Stack OverflowGood JavaScript Books?
[+211] [26] user13200
[2008-09-16 17:36:53]
[ javascript books reference ]

I find myself using Javascript day to day without a solid understanding of the language. There are some great writeups out there about using specific features of the language, but I'd like a distilled, printed book reference about the language itself.

Please list good books that discuss the JavaScript language; not frameworks, usage and quirks.

(2) This should be reopened. Seriously this post is definitely constructive. Jeez SO - Aaron
(1) I have written a review/ comparison of 5 JavaScript books highlighting the weaknesses and strengths of every book. The best book about JavaScript depends on what you are looking to learn (familiarising with syntax/ function reference, exploring different patterns or solving particular issues, such as legacy browser support and DOM manipulation). It should help the reader to pick the best book about JavaScript for his intentions. - Gajus Kuizinas
How on earth this post is considered "not constructive" ? - ashy_32bit
I agree with @Aaron. Despite subjectivity, I find posts like this to be some of the most valuable ones on SO and I bet a lot of others would agree. SO should consider revising the guidelines. - John Lehmann
(1) It's not about being constructive, it's about being something that SO is not for: book questions. - markus-tharkun
[+141] [2008-09-16 17:40:45] Alan Storm

Douglas Crockford's recent JavaScript: The Good Parts [1] from O'Reilly is an excellent overview of the JavaScript language from a Computer Science/Programming point of view. How Objects/Inheritance works, what language constructs are available, how scope works, how closure works, etc.

It also highlights some features Crockford thinks are "Bad" and to be avoided. Whether or not you agree with him it's good background information to have.


(3) There's a Kindle copy of this available now. Even better. - Steve Rowe
(2) +1 I just got it. You're right that is a phenomenally good book - Kevin
watching crockford's videos will contribute to you just as much, maybe more. - Comptrol
(10) "The Good Parts" is a great book, but there's a couple reasons it shouldn't be your only JavaScript book. First, it doesn't cover browser APIs at all, rightfully so, since it's a book about the language itself (also Crockford considers the DOM APIs to be a "bad part"). Second, Crockford holds very strong opinions about JavaScript style, and thus this book is somewhat opinionated. I'd recommend "The Good Parts" as a supplement to "The Definitive Guide" by David Flanagan. - tlrobinson
[+97] [2008-09-16 17:38:27] Kevin [ACCEPTED]

The javascript book from o'reilly is great.

Javascript The Definitive guide [1]


(2) This is the one I ended getting. It was exactly what I wanted. - user13200
(3) Someone should edit this link, so that the name of the book becomes obvious. Currently it's encoded in URL. - Rene Saarsoo
[+86] [2008-09-16 17:48:46] Gern Blandston

I've found these two books to be universally embraced:

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide [1] by David Flanagan


JavaScript: The Good Parts [2] by Douglas Crockford

You might also be interested in viewing Crockford speak over at Yahoo Video:

Douglas Crockford: "Chapter 1: The Early Years" 1 of 8 [3]

Douglas Crockford: "Chapter 2: And Then There Was JavaScript" 2 of 8 [4]

Douglas Crockford: "Chapter 3: Function the Ultimate" 3 of 8 [5]

Douglas Crockford: "Chapter 4: The Metamorphosis of Ajax" 4 of 8 [6]

Douglas Crockford: "Chapter 5: The End of All Things" 5 of 8 [7]

Douglas Crockford: "Chapter 6: Loopage" 6 of 8 [8]

Douglas Crockford: "Chapter 7: ECMAScript 5: The New Parts" 7 of 8 [9]

Douglas Crockford: "Chapter 8: Programming Style and Your Brain" 8 of 8 [10]


How do The Definitive Guide and The Good parts differ in approach/style and language coverage? - Sam Hasler
Oo, Douglas Crockford recommends The Definitive Guide as the "least bad" JavasScript book in the first video - Sam Hasler
(6) Crockford has his opinions, and he can keep them. I don't know who died and proclaimed him God of JavaScript, but he sure thinks he is. Granted, the man knows JavaScript, but like anything, there are certainly things he believes that not everyone agrees on... - Jason Bunting
Sam: Douglas Crockford is the author of Javascript: The Good Parts. It was published in 2008, a year after these videos were recorded. - pix0r
(5) I must disagree with Jason, I've never gotten the impression Crockford thinks of himself in this way, I think he always clearly states when its a personal opinion, and never claims any false authority. I found the videos the perfect intro to the language for a c++/java programmer as myself trying to get a feel for the language. I was trying to understand a specific piece of code, and after seeing them, I now clearly do. Thx for the links. - Emile Vrijdags
Crockford has strong opinions, but he does fully explain and back each of them and I like it - Koka Chernov working video links here - Jamo
[+30] [2010-12-04 16:51:39] Trufa

Here is a list of all the recommendations (with at least one upvote):

You might also be interested in this videos:

Suggested by: Gern Blandston [21]

Videos now on: Thanks @jamo [22]


video links are currently dead... - Jamo
@Jamo thanks!!! - Trufa working links here - Jamo
Thanks, edited! Remember it's a community wiki, you can pitch in yourself at any point! - Trufa
[+25] [2008-09-16 18:28:58] squadette
[+13] [2008-09-16 21:33:31] Marijn

Not a paper-based book, but Eloquent JavaScript [1] fits the rest of your description -- and has a built-in JS console for immediate programming gratification.


Now this IS a paper based book after all - Zach L
I loved eloquent javascript.Not only it is very educative but its fun to read as well. - Akshat Jiwan Sharma
[+7] [2009-11-12 16:02:48] Bob

ppk on JavaScript [1] has to be the best JavaScript book I have read. This is from the guy that runs [2].

quirksmode book cover


[+6] [2008-09-16 20:41:52] user4010

Take a look at ECMA-262, the official specification for ECMAScript [1] (*cough* JavaScript) syntax, semantics, and core objects. Bear in mind it does not cover web-specific objects or interfaces (e.g. the DOM in its various forms), as these are outside of the language proper.

It has downsides:

  • It's not a printed document as you requested, unless you print it yourself.
  • It's verbose and not terribly well-written. For instance, many of the specifications are listed in algorithmic steps rather than described in prose (e.g. "1. Let x be the foo value; 2. Shift x by three bits to the left; ...").

[+5] [2008-09-16 17:40:01] Dana

I thought JavaScript: the Definitive Guide was a nice one.

[+5] [2008-09-16 17:42:54] talg

He's John Resig (without "n") - squadette
[+5] [2008-09-16 19:20:14] Don Cote

I found this book to be pretty good at getting to the core of the language:

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers [1]


(1) This is by far my favorite book on JavaScript, and perfect for folks who are using the language already but want a better understanding of it. I'd vote for it 5 times if I could. - Marcus
great book ,,, thanks - tito11
[+3] [2008-09-16 20:46:02] wookie

This is a really good book:

Object oriented javascript [1]


[+3] [2011-09-12 22:23:25] Bryan Menard

JavaScript Patterns [1]

enter image description here

JavaScript Patterns [2] is a good intermediate-advanced book. While this book hovers over some of the language features, it concentrates on how to implement common patterns, the JavaScript way. A must read for anybody serious about JavaScript.

This book is best read after Crockford's JavaScript: The Good Parts [3].


[+2] [2008-09-16 17:58:54] Novaktually

Javascript: The Good Parts [1]


[+1] [2009-06-26 04:41:36] Nosredna

JavaScript: The Missing Manual [1]

JavaScript: The Missing Manual

This one surprised me. It's great. Covers JavaScript and also jQuery. Very practical.


[+1] [2011-09-29 22:22:22] Grace Shao

Besides Crockford's The Good Parts [1], I like Nicholas Zakas' High Performance JavaScript [2].


[+1] [2011-12-03 04:50:57] xerophyte

You can find good books on javasscript at

[0] [2008-09-16 17:39:30] Chuck

Book: I like the Rhino book [1]

i know you asked for books but I love the sample code at Doc JavaScript


[0] [2008-09-16 17:42:50] Alejandro Bologna

Javascript: The definitive guide [1] explains the core JavaScript language in detail


[0] [2008-09-16 17:42:53] Rob Allen

For the most part, I am familiar with basic syntax or can look that up easily. It tends to be the properties and built-in functions I really struggle to find a good reference for. That's why I try to snag the O'Reilly Pocket reference for every language I have to work in. The JavaScript [1] one is particularly handy.


[0] [2008-09-16 17:51:48] catfood

JavaScript Pocket Reference by David Flanagan, published by O'Reilly. ISBN 0-596-00411-7.

[0] [2008-09-16 18:44:39] aekeus

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide


JavaScript: The Good Parts

[0] [2008-09-16 20:07:52] rand

Yahoo has a very good series of lectures on Javascript by Douglas Crockford —

The JavaScript Programming Language [1]


[0] [2008-09-17 03:14:01] ages944

I personally have the second edition, but this book was fantastic.

Beginning Javascript [1]


[0] [2011-03-28 11:17:51] chapagain
[-9] [2008-09-16 17:42:11] Vaibhav

w3Schools [1] has one of the simplest material.


(2) Theres some pretty confusing explanations on there too unfortunately - namely - Dr. Frankenstein
(13) Oh please, don't recommend W3Schools (which is not affiliated to the W3C): it contains lots of horrible examples, bad practices and simply incorrect statements. Use something more solid instead, like MDC. - Marcel Korpel
not at all its not even good for begginr - NullPointer
(2) W3fools is relavant here: - 18bytes
+1. even if it has many issues, it is good for beginners. - habeebperwad