REVIEW: Effective JavaScript

“It very well may be the best JavaScript book ever written…read it!”

There was a moment where I considered making that sentence the content for this entire post, and then just publishing it and moving on in an attempt to drive home how nothing more needs to be said about how brilliant this book is.

But I guess I have to embellish…written by Dave Herman from Mozilla, Effective JavaScript is not a book with a lot of tutorials or explanations of a particular library or framework. This is a book that takes 68 specific concepts of the JavaScript language and explains them in depth, and with amazing clarity.

For example: Item 6 clarifies one of the more contentious JavaScript subjects: semicolon placement and insertion. It analyzes how they do (and don’t) work in JavaScript…how adding them in some code spots can prevent errors and how adding them in other spots can screw the code up.

Chapter 3 contains 12 excellent items covering functions. Commonly complex subjects like call and apply are fleshed out really REALLY well.

For me personally, the sixth chapter on “Library and API Design” was worth the price of the book alone and I’ve publicly said so. The day I learned the intricacies of what it takes to create jQuery-like chainable, configurable methods was a good day in my house.

Also for me personally, parts I already understood were fleshed out. Prototypes, JavaScript’s inheritance paradigm, are something that I study constantly, but I still learned some new tips and tricks for implementing them.

And that’s the point: you will come across concepts that you’ve already read about when reading Effective JavaScript. Commonly recommended books like JavaScript: The Good Parts and JavaScript Patterns have covered lots of the material discussed in Effective.

But Effective takes that material, along with many other popular JS concepts, and teaches you things you never knew about them. No matter how much you know about JS, you will learn something new after reading this book.

Effective JavaScript is not a beginner’s book and assumes you understand variables functions, objects and arrays. Having a basic understanding of how to use all those things in a function is assumed as well.

If you understand all those things, you want to read Effective JavaScript sooner than later. You may have read the both The Good Parts and Patterns as well (and you should at some point), but if you’re an intermediate JavaScript developer, Effective JavaScript will change your life.

That is all.


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