Home » Blog » Web Design and Development » Top 7 Best JavaScript Books: Highest Rated Books on JavaScript (2020 Reviews)

Top 7 Best JavaScript Books: Highest Rated Books on JavaScript (2020 Reviews)

  • by

best javascript books

For those who have been involved in creating content online, HTML and CSS are skills that many will have developed. However, there are numerous advantages to expanding your digital skill set beyond knowledge of markup language and style sheets. One skill that is highly sought after in today’s market is JavaScript. If you already know HTML and CSS, learning JavaScript will allow you to call yourself a front-end developer and begin landing higher-paying programming jobs. There are plenty of resources available for understanding JavaScript, but how does one go about finding the most authoritative and effective learning methods for this sometimes complex programming language? With this in mind, I asked professional programmers what their favorite JavaScript books are. Without further ado, here are the Top 7 Best Javascript Books Recommended by the Pros in 2020, with reviews from the experts:

7. Effective JavaScript: 68 Specific Ways to Harness the Power of JavaScript by David Herman

effective javascript david hermanThe final JavaScript book I use each year is David Herman’s Effective JavaScript. I like this book because he also dives into how to use JavaScript by explaining the syntax in an easy, approachable manner. He covers common language constructs, like how variables and functions work, and why they work differently than other C based languages. Before he dives into teaching the language, he covers different aspects of it that might trip up a new JavaScript developer coming from another language.

I appreciate the chapter on library and API design. This is something I do on a regular basis. The guidelines he shares still serve as my model for how I design my own applications. Since applications are really a collection of libraries and patterns, it is important to understand how to craft your code to be as efficient and maintainable as possible. Herman’s guidelines will give you a common foundation for building small and large applications. I can testify. I have built 100s over the past decade.

chris loveChris Love
Founder
Love2Dev

6. Maintainable JavaScript by Nicholas Zakas

maintainable javascript nicholas zakasZakas has proven he is one of the many treasures in the development space because he not only understands complex topics, but can explain them in an approachable manner so even new developers can gain understanding without discomfort.

He writes the book from the experience of working on teams at Yahoo in the early 2000s, when JavaScript was in its infancy. Much like Crockford what Zakas shares is based on experience.

The book serves as a best practices guide for individuals and teams to organize not only how you write JavaScript, but how you manage the code. The book is worth the purchase just for the Style Guide, Programming Practices, and File and Directory Structure sections.

The style guide is about how to lay the code out in your files so it is readable and easily understandable by everyone involved. If you have ever worked in a team, having consistent patterns matters. Zakas shares a collection of patterns and syntax best practices that every team should embrace. These guidelines serve as the basis for modern linters we often use in our tools today.

The programming practices section demonstrates how to write robust code consistently. For example, there is an entire chapter on throwing errors, an important task I see ignored in almost 100% of the applications I inherit.

The Directory Structure chapter contains the guidelines I still follow today. It is a clean, simple way to organize your code so you can access modules and methods quickly and easily. Today I see this principle ignored, leading to massive code bases that produce sloppy, slow code.

Chris Love
Founder
Love2Dev

5. You Don’t Know JS by Kyle Simpson

you dont know javascript kyle simpsonThe You Don’t Know JS books are an opinionated deep dive into JavaScript, explicitly formulated as a counterpoint to Crockford’s JavaScript: The Good Parts (see the Preface). Like Eloquent JavaScript and others, the YDKJavaScript books start with a general explanation of programming, but they go much deeper into just about every topic, leaving no stone unturned. This makes for a longer and more careful book – not for dabblers, but for professionals seeking clarity and arcane knowledge about the language we use every day.

Along the way, Simpson argues convincingly against patterns like JavaScript’s “classes” (syntactic sugar that obscures the underlying prototypes) and universal arrow functions (illustrating their complications with this tongue-in-cheek flow chart). Whether or not you agree with his conclusions, Simpson obviously knows his stuff, and after reading and grokking his books, you will too.

aaron yoshitakeAaron Yoshitake
Founder and Developer
Pick a Kit

4. Eloquent JavaScript, 3rd Edition: A Modern Introduction to Programming
by Marijn Haverbeke

eloquent javascript marijn haverbekeEntertaining, thorough, and wide-ranging, Eloquent JavaScript is perfect as an introduction to JavaScript and to programming in general. Haverbeke uses analogies and simple language (or as simple as possible) to explain the basics of programming in general and JavaScript specifically.

The online version takes full advantage of the medium, notably with code examples you can edit and run very easily: just click any code, type, and hit Ctrl+Enter or Cmd+Enter to run (or to render, if the code is HTML). Every paragraph is linkable for easy reference, and each chapter has exercises at its end, with pre-written tests, hints, and solutions. Best of all for puzzle lovers, the exercises range from trivial to very challenging, so that even I need the hints and solutions for some (like the last RegExp exercise).

Aaron Yoshitake
Founder and Developer
Pick a Kit

One shout out goes to Eloquent JavaScript which is currently on its third edition. With an engaging tone and strong examples, Eloquent JavaScript finds a good balance of syntax, programming fundamentals, theory, and best practices.

Sara Rose Gallagher
Senior Curriculum Developer
Codecademy

If you already know JavaScript, this book is a great reference. This book is broken down into sections and then each section is broken down even further. Each part reads like the chosen answer on Stackoverflow with an example and an explanation.

Shayne Sherman
CEO
TechLoris

3. JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Activate Your Web Pages by David Flanagan

javascript definitive guide david flanaganThis comprehensive book by David Flanagan is a great choice for programmers of all skill levels. The 1000+ page book is perfect for beginners, as it encompasses all aspects of JavaScript, from introductory to more advanced techniques. Even for experienced programmers, this book serves as a JavaScript Bible of sorts and it’s a great reference to have at any stage of your programming career.

For those interested in building powerful web-applications from start to finish, this book is a great choice. It also features practical examples in every chapter, which helps make even the more complex content easier to follow. Although this book is now 9 years old, many agree that it’s one of those cornerstone books that helped teach a generation of JavaScript programmers.

jovan milenkovicJovan Milenkovic
Co-founder
KommandoTech

Another good book that provides a more comprehensive and exhaustive introduction to JavaScript is JavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan and published by O’reilly press. It gets updated on a fairly regular basis to cover new additions to the language and JavaScript Programming practices. It is definitely a JavaScript tome that every serious front-end developer would have read at one point in time and would have a dog eared version of in their libraries.

Bryan Osima
CEO
Uvietech Software Solutions Inc.

2. JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

javascript the good parts douglas crockfordAfter struggling to grasp JavaScript concepts when compared to C#, which at the time was my primary language, I stepped back and read Crockford’s book at least 3 times in one week. Suddenly the fog surrounding strange JavaScript concepts was lifted and it was now easier to write than C#!

This book should be in every nodeJavaScript and web developers Kindle shelf. Even a decade later I still reference this book a few times a year. The magic of this book is that Crockford does not just ‘lecture’ concepts, but illustrates how learning these concepts affected his team on a large JavaScript project in the mid-2000s. That was a time before libraries like jQuery so they were truly pioneering how to tame the language.

Of course, there are many quirks in JavaScript if you come from a C based language, like C# or Java. Crockford will address many of these quirks so you understand why the language behaves the way it does and before you know it you realize just how special the language is.

Because the book is not long it is a book you can consume in an hour or so each night over a week or two. You can stop and try the techniques yourself and give yourself confidence to write properly structured JavaScript. The knowledge and best practices he shares will help you write sound stable code.

Chris Love
Founder
Love2Dev

I highly recommend the book JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford. JavaScript is a quirky language and has garnered a bad reputation in some corners. This book does a great job of teaching the language in a way that highlights its power and flexibility. I definitely credit this book with leading me towards my love of the language.

Sara Rose Gallagher
Senior Curriculum Developer
Codecademy

There are many reasons why I think JavaScript: The Good Parts is a great JavaScript book. Some of those are: It’s not too long. At just 176 pages it gets to the point and provides the gist of everything a JavaScript developer would need to know to begin a programming journey with that language.

There are no unnecessary words or fluff just to fill up space and increase the page count and tons of relevant code examples are provided.

Most importantly though, the author really goes deep and exposes the idiosyncrasies that are peculiar to JavaScript, which for programmers, who might be coming from other Object-Oriented programming languages, would find surprising.

He also exposes potential pitfalls and weaknesses inherent in the languages and provides methods, design patterns, and tools to avoid those in order to write the most performant and secure code.

Of course, the book was written in 2008 and languages evolve over time. New features get added and some patterns change. JavaScript is no exception. New features and constructs of the language have been added and continue to be added, but at its core, the book is still a great introduction to JavaScript and how to think in JavaScript.

bryan osimaBryan Osima
CEO
Uvietech Software Solutions Inc.

My recommendation is JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford. It really focuses on the basics of some of the lesser known, yet desirable aspects of JavaScript. It gives a new coder a leg up on experienced professionals.

I first read the original of this book and have made sure I have read every revised and updated version, as it is my idea of the programming bible. When I first read this book, JavaScript was a newborn programming language. The newest version of this book tracks the history of JavaScript development as well as its features going commercial. A programming book under 200 words is almost unheard of, but this book is comprehensive yet concise.

brett downesBrett Downes
Head of SEO
Studio 54

1. JavaScript and JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development by Jon Duckett

javascript and jquery jon duckettIf you don’t know JavaScript, this is a great place to start. Jon Duckett’s book is very visual, breaking down complex aspects of JavaScript and JQuery and making it simple to understand. This simplification of individual parts, paired with his “putting it all together” sections, really help the novice developer grasp the concepts.

shayne shermanShayne Sherman
CEO
TechLoris

JavaScript programming, while sometimes intimidating, can be made easier with help from the right learning resources. Professional programmers can point you to the books that were the most helpful for them in mounting the challenge of Javascript mastery. The books in this list were recommended because they provided the best pathway toward expertise. To begin your journey toward front-end development, pick up a few of these books today.