6 Books for Learning JavaScript

August 25th, 2012 Leave a comment
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6 Books for Learning JavaScriptJavaScript, A Beginner's Guide 3rd editionJavaScript. Visual Quickstart Guide 8th editionJavaScript. The Definitive Guide. Activate Your Web PagesJavaScript & DHTML Cookbook 2nd editionObject-Oriented JavaScriptProfessional JavaScript for Web Developers 2nd editionDefault

When learning a new programming language, books can be a great way to further your skills and start learning things quickly. There are several great books to help you further your programming education and allow you to become more specialized in your area of interest. In this article I will show you six books, recommended by experts that will help you learn more about JavaScript and that will become useful references as you become more proficient. Here they are, beginning with the books that are more suitable for beginners and working to the more advanced:

1. JavaScript, A Beginner’s Guide 3rd edition

JavaScript. Visual Quickstart Guide 8th edition By John Pollock

If you have been struggling to find a good beginners book on JavaScript, you have found it. This book will help you get into JavaScript quickly with exercises and even tests to help build the foundational skills you need to move on to more difficult work. Everything is presented in a simple manner and the author tries to make everything easy to understand as he walks you through each section. This book comes highly recommended if you are just getting started and want a book that assumes no prior knowledge of the language.

2. JavaScript: Visual Quickstart Guide 8th edition

JavaScript. Visual Quickstart Guide 8th editionBy Tom Negrino

As part of the QuickStart Guide series from Peachpit press, this book assumes very little knowledge of JavaScript from the reader. This makes it an excellent guide for the new beginner. As each topic is introduced, a code example is given with step-by-step instruction on how to re- create the demo on your own. You can also download all of the example code from the companion web site so you are able to perform your own experiments while learning.

3. JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Activate Your Web Pages

JavaScript. The Definitive Guide. Activate Your Web PagesBy David Flanagan

This book takes the cake as being one of the most comprehensive of JavaScript guides, as most books in the “Definitive Guides” set do. The book takes a big step not only into the language of JavaScript but into areas such as best practices, historical information and implementation- specific functionality. There is a whole section on Web aspects and jQuery, which can be over the head of a new developer but not beyond someone that has been playing with JavaScript for awhile.

Overall, this is a great learning book as well as desk reference. A good chunk of it is detailed examples and reference material. It is probably the most complete, in-depth JavaScript reference you can buy.

4. JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook 2nd edition

JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook 2nd editionBy Danny Goodman

Like most O’Reilly books, this book is written to solve real-world problems that have been selected to show different aspects of JavaScript as well as overcome common problems. 150 different “recipes” are presented to help you understand different aspects of the language.

The code has been designed for gaining a greater understanding of the language as well as for you to use in your own projects. The author goes to great lengths to explain the problem and why a particular solution works. This book is great for beginners as well as intermediate level programmers since the problems start out easy and gradually work towards being more difficult.

5. Object-Oriented JavaScript

Object-Oriented JavaScriptBy Stoyan Stefanov

This book should be titled “Advanced Syntax for Object-Oriented JavaScript” since it is great for learning the syntax and explaining it in-depth. This is a great book for a beginner since it starts with the basics of the language, talks about functions and how to create objects. Once you have a grasp on objects, the text gets into more in-depth topics such as OOP practices, built-in methods and custom objects.

It makes sense that the author, a Yahoo developer and the founder of the YSlow project would create a JavaScript book that also discusses AJAX techniques and the DOM, and he does so to great lengths. The final chapters of this book also cover design patterns, which is excellent for a new developer for any language. Stefanov does an excellent job of explaining JavaScript in a way that anyone can understand.

6. Professional JavaScript for Web Developers 2nd edition

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers 2nd editionBy Nicholas C. Zakas

This book, one of the Wrox Professional Guides, is written by a real-world professional who assumes that you have some basic knowledge of JavaScript under your belt already. It tries to fill the need of a professional reference guide for the working programmer by discussing real- world problems and solutions.

As a learning tool, this book will present a challenge to your growing JavaScript skills but by working through the material you will find that the author has provided a great resource that you can use to become better at JavaScript.


As you progress in your skill with JavaScript you may move away from books and use more online resources. However, books remain a great reference to have on hand, especially when they focus on complex but typical problems that developers in the language may face. As you grow as a developer you will begin to find your own style of how you like to research problems and I hope that you find some of these books a part of it.

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