Javascript: The Good Parts

Who Wrote It?

When I first heard Douglas Crockford was writing Javascript: The Good Parts (let’s just call it JTGP from here on out) I was anxiously awaiting the release. Crockford has been responsible for many highly regarded articles and presentations, as well as for his incredible work with JSON, JSLint and much more. While Brendan Eich may be the father of Javascript, Crockford is probably the Godfather. Even Eich himself called Crockford “the Yoda of Lambda JavaScript programming.”

What’s Covered?

JTGP does as promised…it brings to attention the best parts of the Javascript language. Topics like Objects, Inheritance, Arrays, Functions and Regular expressions are discussed throughout the book. While focusing on the “good parts” of Javascript, Crockford also points out the not-so good parts and explains why these other parts don’t fall into the good category by pointing out caveats and pitfalls.

I’ve seen it mentioned before that people complained about the book being a bit short. It weighs in at a very light 145 pages, 45 of which are appendixes. The information is quite dense however, and I thought the appendixes were extremely valuable. The appendixes include looks at what Crockford considers to be the “awful parts” and the “bad parts” of Javascript. They also include looks at JSLint and JSON as well as providing some helpful syntax diagrams.

Should I Read It?

As mentioned before, the book is short, but very dense. As a result, there is a lot of information covered, but not always a lot of explanation involved. The book seems to take a bit of a different approach than the typical Javascript book…it’s more focused on why than it is on how.

That is not at all a bad thing though. Assuming you have a nice handle on the language and it’s syntax, there is a lot to get out of reading this book. In fact, there is so much information crammed in here that it will probably take several readings to truly grasp all the information being delivered. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because it is short it is an easy-read…this book covers advanced information and does so at a very rapid pace.

The Final Verdict

JTGP is a great book for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the why behind the how. I would recommend it to anyone, though I would warn that you’ll want to have a decent understanding of the syntax before reading it…since the book focuses so much on why, there’s not a lot of explanation on how things work, and to get all that this book has to offer, you’ll want to know that. Overall, a very good book that is good enough to demand several readings.

Great…Where Do I Get a Copy?