JavaScript, For Real

September 18, 2017

For better or for worse, I think JavaScript is a language that has a low entry point: it’s so ubiquitous on the web that there are enough code samples, libraries and frameworks to accomplish most tasks without having to write any original code. With a little cutting and pasting, one can achieve 90% of what they need.

But that’s not a good way to live. After reflecting on this bad habit and my admitted over-reliance on jQuery, and increasing curiosity about modern JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React, and runtimes like Node, I decided it was time to master vanilla JavaScript. The frameworks will come and go, but pure JavaScript is always in demand.

I purchased the book DOM Enlightenment, by Cody Lindley, and have been working my way through the exercises. I am almost finished. It’s a perfect companion to Designing with Web Standards, by Jeffrey Zeldman, as both books deal extensively with the structure of HTML and good, semantic markup.

I borrowed JavaScript Enlightenment, also by Cody Lindley, from my public library a couple months ago. That’s one that I’ll be adding to my collection soon. I think it was the first time that I truly, truly understood what a JavaScript object was. The whole book was about objects, actually. DOM Enlightenment is more about manipulating elements, changing the styles, doing the fun little things. The lessons learned from the two books go hand-in-hand.

Each book takes about 20 hours to read every chapter and try every exercise. As a result of finishing these books, I’ve become a wiser, more flexible front-end developer and can truly and confidently say that I “know JavaScript”. For one week’s worth of work, and $18 for each book (used copies), it was a great experience.