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Murach’s JavaScript, 2nd Edition
Author(s): Mary Delamater
Published: 2015
ISBN-10: 1890774855
ISBN-13: 978-1890774851
630 pages

Publisher (more . . .):   Murach





 Five out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: January, 2016
  Reviewer: Chris Wallace
  Provides the JavaScript skills you need, in a comprehensive and thoughtful manner.

I have always been impressed by the quality of the books from Mike Murach's publishing company - this book, Murach’s JavaScript by Mary Delamater, is no exception. It is well written with a thoughtful approach and that famous paired-page layout of all Murach books - yes, I know, I need to say that about each of the Murach books (because it's so good)!

Here you can learn JavaScript by covering the essential parts of the language that web developers need. It may also be used as a reference as you build skills over time; however, its best qualities are brought to those being introduced to JavaScript. This book does not forget that you are learning on your own, as it assists you with a clear and easy to follow program to come up to speed. You don't need a previous knowledge of JavaScript before starting this book, all the basics you need are covered. Some advanced skills are also included, as they build upon those basic essentials. The book breaks down the learning effort from beginner, core, to advanced, so it is easy to progress without being confused.

This covers client-side, browser based JavaScript without complicating the learning curve with too many of the various libraries available. Server-side JavaScript (like Node.js) is not covered and that is appropriate for this book.

You can see where JavaScript fits within HTML and CSS without going into too much detail, better left for those specific books (also from Murach). You need to know a little about HTML and CSS, but don't worry about getting too deep in the woods with it, some introductory points are included in the book, if you need it. You can hit the ground running by just skimming those parts which are informative, but you will want to stick with learning the new skills of JavaScript, since that is why you are reading this book.

Excellent and complete code examples are provided throughout the book to help you learn JavaScript along with HTML and CSS. Here you will clearly learn the how and why things work the way they do in hands-on exercises. The free software tools you need to work these exercises are provided via download along with solutions for you to compare. The review questions at the end of each chapter help you point to the most important areas of knowledge covered.

As with all of Murach’s books (and as I have written before), this one uses their paired-page format. Here a narrative on the left of each pair of pages is coupled with the corresponding code example for you to easily follow on the right. This should be trademarked by Murach. It works so well, that I wonder why other publishers don’t do it. Writing this way is more difficult than you might at first think. The writer needs to be judicious with their words and thoughts while crafting the topic being taught in bite size segments. At the same time the words need to be paired with the code on the right side. The reader gets this advantage without even thinking about or realizing it. This makes it easy to use each paired-page set as a reference later on for that material. For the printed book, larger than usual page size, paper quality, and type face makes it easy to read as you bounce from the written word to your execution of the exercises. An ebook is also available.

Don't be confused by the title of "2nd Edition." The first edition was a similar book titled JavaScript and jQuery. With this 2nd Edition, JQuery has been expanded into its own separate book, also boasting a 2nd Edition. Read JavaScript first and then JQuery to fit the pieces together properly. There is one chapter dedicated to JQuery in this book just to get you to recognize that there is always one more thing to learn about and why. An ebook is also available.

I have several books on JavaScript, but the best one is this one. The text, examples, descriptions, and even the layout all bring you, the learner, an ease of use that is missing in other books.

I highly recommend this book, particularly for beginners through intermediate learners.
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