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on 3 February 2009
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. To be a modern web developer you really need to know what you're doing with respect to JavaScript. Look to other books to discuss JavaScript libraries, the DOM, animation effects and Ajax. Look to this book for the starting point to all that: the JavaScript language itself, weird and wonderful, familiar yet strange, bad parts and (fortunately) good parts.
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on 3 December 2013
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".

As one of the driving forces behind JavaScript, with this book he really gave a good explanation of JavaScript's components, although readers must be warned that the various sections should be read more than once to be able to apply and understand the concepts explained before getting some of the more advanced ideas.

The main reason I read this book was need to help me understand building better object oriented JavaScript and more organized AJAX applications. Book is explaining various object patterns which can be used for applications building, from the Object Literal to various functional patterns, Regular Expressions, Arrays and much more.

The author was also able to cover a lot of key concepts that a JavaScript developer needs to understand to be successful, e.g. how equality is actually determined in JavaScript.

For JavaScript developer section "The Good and the Bad Parts of JavaScript" should be also very helpful to be able to truly understand how JavaScript works.

The only book drawback could be that it's not intended for absolute beginners, although it's well written and accessible.

If you are JavaScript web developer or just an enthusiast who is really enjoying jQuery or if you want to know some more intimate details about JavaScript, this book will be of great help. It contains lot of useful tips even for advanced programmers and also can be used as "lighter" reference book.
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on 21 April 2014
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.

If you're somebody who's picked up JS as you went along and learned to hate it as you went, this is the book that will show you a beautiful, powerful, and remarkably flexible language with no shortcomings that can't be worked around.
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on 7 January 2015
I highly, highly recommend this book. It was recommended to be by a friend after a code review of some JavaScript I had written and I found this book to be chock-full of immediately useful ideas and practices. Occasionally, I did find the author's recommendations to be a bit parochial, such as his assertion that you should always curly brackets (I know, I know, here we go again :) but they never obfuscated his intention: how to write better JavaScript.

With JavaScript enjoying a renaissance of sorts in these days, this book is more relevant than ever. JavaScript gives you so much rope to hang yourself by, you owe it to yourself to read this book and learn how you can cheat the hangman.
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on 1 August 2014
Most programmers wouldn't believe Javascript has good parts! but Douglas Crockford does a great job highlighting them!
I bought this book and 2 others "Javascript the definitive guide" & "Javascript Patterns", as far as I am concerned these books are essential reading for any programmer!

These 3 books hold, the dubious honour, of being the only 3 programming books I have actually read cover to cover.
This book, is great, as I initally skim read this book over a lazy saturday afternoon, while drinking beer while sitting in sun lounger. Not something I often associate with tech books! I also watched some of the Douglas Crockfords videos on YouTube, which are great addendums, and a must.

I have re-read this book several times since, as I my journey into Javascript has progressed. The trilogy of javascript books has not left my Desktop, and I find myself refering to them time and again!

Douglas Crockfords style and approach to this book is just right! Easy to follow, and for a tech book a real page turner.
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on 26 July 2011
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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on 21 July 2012
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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on 11 January 2016
I bought this as a preliminary to learning node.js. I'll admit I'd been slightly snobbish about javascript based on a limited acquaintance many years ago but Crockford's introduction put me in my place and prepared me to learn.

It's a slim book, the bulk of the content is covered in the first 100 pages with the remaining 50 or so filled with various appendices covering the 'bad' of javascript, syntax diagrams and a useful lint implementation.

It's much more of a traditional primer more akin to something like the White Book The C Programming Language (2nd Edition) than one of these inch thick 'Learn X in 24 hours' type of books but all the better for it. If you're motivated you could work through it in a weekend. I'm sure it will be on hand for the foreseeable future to make sure I don't adopt any of the bad practices ( a lot of which I've probably bought over from C but still).

Recommended if
a) You've got a fair amount of programming experience
b) You've got the time and inclination to build your own learning projects - there's no 'class project' that grows along with the book as it doesn't use a tutorial approach
c) If you're going to be doing more / serious work a language reference might be useful
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VINE VOICEon 11 August 2015
I had read so many good reports on this that i was a tad disappointed. Some of the recommended code is so obtuse that I'd think twice about using it. The chapter on regex is redundant, it doesn't really tell us anything about JavaScript and there are plenty regex tutors elsewhere. The main impression I get from this book is that JavaScript is every bit as awful as I remember and to make it usable involves writing code that only a guru can maintain! We really need a new standard language on the browser! The good news is that the book is short, well written, and occasionally humorous.
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on 23 November 2013
Douglas Crockford always manages to present the JavaScript language in an enjoyable, correct and historically relevant manner. The first surprise from the book is how few pages there are but this is a benefit because it reflects the JS language itself, allowing you to write very short functional code which can be built on to produce complex applications. The rail-road diagrams showing the language is a worthwhile addition to the book.

I suggest for real JavaScript beginners that they also check out the online Yahoo videos of Douglas Crockford's talks to help put the book into perspective and help provide greater detail of how JavaScript is different from other programming languages.
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