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JavaScript: Just the Basics - A Primer for the Complete Beginner [Kindle Edition]

Michael J Young
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.99
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  • Length: 290 pages (estimated)
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Book Description


JavaScript has become one of the most widespread and versatile computer languages. It's now used not only for adding active behavior to web pages, but also for developing applications for web servers, mobile devices, and even the computer desktop. Despite its popularity, however, JavaScript isn't so easy to learn or to understand. JavaScript has evolved into a large, complex, unique, and somewhat confusing computer language.

This book makes your JavaScript learning task much easier and gets you started quickly by selecting just the MOST ESSENTIAL JavaScript features. It then thoroughly explains and simplifies these features, using many easy-to-follow code examples. To offer a vision of the possibilities, the book also briefly introduces several more advanced JavaScript technologies, such as multi-window web applications, animations, cookies, and Ajax. The book doesn't duplicate the free online JavaScript documentation, but rather is meant to be used in conjunction with it, and it includes many documentation links to help you quickly find additional information.

This guide to beginning web development provides your FIRST JavaScript step. Using it to learn the fundamentals will prepare you for your JavaScript journey no matter what direction it takes. For example, the book provides the ideal background for going on to learn jQuery. It serves as the "prequel" to "jQuery: Just the Basics," available as a Kindle book by the same author (

This book is written for the JavaScript beginner -- no prior JavaScript experience required! It would be helpful, although not essential, to know something about HTML and CSS, and to have worked with another programming language.

The book is approximately 290 pages long. It was designed, written, and formatted specifically for the Kindle, and you can read it on any Kindle device or free reading app. (Reading the book in Kindle Cloud Reader isn't recommended because of the reader's non-standard formatting.) The manuscript was prepared so that the source code listings are easy to view and the book is simple to navigate. Because using an index in an ebook is slow and awkward, the book doesn't include a traditional index. You can easily find topics with your Kindle's powerful Search feature, as well as the book's detailed Table of Contents.

You'll find a companion website for the book at, where you can download the book's example code listings, contact the author, get updates and corrections on the material in the book, and learn about the author's other books.

Part I. The Core JavaScript Language
Chapter 1. Variables and Values
Chapter 2. Expressions and Operators
Chapter 3. Flow Control
Chapter 4. Objects and Arrays
Chapter 5. Defining Functions and Methods
Chapter 6. Constructors and Inheritance
Chapter 7. Pattern Matching with Regular Expressions
Part II. Client-Side JavaScript: Adding Dynamic Behavior to Web Pages
Chapter 8. Running JavaScript in the Browser
Chapter 9. Scripting Browser Windows
Chapter 10. Scripting Web-Page Content
Chapter 11. Scripting Web-Page Styles
Chapter 12. Handling Web-Page Events

Michael J Young has a master's degree in computer science and is the author of 30 books on computing. His book "XML Step by Step" won the top award, "Distinguished Technical Communication," in the 2000-2001 International Technical Publications Competition of the Society for Technical Communication.

"jQuery: Just the Basics - A Primer for the JavaScript Programmer," available as a Kindle book (

Product Details

  • File Size: 616 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Self Reliant Press; 1 edition (January 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,193 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book delivers what it says April 9, 2013
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This book delivers exactly what the title says in a simple and concise format for learning the language. If you have a programming background this book doesn't bore you with a lot of cruft that you don't need... Equally if you don't, it provides enough description and examples to learn. I think it is about the "right fit" for a learning javascript basic language course, and is less broken up than the online tutorials that you could find for free. Another advantage it provides over free resources I have found is it gives you a complete web application usage perspective that you won't find in most online or free resources.

I highly recommend this book, simple, concise, to the point, well written, and good examples!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great JavaScript book for experienced programmers. February 9, 2014
By JRockFL
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I have been a programmer for over a decade with formal training in the C-based languages. I have also worked on numerous projects using Microsoft's ASP.NET framework. With that said, there comes a point in your professional web career where you will have to be knowledgeable in JavaScript and not beat around the bushes searching for examples in Google results. One of the problems with JavaScript is that it has a large catalog of books available that are either 'recipe cookbooks', poorly-written, or geared towards web designers/novices who have very little programming backgrounds. Therefore, despite having a mastery in languages such as C and C#, I have found JavaScript a royal pain to learn.

All I ever wanted was a basic stripped-down JavaScript book that briefly covers the foundations and then builds up from previous topics. Michael J. Young's book successfully does this. Half the book is spent on learning core programming foundations the JavaScript way. The other half uses knowledge from previous chapters to discuss DOM manipulation, event-handling, and CSS-handling. The book does an excellent job in teaching you all the strange idiosyncrasies of JavaScript that has always been an obstacle for seasoned programmers.

Do keep in mind though, that this book only covers topics just enough to get your feet wet. Young frequently tells the reader to refer to David Flanagan's JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (a book that should be in every web developers library by the way) for the extra details.

If there was one area in the book that could use improvement, it would be the topic on DOM manipulation. I felt other texts provided clearer examples and details on DOM manipulation. Perhaps a future edition could expand on this?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not for advertised reasons December 12, 2012
By Gordio
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This book is a GREAT reference book. But I have two main issues 1)it's meant for beginners of JavaScript but not beginners of programming 2) it has No exercises, which is a shame. The code the book goes over are usually no bigger than one function. Because of this, you never really feel like you can write a program even though you're learning a lot at a fast pace

As mentioned in my title, this is a reference book than anything.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By alex
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This book does a good job of speaking to the JavaScript beginner. I really recommend not only testing your the example scripts he provides, but really play around with them to "see" how JavaScript works by breaking it. That really helped me to get the most out of this book.

Even though it does just cover "the basics", some of the concepts were a little difficult to grasp at first. While the author does a pretty good job of breaking the code down and explaining it line-by-line, sometimes the explanations fell just a little bit short, either that or I'm just stupid! But after "playing" with the code for a while, his explanations made more sense in retrospect.

If you have some general understanding of HTML and want to get a book that gets you started in JavaScript then this is a great book to go with.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A step ahead. September 15, 2012
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I've seen several different free online tutorials but buying this book is worth it simply because it goes a step further than the tutorials and gives clear examples to illustrate the point.

Also this book gives 'real world' examples that allow you to see the purpose of the chapter in a context that makes it easy to adapt to what you are currently doing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book is a great tool for anybody wanting to enter the programming realm. This book saved me precious time on researching the web for reliable JavaScript material which I was then able to invest in learning JavaScript.
I found the book very easy to understand and is well organised. The book explains fundamental programming concepts succinctly and clearly. The book clearly explains object oriented programming concepts like inheritance, in a way that is easily understandable for a beginner. The author introduced the basics in the first part and then built on it. I found the downloadable code particularly valuable in consolidating my learning. This book has equipped me to learn advanced JavaScript. I would therefore recommend this book to anybody who wants to learn JavaScript in particular and programming in general.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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I thinks this is a really great book. I started out going through the coding classes on and this book helped me to understand things better. As with anything you will have to go through the information over and over again and put it into practice. No one can learn everything by reading a book once. It's a lot to learn but it's doable. I was happy with the length of the book and the price. When I say that the book was about $6, I was not expecting much but I feel the author did a great job.
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