Torn between these 2 JS books

Anyone read either of these two books? Trying to decide on which one to get and I’m kinda at a stalemate :. I’m currently reading Eloquent JavaScript and I already have Head First JavaScript Programming.

I’m basically looking for no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point presentation of JavaScript to include some of the more advanced concepts as well… Like C# In a Nutshell but for JS. A book that can serve as a great reference when I’m coding but not at the expense of thoroughness. So far, I’ve got it down to these two but can’t decide:

  1. Professional JavaScript for Web Developers

  2. JavaScript: the Definitive Guide

The only thing that worries me is that these books are both kinda dated… But I can’t seem to find any highly-acclaimed JS books made after year 2012 except for Eloquent, which I am already reading (the online version), and Head First but HF is kind of cluttered to be a good reference IMO.

@P1xt, I know you read a lot of books, you have a say in this?


How about You Don’t Know JS? It’s a series of six books. I’m currently reading this one.

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Once you’re comfortable with the basic ideas, all you really need for reference is MDN. ECMAScript is revised literally every year now, so any book will be obsolete the moment it rolls off the press.

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Solid advice, thank you!

I suggest you SpeakingJs. It talks only about syntax and best practices.

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My 2 cents on this book, and most books in general, is that Manning publications has the best ‘production value’ in terms of books to learn. I’ve used them to learn jQuery, JavaScript, Rails, Coffeescript etc…

By the way, does there exist a good JavaScript reference book? For example, for C# I use C# 6.0 in a Nutshell by Albahari and Albahari. Basically, can I get the MDN in a book format? I just prefer books to constantly going to websites for some reason. I like to flip through books whenever possible. It helps me too because sometimes I like to actually code with pencil and paper away from the computer.

Yes, I’m old fashioned and weird like that… But I’m actually kinda surprised at the lack of updated textbooks on JS compared to other languages… When JS is supposedly the most popular programming language.

EDIT: @giovannigiordano Speaking is great! It’s also relatively newer than the others. I just ordered a used copy from Amazon! That’ll have to do as my reference for now until a better one shows up.

I found this gem recently, not a book, but a bunch of very good Javascript articles. It found the article about closures is very solid, easy to understand -

For beginners, try this book instead -

I own almost all the ones mentioned. You dont know JS over the bunch of book are well written and cover ES6. The definitive guide is decent, a little more theroy than i like but serviceable think reference not tutorial. I would save my money and invest in React books… That is where you will have a brutal learning curve. I finally got it kinda but React is component driven and is brutal. Same with D3 but I got the D3 cookbook and covers most the projects on fcc. So what you want.

I completely agree with P1xt on You Don’t Know JS and that your best reference is MDN JS. I also disliked Eloquent JS, it’s such a blotted and at times confusing read. I definitely would not recommend that book for a first time JS learner. I learned my first JS from “JS for dummies” and still so grateful to that book. Also as you progress along things will stop sinking in. Especially if you take long breaks from books. So after getting an understanding for basics start doing exercises. I can recommend these resources for practice.

JS Koans


Not only JS, but it’s there

Code wars


There are many others you can search for. But those should keep you busy for a while. And this turned into quiet a resources rich topic. :slight_smile:


+1 for You Don’t Know JS.

This series will teach you all about the quirky stuff in JavaScript that a lot of beginner books will completely skip over. Read them, you’ll be glad you did. :slight_smile:

@P1xt, could you please tell me more about your opinion on React? I won’t be able to master both React and Angular, so I’ll need to choose between the two. Thanks again for your input.

i have the definitive guide (#2 above). It’s a tough read. Needs more examples. For a beginner like me, I would not recommend it.

Is “Professional JavaScript for Web Developers” really too dated to be useful today?
And is there anything covered in that reference book that isn’t covered in YDKJS?
Thx :slight_smile:

@P1xt Perfect, I’ll go for YDKJS then, since what I care for the most currently is mastering JS as a language. I believe that with the fundamentals mastered, everything else will comenaturally. Moreover, since many libs and tools are writting in JS (like Angular for instance), understanding them will come much more easily if I truly understand JS.

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I have “JavaScript: the Definitive Guide”. It’s useful… If you learn better by reading and you want to know more about javascript as a programming language (there is also a section dedicated to the front end development). But that said, I wouldn’t recommend this book in your case, because it could have too much stuff that you don’t need at the moment (this book is HUGE).

i have it on kindle but it’s still a long long read. (definitive guide)

@P1xt Do you also have a blog or something I can subscribe to. You always come up with so many great resources. Thanks for being helpful to every one. :slight_smile:

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I think your knowledge (regardless of the topic) should be shared with the world via blogging. Medium is a pretty beginner-friendly place to blog!

I’ve read the first book of YDKJS and the opinion of the author about Douglas Crockford is … bullsh*t. “javaScript, the Good parts” was written in 2008 with version 1.8 of js, when the closures where introduced and they are already explained in the book.
At the time MS wasn’t supporting js at all, mobile was something to come in the future and the big success of Crockford with Yahoo.

YDKJS is a nice book in the tech side, much easier to read than the good parts for sure :sunglasses: