Master JavaScript Programming with 18 Free Open-Source Books

JavaScript Books

This compilation focuses on the JavaScript language with 18 solid recommendations. There are books here for beginner, intermediate, and advanced programmers alike. All of the texts are released under an open source license.

JavaScript is possibly one of the easiest language to get up and running with. But to truly master the language requires a firm foundation of its intricacies. This compilation of books ticks all the boxes.

JavaScript is an interpreted, prototype-based, scripting computer programming language. It came to popular attention as a simple client-side scripting tool, interacting with the user using forms and controlling the web browser, and remains a front-end language for web applications.

JavaScript features dynamic types, it is weakly typed, supports the structured programming syntax from C, uses prototypes instead of classes for inheritance, and copies many names and naming conventions from Java. It also borrows design principles from Scheme and Self, as well as concepts and syntax idioms such as C-style procedural roots.

Books 1-10 are listed below. Books 11-18 are on the next page.

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

Eloquent JavaScript

Eloquent JavaScript

By Marijn Haverbeke (490 pages)

Eloquent JavaScript offers readers an illuminating introduction to the JavaScript programming language and programming in general.

Sections cover:

  • Introduction
  • Basic JavaScript: values, variables, and control flow
  • Functions – an introduction to code that a program can go through whenever it wants. They can play the role of pure functions, algorithms, indirections, abstractions, decisions, modules, continuations, data structures, and more
  • Data structures: Objects and Arrays – at the same time as solving a few simple problems, this chapter discusses arrays and objects, and examines some related techniques
  • Bugs and Error Handling – strict mode, testing, debugging, error propagation, exceptions are explored
  • Functional Programming – produces abstraction through clever ways of combining functions
  • Searching – goes through the solution to two problems, discussing some interesting algorithms and techniques along the way
  • The Document Object Model
  • Regular Expressions – a way to describe patterns in string data. They form a small, separate language that is part of JavaScript and many other languages and tools
  • Modularity – deals with the process of organizing programs
  • Regular Expressions – a language for describing patterns in strings. They form a small, separate language, which is embedded inside JavaScript (and in various other programming languages)
  • Web programming: A crash course – a quick, superficial introduction to the various elements that make the web work, and the way they relate to JavaScript
  • The Document-Object Model
  • Browser Events
  • HTTP requests

The book has been translated into Bulgarian, Portuguese, and Russian.

This version is licensed under a Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial license.

Up & Coming JS

You Don’t Know JS (book series)

By Kyle Simpson (Up & Going – 88 pages, Scope & Closures – 98 pages, this & Object Prototypes – 174 pages, Types & Grammar – 198 pages, Async & Performance – 296 pages, ES6 & Beyond – 278 pages)

This 6 book set gets to grips with the core mechanisms of JavaScript. Widely acclaimed, it’s a firm favorite with beginners and intermediate programmers.

Up & Going teaches you:

  • Essential programming building blocks, including operators, types, variables, conditionals, loops, and functions
  • JavaScript’s core mechanisms such as values, function closures, this, and prototypes
  • Overview of other books in the series, and learn why it’s important to understand all parts of JavaScript

Scope and Closures dives into trickier parts of the language.

  • Learn about scope, a set of rules to help JavaScript engines locate variables in your code
  • Go deeper into nested scope, a series of containers for variables and functions
  • Explore function- and block-based scope, “hoisting”, and the patterns and benefits of scope-based hiding
  • Discover how to use closures for synchronous and asynchronous tasks, including the creation of JavaScript libraries

this & Object Prototypes:

  • Explore how the this binding points to objects based on how the function is called
  • Look into the nature of JS objects and why you’d need to point to them
  • Learn how developers use the mixin pattern to fake classes in JS
  • Examine how JS’s prototype mechanism forms links between objects
  • Learn how to move from class/inheritance design to behavior delegation
  • Understand how the OLOO (objects-linked-to-other-objects) coding style naturally implements behavior delegation

Types & Grammar

  • Get acquainted with JavaScript’s seven types: null, undefined, boolean, number, string, object, and symbol
  • Understand why JavaSript’s unique array, string, and number characteristics may delight or confound you
  • Learn how natives provide object wrappers around primitive values
  • Dive into the coercion controversy—and learn why this feature is useful in many cases
  • Explore various nuances in JavaScript syntax, involving statements, expressions, and other features

Async & Performance

  • Explore old and new JavaScript methods for handling asynchronous programming
  • Understand how callbacks let third parties control your program’s execution
  • Address the “inversion of control” issue with JavaScript Promises
  • Use generators to express async flow in a sequential, synchronous-looking fashion
  • Tackle program-level performance with Web Workers, SIMD, and asm.js
  • Learn valuable resources and techniques for benchmarking and tuning your expressions and statements

ES6 & Beyond

  • 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

The 6 books are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

JavaScript Enlightenment

By Cody Lindley (141 pages)

JavaScript Enlightenment seeks to give an accurate JavaScript world-view through an examination of native JavaScript objects and supporting nuances: complex values, primitive values, scope, inheritance, the head object, etc. The book solidifies your understanding of the language.

  • Get a short and digestible summary of ECMA-262, Edition 3; the most widely implemented version of JavaScript to date
  • Examine the creation of JavaScript objects
  • Learn complex values, primitive values, scope, and inheritance
  • Understand the importance of the head object
  • Work with string, number, and Boolean objects and values
  • Discover how to use the null value and the built-in math object
  • Get into the details—beyond Mozilla’s reference guide for JavaScript 1.5

The book is targeted at advanced beginners or intermediate JavaScript developers who wish to solidify their understanding of the language through an in-depth look at JavaScript objects. The book also aims to reach the JavaScript library veteran who is ready to look behind the curtain. It is not an exhaustive reference guide to JavaScript.

The author confirms the first edition of the book is under an open source license.

Building Front-End Web Apps with Plain JavaScript

Building Front-End Web Apps with Plain JavaScript

By Gerd Wagner (222 pages)

Building Front-End Web Apps with Plain JavaScript is an in-depth tutorial.

Chapters cover:

  • Getting Started
  • More on JavaScript
  • Building a Minimal App with Plain JavaScript in Seven Steps
  • Integrity Constraints
  • Constraint Validation in a Plain JS Front-End App
  • Enumerations and Enumeration Attributes
  • Implementing Enumeration Attributes in a Plain JS App
  • Reference Properties and Unidirectional Associations
  • Implementing Unidirectional Functional Associations with Plain JavaScript
  • Implementing Unidirectional Non-Functional Associations with Plain JavaScript
  • Bidirectional Associations
  • Implementing Bidirectional Associations with Plain JavaScript
  • Part-Whole Associations
  • Subtyping and Inheritance
  • Subtyping in a Plain JavaScript Front-End App
  • The Model-Based Development Framework mODELcLASSjs
  • Constraint Validation with mODELcLASSjs

This book, along with any associated source code, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL).

Practical ES6

Practical ES6

By Nicolás Bevacqua (343 pages)

This practical book shows you how to build small, interconnected ES6 JavaScript modules that emphasize reusability. You’ll learn how to face a project with a modular mindset, and how to organize your applications into simple pieces that work well in isolation and can be combined to create a large, robust application.

This book focuses on two aspects of JavaScript development: modularity and ES6 features. You’ll learn how to tackle application development by following a scale-out approach. As pieces of your codebase grow too big, you can break them up into smaller modules.

Chapters cover:

  • ECMAScript and the Future of JavaScript
  • ES6 Essentials
  • Classes, Symbols, and Objects
  • Iteration and Flow Control
  • Leveraging ECMAScript Collections
  • Managing Property Access with Proxies
  • Built-in Improvements in ES6
  • JavaScript Modues
  • Practical Considerations

To unlock the HTML, readers have to give permission for Pony Foo to use their Twitter account. We urge the author removes this unnecessary distraction.

The book is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

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