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JavaScript: The Good Parts [Paperback]

Douglas Crockford
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
RRP: 22.99
Price: 15.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 May 2008 0596517742 978-0596517748 1

Most programming languages contain good and bad parts, but JavaScript has more than its share of the bad, having been developed and released in a hurry before it could be refined. This authoritative book scrapes away these bad features to reveal a subset of JavaScript that's more reliable, readable, and maintainable than the language as a whole—a subset you can use to create truly extensible and efficient code.

Considered the JavaScript expert by many people in the development community, author Douglas Crockford identifies the abundance of good ideas that make JavaScript an outstanding object-oriented programming language-ideas such as functions, loose typing, dynamic objects, and an expressive object literal notation. Unfortunately, these good ideas are mixed in with bad and downright awful ideas, like a programming model based on global variables.

When Java applets failed, JavaScript became the language of the Web by default, making its popularity almost completely independent of its qualities as a programming language. In JavaScript: The Good Parts, Crockford finally digs through the steaming pile of good intentions and blunders to give you a detailed look at all the genuinely elegant parts of JavaScript, including:

  • Syntax
  • Objects
  • Functions
  • Inheritance
  • Arrays
  • Regular expressions
  • Methods
  • Style
  • Beautiful features

The real beauty? As you move ahead with the subset of JavaScript that this book presents, you'll also sidestep the need to unlearn all the bad parts. Of course, if you want to find out more about the bad parts and how to use them badly, simply consult any other JavaScript book.

With JavaScript: The Good Parts, you'll discover a beautiful, elegant, lightweight and highly expressive language that lets you create effective code, whether you're managing object libraries or just trying to get Ajax to run fast. If you develop sites or applications for the Web, this book is an absolute must.

Frequently Bought Together

JavaScript: The Good Parts + JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides) + JavaScript Patterns
Price For All Three: 61.70

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Product details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Yahoo Press; 1 edition (18 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596517742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596517748
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 9.1 x 0.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

Unearthing the Excellence in JavaScript

About the Author

Douglas Crockford is a Senior JavaScript Architect at Yahoo!, well known for introducing and maintaining the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format. He's a regular speaker at conferences on advanced JavaScript topics, and serves on the ECMAScript committee.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this small and dense book you will find JavaScript guru Douglas Crockford's presentation of the beautiful subset of a language that lies within JavaScript as a whole. You can use this subset to write serious programs. Occasionally you might have to use some of what Crockford calls "the bad parts", but at least you'll know the dangers, and how to mitigate them.

Perhaps more importantly, Crockford is very, very aware of how JavaScript differs from classical OO languages, and how these differences can and do trip up classically trained programmers, coming from (say) C++, C# or Java backgrounds. Crockford goes out of his way to point out the differences and the new way of thinking that is required for JavaScript.

This book is not necessarily going to be an easy read, even for professionals. Crockford says so himself in the preface. It's dense and terse. By necessity it introduces terms that might be confusing at first, and which are only explained later. You have to read the whole book, patiently waiting for certain concepts to be explained, and for things to fall into place. On a re-read it all begins to make real sense. I do recommend that this book is read at least twice, preferrably three times. At least it's short!

There is not much to do with the web in this book. There's no DOM manipulation examples, and no Ajax calls. You will find no discussion of modern JavaScript libraries. Crockford just focusses on his area of expertise: the JavaScript language. He highlights and promotes the good parts, and in appendices talks about the "Awful" and merely "Bad" parts.

This is an important book. Crockford writes with the authority, seriousness and simplicity of K&R.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Mike
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book will tell any programmer what they need to know about Javascript. It is focused, to the point and almost everything is useful - no wasting time reading through tons of useless filler.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not as hard as other reviews make you believe 26 July 2011
By johnny
I bought this book before reading all the reviews, and then got a bit scared that it would be too hard to learn anything useful just reading it cover to cover. It's not like that at all. I'm new to javascript, and it was absolutely fine to learn the syntax and concepts, and it actually got my interest in functional programming back up.
So I would definitely recommend this book to a computer scientist wanting to find out about javascript as a language, not as a tool to make flashy websites. Of course, the main reason I give it five stars is because it's short :-).

I guess my criticism is actually that there's some redundant stuff in the book: the chapter on regular expressions, for example, is fine as a chapter on regular expressions (in javascript), but that's something you would typically look for in reference manuals. The JSON parser is pretty much waste of paper: a url would have been good enough.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners 5 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you haven't used Javascript for more than 6 months, or if you're just startng your journey into the beautiful world of the world's most misunderstood language, do NOT buy this book. This book is full of good advice, but it is written in a style and language which will make sense only to professional javascript programmers.
I'd suggest that you read the Rhino bookJavaScript: The Definitive Guide first, and then read this book to improve your javascript skills. It is definitely a must read because it lays down some of the very advanced concepts lucidly, but it'll confuse and frustrate you if you haven't had a decent exposure to javascript.

Recommended only to experienced javascript programmers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great if you already know how to program. 25 April 2011
I have been programming for longer than I care to remember. These days I use mainly PHP, though have dabbled with Javascript and jQuery when I have been unable to avoid doing so. Given that Javascript has regained a lot of its previous popularity, and is once again socially acceptable, I thought it was about time that I got to grips with it properly.

Typical javascript books seem to be aimed at beginners to programming, or experienced javascript programmers. The latter tend to sail over my head unless they come with decent examples. The former are frustratingly terse when it comes to the meaty matters that you really need to get to grips with if you want to take the language seriously. I guess their logic is that to dwell on such matters would scare the newcomer off.

This book, treads a great middle ground. It is written by somebody who quite clearly knows an awful lot about programming in a variety of languages. In this book, he succinctly explains all the good bits of Javascript that you should be sticking to as much as possible, and also highlights the bad stuff. The thing is, once you have read it a couple of times (it is a short book), not only will you be able to write good javascript code, but you will also be able to forgive javascript for some of the terrible stuff.

Note though, that this book doesn't go into any detail about web matters. You will get no utility functions for manipulating the DOM or anything funky like that. What you will get though, is a thorough grounding in Javascript, the core language, itself.

Prior to reading this book, I have been writing my own lightbox routine. Naturally I having been looking at other examples to see how they did it, but I tended to get lost following their code.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cured my hate of JS
When I first heard the title, my immediate response was "Must be a very small book!"

And it is, but it's jam-packed with Good Stuff. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Dominic Humphries
4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas gift
This was purchased as a Christmas gift from the intended recipients wish list, so I'm sure that they will be very pleased
Published 4 months ago by K J W Crowley
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read for JavaScript web developers but enthusiasts as well
If you were or you are working with jQuery and JavaScript you will eventually learn about Douglas Crockford and his book "JavaScript: The Good Parts". Read more
Published 4 months ago by Denis Vukosav
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise book from the JS expert
Douglas Crockford always manages to present the JavaScript language in an enjoyable, correct and historically relevant manner. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr G.
5.0 out of 5 stars It is, after all, "the good parts"
Pretty handy book to have around and read every now and then. Very useful for the current "JS golden age".
Published 8 months ago by Juanjo
5.0 out of 5 stars Imprescindible
If you write Javascript, you *need* to read this, *period*. Otherwise, you'll write *bad* Javascript.

An it ain't that long a read.
Published 14 months ago by koalillo
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not an intro to Javascript
Don't pick up this book expecting to learn Javascript from it (though you could). Read either because you have been using Javascript for a while and want to learn the best... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Brilliant read! Amazing book, very well written and to read it straight from the horse's mouth is actually a good thing.
Published 14 months ago by Sourav
5.0 out of 5 stars Very dense content
This book is a MUST have javascript book. It gives very good information. Everyone developing javascript should read this book.
Published 15 months ago by Damiaan
5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly good!
I bought this book around 6 months after getting interested in javascript. I was at best a intermediate novice before picking this book up, and still did not understand many of the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Darren
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