elemental decisions in the design and markup of a site impact performance. There isn't as much specific to JS as High Performance JavaScript (Build Faster Web Application Interfaces), which is another good read. There's about a 50% overlap between the two books, and I feel that the former is a much more important read and reading both will get very redundant, very quickly.

Along with the books above, I would also suggest taking a look at the following books as well...

Book Cover--JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is a book that every beginning web developer should have on their bookshelf. If you want a more novice friendly text, I would suggest the JavaScript Bible (I'm linking to the 2010 version, which should be out in October.). The definitive guide is a bit better as a reference text, the bible is better as a learning text.

Book Cover--Pro JavaScript Design Patterns
Pro JavaScript Design Patterns is another book worth looking at. Though I honestly feel that there will usually be simpler solutions to most given problems, reading this book provides a gateway to several good thought experiments and can provide some insightful ideas on how to resolve some common issues with design patterns.

If you're first starting out, I would go through The Definitive Guide, before looking into The Good Parts, or Even Faster Web Sites. Beyond this, there are a lot of blogs out there covering JavaScript from many different vantage points, and lots of frameworks and tools out there. I feel that these books are a great starting point to understanding JavaScript better and a greater understanding of how JavaScript works, instead of blindly cutting and pasting framework examples.

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Michael J. Ryan aka Tracker1

My name is Michael J. Ryan and I've been developing web based applications since the mid 90's.

I am an advanced Web UX developer with a near expert knowledge of JavaScript.