Recommended JavaScript Reading (updated March, 2015)

I regularly receive emails from developers asking what books I recommend for learning JS. If you're looking to touch up on your language knowledge or learn from scratch, I'm happy to suggest the following:

Effective JavaScript - +David Herman​'s  book provides an in-depth exploration of the language and provides a concise, modern take on developing maintainable JavaScript. Dave is a member of TC39 who has been involved in helping with many proposals for the next version of the language is really knows his shit. Recommended by +Alex Russell​, +Paul Irish​ and others.

JavaScript The Definitive Guide, 6th Edition - one of my personal favorites. A comprehensive walkthrough of the language which benefits both beginner and intermediate developers alike. It's also a solid reference guide, should you need to go back and brush up on any areas you're feeling rusty on, regardless of whether you're using WPD or the MDN.

High-performance JavaScript - Nicholas Zakas (who also recently wrote Maintainable JavaScript and Principles of Object-Oriented Programming in JavaScript, also excellent) covers a number of important lessons about JavaScript performance. If you want to learn how to avoid slowing down your interactions with the DOM, improve runtime performance of your code and generally better the speed of your code's execution this one is a must read.

JavaScript Patterns - Language and coding patterns are an incredibly useful way to benefit from reusable solutions to problems we face when developing with any language. In this book, +Stoyan Stefanov​  introduces a number of effective patterns (and anti-patterns) for writing better JavaScript and remains another of my favorites.

The Past, Present and Future Of JavaScript - +Axel Rauschmayer​'s new free book provides a much needed summary of what's coming next in the world of JavaScript. With browser vendors beginning to gradually implement more new language features from ES.next, this will help you keep up to date even if you haven't been reading up on proposals.

JavaScript: The Good Parts - A classic, even though you're bound to disagree with some of what Crockford says. Many great points about both the quirks and good parts of a of the JavaScript language. Whilst not the first book I'd recommend a beginner purchase, do consider reading this once you get the hang of the basics. As long as you remember Crock' isn't the last word in everything, you'll benefit greatly from his insights on the language.

Learning Node.js - +Marc Wandschneider​'s  guide to learning Node is concise, walks through building a fully functional application through the course of his book and touches on testing, deployment and performance considerations. I would pair this with a read of Substack's Streams handbook for good measure.

Eloquent JavaScript - probably one of the best beginners books. If you haven't heavily invested time into learning the language just yet, check this book out. It's filled with a number of funny (at times, unexpected) introductions to examples and isn't as overwhelming as other alternatives.

There are other really good books such as: +Cody Lindley​'s JavaScript Enlightenment, John Resig's Secrets of a JavaScript ninja - which I'd recommend if you're looking to learn how to write your own library and Test-driven JavaScript Development for those into TDD. 

PS: I've also written Learning JavaScript Design Patterns, which is available free/for purchase in case you're interested in learning about modern JavaScript patterns for development. I've also written Developing Backbone.js Applications. Basically, you've got a lot of choice for learning JavaScript these days and hopefully some of these suggestions will come in helpful.

Remember that whilst reading about programming languages is important, there's no replacement for getting stuck right into the deep end and actually writing code. You may appreciate that tip more in the long-term ; )

Cheers! - Addy
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