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About the Author
Marijn Haverbeke is a programming language enthusiast and polyglot. He's worked his way from trivial BASIC games on the Commodore, through a C++ phase, to the present where he mostly hacks on database systems and web APIs in dynamic languages. He created and maintains several popular open source projects.
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One of my troubles with learning, or trying to learn, good practices in programming has been finding good sources. A simple Google search brought me to a Tutsplus page where this book was listed, and I think it was a very fine recommendation. While it can be rather challenging at times, the pace is comfortable and the examples have a humorous bent to them, unlike many of the dry texts that fill this market.
Examples in this book are not walked through step-by-step like others of it's kind, and the author assumes a certain amount of work on your part to learn how to actually read the code. Oftentimes with beginner books, I find myself skipping over much of the content because it is dumbed down and far too basic. For example, after a quick overview of basic programming concepts, the author jumps into functional and object oriented programming rather quickly, which I found quite exciting.
The one drawback I found with this was that exercises were not included in the print version to work through on your own, so it was less of an interactive experience and more of a straightforward informational one. The good news is, the book is also available as a free HTML version online which includes additional exercises and interactive versions of the code examples included in the book.
This is one of the first of it's kind that I've seen that is both challenging and fun to read. I've already recommended it to others, and think that it can be a very good (re)introduction, especially for learning a bit more advanced techniques than you will generally find in introductory books.
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I have to admit though there's some stuff in here which I haven't fully understood on my first read (only read it once so far) but I think that's because I learnt so much reading it that there's only so much I can take in. Even if I don't end up understanding those parts on the next read through I understand enough of it already to know there importance and that I'll need to look them up else where, I find not understanding explanations a common problem for me where others don't though so I wouldn't say it's a reflection on the book, I still think it's brilliant.
There are lots of places to learn how to hack together code to make things happen in the browser, or places where you can learn the basic vocabulary of programming. Here, you will learn the very grammar of the best practices of programming, including how to make your code object-orientated. Even how to start writing your own libraries, or, at least, not to be freaked out at the idea of writing your own libraries.
It is well written and concise. The trade-off here is that it is rich. Very rich. I've re-read it twice and I'm still finding things I need to commit to memory - not a lot of space is spent revising/reinforcing. The author warns you about this in the introduction though!
Only after a thorough grounding in the better aspects of the language does it move on to tell you about techniques you can use in the browser - about 2/3 of the way through. I didn't have a problem with that but I can understand how it might aggravate some readers.
A good book for beginners to learn programming, but equally inspirational to more seasoned programmers who would like to rethink some of their bad habits. For the later this is quite an easy read.