JavaScript: The Good Parts

Reviewed by Major Keary

Shelley Powers, in Learning JavaScript, describes JavaScript as two languages in one: "the first is a friendly, easy-to-use scripting language built into web browsers and other applications, offering a range of functions such as form validation and … drop-down menus … the second … is a mature, full-featured, carefully constrained, object-based language, which does require more in-depth understanding". Douglas Crockford's JavaScript: The Good Parts deals with the second of those and aims at, as the subtitle suggests, Unearthing the Excellence in JavaScript .

"It is intended for programmers who … are venturing into JavaScript for the first time. It is also intended for programmers who have been working with JavaScript at a novice level and are now ready for a more sophisticated relationship with the language".

For a text on programming the book is short (153 pages), but packs in an extraordinary amount of information. One technique used to achieve that is the use of railroad diagrams, a clever innovation. Also, the author does not describe the umpteen possible ways of doing something, but describes in detail a method that he has found to work.

Programmers who are used to C-based languages may find JavaScript perplexing. JavaScript: The Good Parts addresses in depth those aspects that are likely to cause confusion, and how to come to terms with them.

Douglas Crockford is an outstanding technical communicator. His writing is not only lucid, it is a pleasure to read. This is a well-organised text, well supported by example code (available for download at a companion website) and diagrams. O'Reilly has done an excellent job of typographic design.

Douglas Crockford: JavaScript: The Good Parts
ISBN 878-0-596-51774-8
Published by O'Reilly, 153 pp., RRP AU$ 65.00

The Australian distributor is Woodslane <>


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