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JavaScript: The Good Parts [Download: PDF] [Digital]

Douglas Crockford
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (355 customer reviews)

Price: $23.99
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Editorial Reviews

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.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
546 of 558 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Do you struggle when creating objects in Javascript?
Do you find the syntax to be non-intuitive and frustrating?
Do you know the difference between using a function as an object vs using an object literal?
Do you know how using object literals can simplify your code and create something similar to namespaces?
Do you know how to augment the type system -- for example, if wanted all strings to have a trim() method?
Do you know why the "new" statement is so dangerous? Do you know an alternative that eliminates the use of "new" entirely?

These are some of the topics that the book touches upon.

This book is aimed at someone with intermediate programming experience that wants to know the best way to create and use objects, arrays, types, etc. Crockford takes his experience with Javascript to show you best practices coding techniques and styles to use with Javascript. In addition, the book provides insights into what makes Javascript so confusing and what can be done about it.

You might ask "Isn't this stuff already covered in other books that I have?" The answer is no. For one, most other books use a psuedo-classical coding style (see below) to explain objects that is a source of confusion.

Javascript can be very confusing, especially for programmers who have extensive experience in other C-based languages (like myself). Writing good Javascript that uses objects, methods, etc. is hard. In Javascript, if you want to create objects, use inheritance and create methods, you have several different ways to write your code and it's difficult to know what the strengths and weaknesses of each are.

Crockford explains the problem plainly. Other C-based languages use class inheritance (Crockford calls this classical inheritance).
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196 of 215 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a long-time C, C++, and Java programmer (videogames, predominantly) learning Javascript to do some web work, so I picked up this book because the reviews were good and the notion appealed to me - learn the subset of this rather sloppy language that you can use as a good language.

My TL;DR version of the review: this book is a hodgepodge of different information about the language, but some of it is so complicated it'll go immediately over the heads of new programmers, and then some of it is so mundane (even pedantic, talking about very specific aspects of coding styles) it felt goofy and out of place. It seems to me that any specific individual reading this book won't really find more than one or two chapters very relevant. I give it 3 stars because the useful parts were useful to me, but I skimmed and ignored 80+% of the book.

Crockford's writing is personable and clear, and the book's organization is straightforward. Here's my chapter-by-chapter breakdown. Note that this is all from my perspective, what I personally found useful or not, but my point is, while other readers will certainly disagree with me about what was useful, I have trouble imagining any one person finding more than about 20% of the book useful.

Chapter 1 is an introduction and high-level explanation of the point of the book.

Chapter 2 covers basic grammar and the likes, which was helpful though it's not aimed at any particular familiarity with other languages so it's trying to be comprehensive, which meant that as an experienced programmer in other languages I had to skim it and just look for differences with what I'm already used to.
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118 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book May 16, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book.

First of all - at only 170 pages it is short. Even though some of the key points are repeated through the book it's dense with information. You don't need any JavaScript experience, but it's not a "beginning programming" book so if you haven't been programming before this is not the right book for you.

Reading this book a couple of times will give you an appreciation for the JavaScript language that you almost certainly didn't have before. It'll give you tools to write better programs that you and others will actually be able to maintain over time.

I've learned lots of little things that I maybe knew from experience, but now I _know_ and I know why.

This book will help you battle with JavaScript rather than against it.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Serious JavaScript programming requires strong discipline to avoid many pitfalls that are somewhat encouraged by the language itself. The author is very aware of this problem and wrote a small, but very dense book, full of useful advices that comes from somebody who has doing sophisticated JavaScript programming for a long time. Crockford is very opinionated, and I don't always agree 100% with his suggestions, nevertheless, even whenever I disagree, I find his points are worth reading, his opinion is always valuable. This book would serve well both veteran JavaScript developers and programmers that, coming from different languages, may get lost among JavaScript's idiosyncrasies.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few gems, but too much filler November 7, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has some good parts, even some great parts. Many parts of Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are very insightful, and might revolutionize how you think about Javascript, even programming in general. (Unless you come from a Lisp or functional programming background, in which case the insights will be old hat to you).

Unfortunately, the book as a whole seems to suffer from an identity crisis, or a lack of effort by the author to craft a consistent work, or perhaps a struggle between the author and publisher. Whatever the cause, it seriously compromised the quality and integrity of what could have been an amazing book. Instead of the tome of grand enlightenment that it should have been, we are left with a few gems buried amidst mounds of useless filler material.

The introduction explains that this is not a book for beginners, which is true, because beginning programmers would find most of Chapters 3, 4, and 5 to be completely impenetrable. Even experienced programmers may find them difficult to grasp. As the introduction says, this book is "small but dense," which is a nicer way of saying that it throws advanced techniques and code samples at the reader without sufficient explanation.

The introduction also explains that this is not a reference book, which is also true, because it does not describe the DOM at all, nor even list all the standard methods and functions built into Javascript. The introduction suggests that the reader should go look on the internet to find such references, which you'll certainly need to do if you plan to actually use Javascript for anything.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best book to increase knowledge of good javascript.
Published 2 days ago by IvŠn Olivares R.
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent coverage of javascript basics
Our company reading group read through this book, it has some basic concepts but overall it is not very useful for current javascript development.
Published 6 days ago by Bennett Wineholt
2.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentally, this book ends up being hugely disappointing. ...
Fundamentally, this book ends up being hugely disappointing.

The author clearly has deep knowledge of JavaScript. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Jared N
3.0 out of 5 stars Hits and misses, opinionated, a bit out of date
This started out good and there were a handful of subtleties that I didn't realize about JavaScript. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jono
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must read!
Must read for every JavaScript dev!
Published 17 days ago by Scott Erwin
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
Pretty much the MUST read book for JavaScript. Covers the important facets of the language in addition to useful caveats regarding the "bad/awful" parts that are likely to cause... Read more
Published 24 days ago by code monkey
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a lot of added value
Not getting a lot of new insights out of this book. The Definitive Guide is better. I prefer my own version of minimalism.
Published 29 days ago by The Doctor
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect Thanks!
Published 1 month ago by Michael Wright Jr
2.0 out of 5 stars Not at all a beginning text..
I only got 15% through the book before I figured I won't read a major part of the book? Like the size, I took a Javascript course in college. Read more
Published 1 month ago by marketminutdave
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Authoritative guide on Javascript!
Published 2 months ago by Scott Dennis
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