JavaScript: The Good Parts
Unearthing the Excellence in JavaScript
Publisher: O'Reilly Media / Yahoo Press
Final Release Date: May 2008
Pages: 172

Most programming languages contain good and bad parts, but JavaScript has more than its share of the bad, having been developed and released in a hurry before it could be refined. This authoritative book scrapes away these bad features to reveal a subset of JavaScript that's more reliable, readable, and maintainable than the language as a whole—a subset you can use to create truly extensible and efficient code.

Considered the JavaScript expert by many people in the development community, author Douglas Crockford identifies the abundance of good ideas that make JavaScript an outstanding object-oriented programming language-ideas such as functions, loose typing, dynamic objects, and an expressive object literal notation. Unfortunately, these good ideas are mixed in with bad and downright awful ideas, like a programming model based on global variables.

When Java applets failed, JavaScript became the language of the Web by default, making its popularity almost completely independent of its qualities as a programming language. In JavaScript: The Good Parts, Crockford finally digs through the steaming pile of good intentions and blunders to give you a detailed look at all the genuinely elegant parts of JavaScript, including:

  • Syntax
  • Objects
  • Functions
  • Inheritance
  • Arrays
  • Regular expressions
  • Methods
  • Style
  • Beautiful features

The real beauty? As you move ahead with the subset of JavaScript that this book presents, you'll also sidestep the need to unlearn all the bad parts. Of course, if you want to find out more about the bad parts and how to use them badly, simply consult any other JavaScript book.

With JavaScript: The Good Parts, you'll discover a beautiful, elegant, lightweight and highly expressive language that lets you create effective code, whether you're managing object libraries or just trying to get Ajax to run fast. If you develop sites or applications for the Web, this book is an absolute must.

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oreillyJavaScript: The Good Parts
 
4.1

(based on 32 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (14)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

81%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Accurate (20)
  • Concise (20)
  • Well-written (15)
  • Easy to understand (13)
  • Helpful examples (13)

Cons

  • Difficult to understand (6)
  • Not comprehensive enough (4)

Best Uses

  • Intermediate (22)
  • Expert (16)
  • Novice (10)
  • Student (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Developer (22), Designer (3)

Reviewed by 32 customers

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2.0

Difficult to understand, repetetive

By tired_time

from Vilnius, Lithuania

About Me Developer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Competent Writter
  • Valuable Tips

Cons

  • Difficult to understand
  • Repetetive
  • Repetitive

Best Uses

  • Novice

Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

Author seems competent in programming, but not in pedagogy and expressing his thoughts understandably.

Chapter about grammar explains everything in grammar diagrams. This is just not how humans learn. Then there are chapters introducing some programming techniques many of which were new to me. Text and code in these is too concise and lacks something that lets you understand something you didn't know already. Usually I would read a chapter a couple of times, not understand it, google the chapter name, read a random blog about it and understand the concept then come back to the book and still find the chapter difficult to understand. Code examples include more complexity than is needed to explain the new concept, contain js grammar errors and are cluttered with comments that should be in the main text. They also use functions like slice that are only explained much later in the book.

There are many functions written in the book that make JavaScript easier to use. But it seems these functions should have been in some library then, not a book. So in the end it often seems like you are reading source code and usage tips of library that does not exist. It also means that code examples regularly use functions that were defined 40 pages ago and that also causes confusion. I did learn some interesting stuff from these examples though, but I think they are somewhat rarely usable.

The book gives some useful warnings about the strange stuff in the language. But then it repeats them 3 times. It also gives some tips about stuff not specific to js: curly braces, comments, etc. Those are repeated many times as well. Most programmers probably heard many opinions about such subjects already. The code he writes is not readable enough for me to give his opinion a lot of weight here. There is more unnecessary stuff hardly related to js. E.g. chapter on Regular Expressions.

I feel that I was to harsh here, in the end I did learn quite a lot, 2.3/5

 
4.0

Good book for JS enthusiasts

By neciu

from Warsaw, Poland

About Me Developer, Maker

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

  • Sometimes To Complicated

Best Uses

  • Intermediate

Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

The book pretty well explains the inners of JS. I've written few apps before reading the book and after lecture I know that I commited alot of errors.

 
5.0

Amazing

By Nikolay

from Ukraine

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

    Easy to read, easy to understand.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Excellent Primer for JS Developers

    By Gary Temme

    from NorthTustin, CA

    About Me Developer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

      This book does a great job covering the many areas of JavaScript that may not behave as expected for developers with backgrounds in other programming languages. Appendixes A and B are especially helpful in avoiding some of the major gotchas in JavaScript.
      Fast and Concise read. Great work.

       
      4.0

      Great reference

      By dpskvn

      from Croatia

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      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Expert
        • Intermediate

        Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

        I think that the worst part of this book (if you can call it that) is the fact that a lot of websites/resources/guides/books mention this title as a great introduction to JavaScript, something that this book simply isn't. It's a great re-introduction to JavaScript, one that you should read after developing a certain level of skill in JavaScript development. If you are just starting with JavaScript, pick another book, and then come back to this one, you won't regret it.

         
        4.0

        Don't blame the messenger

        By bgschaid

        from Austria, Europe

        About Me Developer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Concise

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Intermediate

          Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

          As I'm stumbling on JavaScript from time to time I wanted to have a look at the language without spending too much time on it.
          For that purpose it is a nice book (especially the brevity).
          That the language is horrible is not the fault of the book

           
          5.0

          Excellent Book Crockford Rocks

          By Jason Robertson

          from Melbourne Australia

          About Me Developer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Expert
            • Intermediate

            Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

            This is a well written to the point immediately useful book which is still relevant.

             
            5.0

            Every JS Developer should read this book

            By OldGeek

            from USA

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            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Concise
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Expert
              • Intermediate

              Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

              This book has rightfully become a classic, and may be one of the single most influential JS books around. It's well written and the content is excellent. It is dense, but in a good way.

              I agree it's not for beginners, but any intermediate or more advanced JS developer should read this book.

               
              5.0

              Very well compiled essence of JS

              By Csaba Toth

              from Fresno, CA

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Expert
                • Intermediate
                • Novice
                • Student

                Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

                I read a little bit of this book every morning and evening. It's a great book for those who start with JavaScript, it can save lots of hoops. This book is an art. It was easy to follow, very clear, it saves time.

                (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Very well compiled essence of JS

                By Csaba Toth

                from Fresno, CA

                About Me Developer

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Accurate
                • Concise
                • Easy to understand
                • Helpful examples
                • Short
                • Well-written

                Cons

                • Unnecessary Shakespeare Q

                Best Uses

                • Intermediate
                • Novice

                Comments about oreilly JavaScript: The Good Parts:

                In a busy life a of a developer it is very important to get information in a quick, well compiled, easy to understand way. This is very hard to achieve, but that book does an outstanding job in that. It's dense, but still contains the important things to know about JavaScript. Even more. (It was hard to think of any cons. Only thing: I skip the Shakespeare quotes in the beginning of the chapters to stay focused on the content. But I don't say that's it's bad.)

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