Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog

Book Review: Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja

Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

JavaScript Ninja-MEAP PreviewRecently, I finished reading full-length chapter previews of a new book that is being written for Manning Publications (MEAP-Manning Early Access Program) by John Resig and Bear Bibeault entitled Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja. As part of the MEAP, this book is not yet complete, but has been in progress for almost four years and is expected to be finished later this year.

I purchased this book a while back as I have been getting more and more into JavaScript programming thanks to doing a lot of web UI with JQuery as well as using Titanium, which uses JavaScript as a primary language, and I am/was a novice in the ways of JavaScript. Before reading this book, my primary knowledge of JavaScript had been looking at other small samples and APIs to figure out how to make things work--I was no means an expert on the language. This book is certainly not for developers with no JavaScript experience as it does not cover basic JavaScript APIs or objects. With that in mind, I would like to discuss what I liked and did not like about the book.

What I Liked

I found this book to be very easy to read and friendly to the reader. The writers did not drone on about subjects, and often the book was written in a friendly, mentorish tone which really helped in its readability. The different topics covered really helped to take some major concepts of the JavaScript language and open them up to the reader, explaining in great detail the intricacies of things like Closures, Timers, and Objects within the JavaScript language. Beyond the major points of the language, the book did a good job of discussing topics that a web developer needs to keep in mind when dealing with multiple browsers, as well as how to write your code to make sure to take things into account for future additions to the language or changes to browser. I really liked how much detail was provided for the major language feature sections (within Chapters 3-7)-- the examples provided in these chapters really helped provide an deeper understanding of the power behind JavaScript. I think that this book will be a great reference as I keep working with JavaScript and experimenting with the major functionalities held within.

What I Didn’t Like

Although I enjoyed the majority of the book, there were a few items that left me a bit unenthused. Probably the worst offender, though not "bad" by any means, were some of the examples used. There were a few instances throughout the book where the authors utilized more complex code examples, and I felt like these examples illustrated the points they were inserted for but were not effectively explained in depth--I wound up confused when trying to walk through them. I also didn’t really like was how the book tended to cover out of date browsers. But with the fast moving world of web browsers today, I can understand now being up to the minute is a challenge, but the browsers that are discussed are a bit too out of date to pass.

Although this book is still in progress, I think that it is a worthwhile read to start improving your JavaScript. It has some rough edges, and is not meant for beginning JavaScript developers, but the expansive content and examples are well worth the read.

-Adam Swift, 5AM Solutions

Tags: JavaScript, JQuery, Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja, Manning Early Access Program, JavaScript programming, Titanium

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