February 27, 2009
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Javascript: The Good Parts

by Douglas Crockford

This spectacular little book argues that Javascript is not, in fact, a haphazard and sloppy little language for browsers. Crockford extracts a subset of Javascript that is both powerful and elegant, and shows how this fine little language can be used simply by ignoring a host of bad features that were tacked onto the core ideas. Javascript is not just a bag of hacks that happen to include some objects; it’s a fine and flexible object-oriented language.

Unlike most programming language books, this volume treats the reader as an adult, as a professional programmer familiar with the tools and concepts of programming. The contrast with typical language books is refreshing. Crockford assumes that you're familiar with other languages, which is to say he assumes you’ve got the equivalent of a decent undergraduate background. This lets him do more in 150 pages than many writers do in 500.

At times, the book is almost too concise, and I think many readers won’t fully grasp the details until they sit down and start working with code. But it has already transformed my approach to Javascript.