Learn ECMAScript Programming with Free Open-Source Books

ECMAScript Books

ECMAScript is an object‑oriented programming language for performing computations and manipulating computational objects within a host environment. The language was originally designed as a scripting language, but is now often used as a general purpose programming language.

ECMAScript is best known as the language embedded in web browsers but has also been widely adopted for server and embedded applications.

We have published a series covering the best open source programming books for other popular languages. Read them here.

Understanding ECMAScript 6

Understanding ECMAScript 6

By Nicholas C. Zakas (321 pages)

This book is a guide for the transition between ECMAScript 5 and 6. It is not specific to any JavaScript environment, so it is equally useful to web developers as it is Node.js developers. This book is targeted at intermediate-to-advanced JavaScript developers programming for a browser or Node.js environment who want to learn about the latest developments in the language.

Each of this book’s thirteen chapters covers a different aspect of ECMAScript 6. Readers learn about:

  • All of the changes to the language since ECMAScript 5
  • How the new class syntax relates to more familiar JavaScript concepts
  • Why iterators and generators are useful
  • How arrow functions are differ from regular functions
  • Additional options for storing data using sets, maps, and more
  • The power of inheriting from native types
  • Why people are so excited about promises for asynchronous programming
  • How modules will change the way you organize code

The book is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) license.

ES6 & Beyond

You Don’t Know JS (book series)

By Kyle Simpson (278 pages)

This book teaches you how to:

  • Learn new ES6 syntax that eases the pain points of common programming idioms
  • Organize code with iterators, generators, modules, and classes
  • Express async flow control with Promises combined with generators
  • Use collections to work more efficiently with data in structured ways
  • Leverage new API helpers, including Array, Object, Math, Number, and String
  • Extend your program’s capabilities through meta programming
  • Preview features likely coming to JS beyond ES6

ES6 & Beyond is part of a series of books examining the core mechanisms of JavaScript.

All books in the series are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

ECMAScript 2016 Language Specification

Standard ECMA-262 ECMAScript 2016 Language Specification

By Ecma International (586 pages)

This Standard defines the ECMAScript 2016 general purpose programming language.

The book is released under an open source license.


Here are good free-to-download ECMAScript programming books which are not released under an open source license.

JS.Next: A Manager’s Guide – by Aaron Frost
ECMAScript 6 Succinctly – by Matthew Duffield

Dr. Axel Rauschmayer has also written a series of excellent free-to-download ECMAScript books.


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