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Maintainable JavaScript [Paperback]

by Nicholas C. Zakas
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 31, 2012 1449327680 978-1449327682 1

You may have definite ideas about writing code when working alone, but team development requires that everyone use the same approach. With the JavaScript practices in this book—including code style, programming tips, and automation—you will learn how to write maintainable code that other team members can easily understand, adapt, and extend.

Author Nicholas Zakas assembled this collection of best practices as a front-end tech leader at Yahoo!, after completing his own journey from solo hacker to team player. He also includes rules recommended by other industry authorities. Use these tips and techniques to help your team set aside individual preferences and function at a higher level.

  • Establish specific code conventions for your team
  • Use tools such as JSLint and JSHint to keep your team on track
  • Adopt style guidelines, such as basic formatting, to help your team produce uniform code
  • Apply several programming practices to solve problems and improve code quality
  • Create an automated JavaScript build system using a variety of utilities
  • Integrate browser-based JavaScript testing with tools such as the YUI Test Selenium Driver

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Maintainable JavaScript + JavaScript Patterns + JavaScript: The Good Parts
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Writing Readable Code

About the Author

Nicholas C. Zakas is a front-end consultant, author, and speaker. He worked at Yahoo! for almost five years, where he was front-end tech lead for the Yahoo! homepage and a contributor to the YUI library. He is the author of Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox, 2012), Professional Ajax (Wrox, 2007), and High Performance JavaScript (O’Reilly, 2010). Nicholas is a strong advocate for development best practices including progressive enhancement, accessibility, performance, scalability, and maintainability. He blogs regularly at and can be found on Twitter via @slicknet.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449327680
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449327682
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicholas C. Zakas is a front-end consultant who specializes in user interface design and implementation for web applications using JavaScript, Dynamic HTML, CSS, XML, and XSLT. Has has 15 years of web development experience and spent nearly five years at Yahoo! in various roles, including principal front end engineer for the Yahoo! homepage and contributor to the Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) library, having written the Cookie Utility, Profiler, and YUI Test.

Nicholas is the author of Professional JavaScript for Web Developers and High Performance JavaScript, a co-author on Professional Ajax, and a contributor to Even Faster Web Sites. He has also written for several online sites such as WebReference, Sitepoint, the YUI Blog, A List Apart, and the Web Performance Advent Calendar.

Nicholas regularly gives talks about web development, JavaScript, and best practices. He has given talks at companies such as Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Google, Netflix, TripAdvisor, and NASA, and conferences such as the Ajax Experience, the Rich Web Experience, OSCON, WebDirections, Fronteers, and Velocity.

Through his writing and speaking, Nicholas seeks to teach others the valuable lessons he's learned while working on some of the most popular and demanding web applications in the world. He firmly believes that no difficult problem should need to be solved more than once.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
"Maintainable JavaScript" by Nicholas Zakas (O'Reilly 2012) is a short-and-sweet little text on (as the cover says) "writing readable code". And by "readable code", Zakas means "code that other developers not named [YOUR NAME] will be able to read and make sense of and ultimately maintain". It goes beyond maintainable and readable code though--Zakas takes us on a tour of how to deliver high-quality JavaScript that is testable and maximally performant in production. If you look at Zakas' catalog, this subject is right in his wheelhouse, and the book reads like either a sequel to his 2010 "High Performance JavaScript (Build Faster Web Application Interfaces)" or else as an expanded version of Chapter 24 of his 2012 "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" (3rd edition, and still my favorite JS text). It's an opinionated book about formatting style, about programming conventions, and about ways of helping you (and your team) write code that is a lot less likely to blow up on you down the line.

Right off the bat: the target audience for this book is not advanced JavaScript developers. If you are an advanced JavaScript developer (or even many mid-level JS devs) then these are concepts that you are already familiar with. You've already dabbled in a style guide. You already know to minimize global variables. You already know to use feature detection. And there's a good chance you're *at least* linting, if not testing, if not doing both of those things *automatically* as part of your build. If that sounds like you, then you might want to take a pass.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Manju
"Maintainable JavaScript" by Nicholas Zakas (O'Reilly 2012) is a very useful book for programmers who have just started writing javascript code or, for intermediate developers who would like to develop clean and maintainable code. The book is written in a very simple language that is easy to understand and follow.

As the title of the book suggests, the book is aimed at capturing the essential aspects of writing javascript code that is easy to maintain. I liked the flow of the book but I felt that the first few chapters in part 1 could be skipped if the reader is aware of the material.

In part 1 of the book (Style Guidelines), Zakas has given in-depth analysis of styling guidelines to follow that are sometimes skipped when writing large pieces of Javascript code. He touches upon styling guidelines such as: naming conventions, adding comments in the code, understanding the usage of semi-colons etc.,. Some good example use cases and the methodology of using the style guides is presented so that these ideas stick in your mind and become part of the programmers habits.

In part 2 (Programming Practices) - I especially liked the chapter 6 on `avoid global variables' since I have used global variables in my JavaScript but did not think through the caveats of using them. Similar to part 1 of the book, I liked the use cases that the author proposed to describe advantages and disadvantages of several programming aspects that are described in the section. In addition,one of the best described chapters in this section is the material on throwing your own errors (helping you to debug JavaScript code) which I do most of the time using firebug tool on Firefox.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
It's easy to blaze your own coding trail, perhaps particularly so with Javascript. This book provides a comprehensive glimpse into the workflow and practices of an experienced Javascript developer. It's a good read whether you're blazing your own trail or trying to clear one for a group.
Maintainable Javascript provides a useful mix of intermediate and advanced Javascript concepts and practices based on widely accepted theory and grounded in the author's real world experience.

The book is broken into 3 sections.
1. Style Guidelines
2. Programming Practices
3. Automation

Style Guidelines
A nice survey of style guidelines found in several libraries and well-known approaches to coding Javascript including JSLint and JSHint.

Programming Practices
Presents a great deal of information from both the author's experience and general theory. I learned something even in the areas in which I was already familiar.

Convincing arguments for automation with helpful examples.

Maintainable Javascript reads like a worthy sequel to Douglas Crockford's Javascript: The Good Parts.

I reviewed this book as an ePub on the iPad for O'Reilly's Blogger Review Program.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every lead js developer should have this book handy June 18, 2012
By kevinw
Some of the book was familiar to me as I feel experienced with JavaScript. The second half of the book is where I really learned some things new. In particular, the build process section was of high interest to me and I really learned a lot from it. I usually keep this book open in .pdf format for quick reference when I need it. If you're serious about your JavaScript, care about your code and having your team stay organized then you should have this book in close reach.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good introductory book
Very good introductory to style guides. Also read "clean code" if you want more in depth style guidelines and don't have trouble reading java code.
Published 1 month ago by heng zou
5.0 out of 5 stars There is more in this book than the title suggests
It’s difficult to determine the target audience of this book as it covers a lot of topics, more or less technical, some being understandable and valuable for beginners, like code... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Pragmateek
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful read for team working on big JavaScript projects
This book is must read for every team that is working on bigger JavaScript project. The author
has that kind of experience, he worked in the development of the Yahoo page and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Igor
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the book I was expecting but a nice reference for how to write...
I wanted something with a few more real world examples but I found the book to be like an english primer. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jerry Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Great practical material
This book works well as a supplement to other more technical JavaScript books. It is an easy read that had me checking bits of my code as a result. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rob von Nesselrode
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
I don't normally write reviews but felt this book was so good that I felt compelled to spread the word. Read more
Published 13 months ago by JML
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to practicing better habits.
Few books leave you feeling tangibly better at practicing a computer language. This book is one of them. Read more
Published 15 months ago by James Jeffers
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn about JavaScript and code organization for any language
Very concise and easy to read. Lots of great organization tips to think about when writing in any language plus lots of JavaScript details that I had no idea about having mainly... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Blue Gal
2.0 out of 5 stars I'm dissapointed
When I bought this book actually I was expecting more methodology, with more concepts, classes, oriented objects, templates (more), or similar, but I didn't find anything of this,... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Fran
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for getting everyone on the same page
I *would* agree with the other reviewers that this book is best for beginner JavaScript programmers, except that I've seen plenty of "3+ years JS experience" developers write... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Brian Nickel
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