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10+ Best JavaScript Books to Read in 2020 (Beginner and Advanced)

Believe it or not, JavaScript is the most used programming language in the world. Probably the fact that it’s available on every system that runs a web browser has something to do with that. It is also the most accessible of the programming languages. Today, we look at the most popular, most comprehensive, and best JavaScript books in 2020.

Why learn JavaScript? Quite frankly, JavaScript is crucial in the realm of web development. Plus, its popularity has only been on the rise due to growing user bases of modern development frameworks.

In this post, we show you the best books to master not only pure JavaScript but also many of its most popular frameworks.

Best JavaScript books

Part 1: JavaScript for beginners

Best JavaScript books: JavaScript The Good Parts

“JavaScript: The Good Parts” by Douglas Crockford

JavaScript: The Good Parts provides a guide for beginners to start JavaScript development, and also explains how it is uniquely different from other programming languages. This book tackles important misconceptions about JavaScript and does a good job of explaining why JavaScript works in an unexpected way.

Though it was released in 2008, it is still relevant today if you want to understand the underlying way in which JavaScript works. While many issues highlighted in the book have eventually been corrected with the changes since ES6, significant parts of it still remain valid today.

Best JavaScript books: JavaScript The Definitive Guide

“JavaScript: The Definitive Guide” by David Flanagan

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is another good introduction to the world of JavaScript. This book, unlike the previous one, has been regularly updated. It is a comprehensive guide to concepts in JavaScript with over 700 pages in the 7th edition.

JavaScript has evolved since its early days, and how each browser processes it depends on the specific version. The book provides an overview of the changes in JavaScript over the years and shows you how to navigate them. This alone makes it one of the best JavaScript books to read in 2020.

Best JavaScript books: Learn JavaScript Visually

“Learn JavaScript Visually” by Ivelin Demirov

If you are new to JavaScript and you’re not looking for a detailed guide, you should give this book a try. Learn JavaScript Visually takes an innovative, visual approach that makes basic concepts easier to grasp for beginners. It is a fairly short book, making it a decent weekend read for someone getting started with JavaScript.

That being said, while this book is great for beginners looking to learn the basics, intermediate and advanced JavaScript developers would not have a lot to learn from this book.

Best JavaScript books: Eloquent JavaScript

“Eloquent JavaScript” by Marijn Haverbeke

Though there are two comprehensive books on JavaScript on this list already, we should give this one its spot as well. Eloquent JavaScript presents a good approach to learning JavaScript by putting focus on being efficient with your JavaScript code. This book also involves a good number of code examples for you to practice on.

While it provides a good start for a beginner, intermediate developers may also want to pick it up to learn how to approach JavaScript programming from a different angle.

Best JavaScript books: Smarter Way Learn JavaScript

“A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” by Mark Myers

A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript focuses primarily on retention by the reader rather than explaining all possible outcomes of a given feature. Each chapter is kept brief for the reader to focus on the most important things about a JavaScript concept.

This book caters to both beginners and experienced JavaScript developers due to its hands-on approach to programming with JavaScript.

Part 2: JavaScript frameworks

In the earlier section, we looked at a few books that discuss the core capabilities of JavaScript. However, the emergence of JavaScript frameworks over the last decade has enabled developers to use JavaScript for non-traditional tasks like back-end programming. In this section, we cover a handful of books that are specific to JavaScript frameworks.

Best JavaScript books: JavaScript And jQuery

“JavaScript & jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development” by Jon Duckett

jQuery is a popular JavaScript framework to make DOM traversal and manipulation easier. If you want to learn jQuery, or you are learning JavaScript and jQuery together – this book provides a good start to the journey.

The book is organized in a way to help you get started with the basics of jQuery fast. It is example-filled and has a good structure for someone who may already know JavaScript but would like to explore front-end development with jQuery as well.

ng-book Angular

“ng-book – A Complete Book on Angular” by Nathan Murray

Angular is a popular JavaScript front-end framework. While many developers start with the documentation, it may be a good idea to consider ng-book instead.

The book is a very comprehensive, complete guide to Angular. Many developers consider it the bible of Angular development, which makes it a good read for anyone who’s thinking about learning Angular to any capacity. For that reason, this certainly is one of the best JavaScript books for you to pick up in 2020.

Learning React Redux

“Learning React: Functional Web Development with React and Redux” by Alex Banks

While you may know how to code in JavaScript, React has a specific way of programming. You may need to rethink the way you approach designing your front-end applications to use it effectively.

Learning React: Functional Web Development with React and Redux is a great introduction to functional programming in general, and React in particular. This book also suits beginners looking to get into React development without going deeper into JavaScript concepts on their own.

Vuejs Up Running

“Vue.js: Up and Running: Building Accessible and Performant Web Apps” by Callum Macrae

Vue.js: Up and Running does a great job of introducing Vue-related concepts, before reinforcing these concepts through real-world use cases. It goes beyond the use of just Vue to ensure you get an end-to-end flavor of launching a web application by creating a basic back-end service through Laravel.

The book is a complete, comprehensive look at the development of a Vue web application. It’s a fairly long read that goes well into the details of Vue.js. However, you can take a modular approach by only reading through the relevant parts as well.

Node In Action

“NodeJS in Action” by Alex R. Young

Even though JavaScript was traditionally used as a front-end language, the emergence of NodeJS popularized its use for the back-end too.

NodeJS in Action helps you set up a web application that uses JavaScript both in the back-end and front-end. The authors have thoroughly revised the second edition of this book. The book also covers advanced NodeJS techniques such as command line applications and desktop applications.

Express In Action

“Express.js in Action” by Evan Hahn

Express.js is a lightweight framework in NodeJS. It emphasizes quick development of web applications.

Express.js in Action is a good example-based introduction to Express.js, which is beneficial to anyone who’s getting started with NodeJS and Express.js.

This book assumes that you have no experience with back-end development with JavaScript. Overall, it’s a fairly short read at around 250 pages, but does a good job of going into detail.

Getting Mean

“Getting MEAN with Mongo, Express, Angular, and Node” by Simon Holmes

The MEAN stack is a complete, end-to-end solution for web development. You can create your front-end application with Angular, manage the back-end with Express.js and NodeJS, and manage data through MongoDB. If you know some JavaScript and would like to explore the whole MEAN stack to create web applications, you should consider getting this book!

Getting MEAN with Mongo, Express, Angular, and Node uses real-life examples to teach you various concepts about the MEAN stack. It enables you to build a complete web application as you read through the book.

Visual Storytelling D3

“Visual Storytelling with D3” by Ritchie S. King King

D3.js lets you create powerful data-driven visualizations with JavaScript. In order to communicate effectively through data, it is imperative for you to create visually stunning graphics.

Visual Storytelling with D3 starts with an introduction to data visualization concepts. It explains how to tell a story, and goes into depth on SVG (scalable vector graphics), the backbone of D3.js. Then, it proceeds to explain various D3.js concepts and how you can bring your storytelling to life with D3’s features.

Final thoughts on the best JavaScript books in 2020

The web development landscape is constantly evolving. If you want to stay relevant, you must keep up with all this change.

Books generally do a great job of teaching complex topics – oftentimes a better job than other forms of media. If you have the patience to go through a full book, it is likely to give you the most complete picture of any given topic. In this list, we featured the best JavaScript books in 2020.

These books will help you gain thorough knowledge of JavaScript and its frameworks. In case you are overwhelmed by the list, start by picking an introductory book like Learn JavaScript Visually to get some nice progress quickly.

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