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In search of JavaScript book(s) for a kinda novice ...

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I suppose I should make it clear that Douglas Crockford's videos don't really teach JavaScript. The videos explain a lot of the history of programming (really interesting stuff!) and go over the good parts of ECMAScript (JavaScript's official name). He gives some examples of how to do some very powerful stuff, but like I said, it was a bit above my level of understanding.

But he definitely knows his stuff. I've started reading his book JavaScript: The Good Parts and it seems to assume a knowledge of programming in general. One thing that bothers me (which is why I think I'm still having trouble figuring out first class functions and closure) is that he gives examples on how to create functions inside functions but then he doesn't really go into detail in how to use them. So I'm having a hard time abstracting the information from his examples to be able to apply it to my own uses.

I'm only on Chapter 4 though, so I can't make any final conclusions on the book yet.

Crockford's basic premise is that JavaScript was thrown together in about 2 weeks, and in that rush it did a lot of things poorly, but it also did quite a few things really, really well. He says that you should just ignore and never even learn the bad parts of ECMAScript (when they can be avoided) and just focus on the good parts, which are just as good, if not superior, to just about any other language, in most cases.

Or at least that's my understanding of his position.

If the person has broadband you can find the function definitions online and also help forums where you can as "how can I do this in JS?"-MilesAhead (June 29, 2010, 11:03 PM)
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Along these same lines, I've been finding this site pretty useful:

But I have a background with ActionScript, which is based on ECMAScript, so I'm already somewhat familiar with a lot of JavaScript basics. The good thing about that site is I can do a search for what I'm trying to accomplish (or need to know how to use) and it will show results for JS, HTML, and CSS (and more). So sometimes I'll be looking for how to do something in JavaScript, when it's really something that should be done with CSS (and jQuery) so the results help me know what to do.

'Fraid most any online stuff is out.  Diana has dial-up, somewhere 'twixt 24K & 36K, not enough for any practical online lessonry.  We set her laptop up with Apache/PHP/MySQL so she could do her Web stuff, then she comes here - with insanely jealous husband - to do uploads & such.  If 'twere something I could download, burn to a CD, it'd prolly help, but not quite the same thing as having a book where you can make notes in the margin, highlight significant passages, and the like.  It's kinda hard to bookmark the pages on a CD so you can take up where last you stopped <chortle />.
Agree about the books ... that's why this topic  ;).

Problem with Crockford is his decisions as to what is good and what is bad .  Yes he does seem to approach the subject from a programmer's point of view - not necessarily the best approach for teaching someone w/o that training.  His good seems more along the line(s) of of a C/C++ programmer's thinking, not necessarily the same as a Web designer's thinking.

He definitely makes for an interesting read, but don't think I'd wish him on a relative novice in the field :).
(Once I saw part of the first video, I recalled him/his thinking.)

As mentioned, Diana is a fairly sharp cookie, not too many crumbles, but a programming maven she ain't, ya know?

Perhaps more to the point, while she seems to like video training, I've seen some of her HTML and PHP books:  kinda hard to read a page w/o being distracted by the margin notes and multi-color highlighting.

She learned PHP/MySQL from PHP: Developer's Cookbook and Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL , as well as the PHP docs she downloaded while here, so I'm looking for something on an equivalent level for JavaScript for her.

I can recommend as a good advanced/reference book:

And I am a huge fan of the Cookbook series as a way of finding example code:

But those are probably not the best books for actually LEARNING javascript from a non-programmer perspective.

Some beginner books that have high ratings on amazon:

For me, I LOVE the site HTMLdog for HTML and CSS.  The tutorials are short, sweet, but very useful and versatile. Another advantage is it lists all the commands (a very short set to be sure, compared to most languages) making it very useful regardless of how much you know of it already. I am looking for something like this for other languages. Anyone know of any - particularly for the tutorials?

I have gone through many tutorials and it always seems they jump from Hello World! to building a database with nothing in-between.  Then they always seem to jump to embedding and running your own video and implying you know everything there is to be taught about the language.  I KNOW I miss something along the way, but I never know what it is to ask for help.  Tutorials like HTMLdog and the old Adobe Photoshop tutorials that came with version 5 are the exception and I have learned a great deal going through them. As an aside, Adobe's tutorials were killer and took weeks to go through them.  But that was all my job was at the time and I did learn it!  Alas, I haven't kept up with the tool, so I am rusty, but I still can turn out a credible job for an amateur.

Back to the point, I have always found the "Bible" series useful for reference as long as you already know what you are doing.  For initial learning though, I have no suggestions other than trying to find tutorials such as those I mentioned.


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