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Good reference book for complete novice.

Hello all,
I had a look through the FAQ and searched this forum before posting. The closest I came to an answer was this post by Dr J R Stockton from 2006. But as he/she said, the answer depends on one's experience and the application. The post is also a couple of years old so new books might have come out or Javascript developed beyond the scope of the reference materials of that time.

So, are there any recommended books for a complete novice who needs to learn Javascript (abrv JS from here).

Here's a little background about me and the applications.

A home cinema installer based in England. No experience with HTML beyond using the wysiwyg web site design tools Frontpage and NetObjects Fusion 9 to produce some basic static sites for intranet use. (So far it's going well, isn't it ;-) )
I use a brand of system remote control called Pronto. These remotes use JS to provide interactive communication between the remote and the various pieces of enabled AV equipment. The sort of things displayed would be thumbnail images and contents lists from a media server, the volume and input settings of an AV amp, radio station name/frequency, temperature control settings from a room 'stat, etc.

The manufacturer provides what is probably very good support documentation, but it's written by programmers, for programmers. It assumes a level of familiarity with JS that I just don't have. For example, in the first couple of pages:

The following examples tell you almost everything there is to know about variables in javascript:
var a = 10; // declare a and assign integer value 10
b = "Hello, world!"; // declare b and assign a string
// (var is added implicitly)
b = 5; // JavaScript is untyped: b is converted
// automatically to hold an integer.

Huh? That might as well be written in Swahili for all the sense it makes to me!

ProntScript is based on JS 1.6, and the Philips guys do recommend David Flanagan's "Javascript, the Definitive Guide, 5 th edition" published with O'Reilly. Amazon reviews suggest this isn't a beginners book. I don't know if "Dummys" really covers everything I'll need.

I know I'm probably asking the impossible, but what I'm looking for is a book starts by laying the foundations in a really clear, non-technospeak way. It should then go on to build up confidence with the language by using lots of practical examples. Does anyone have a recommendation?

Thanks in anticipation

Nov 27 '08 #1
3 1166
16,027 Expert Mod 8TB
The book you mention is the one I would recommend. I'm not sure of any that are for complete novices and are good. What I can suggest is the W3Schools JavaScript tutorial which should help you get to grips with JavaScript and programming in general, then you can move onto more advanced tutorials/books.

Hope that helps.
Nov 27 '08 #2
5,390 Expert Mod 4TB
one of the better books on JavaScript is:

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Paperback) by Nicholas C. Zakas

that i could recommend ... may be you could have a look at a book before buying it ... because sometimes it is very different what people find a 'good' book. Often it depends on the expressive language the author used or the kind of examples or whatever ... for me the mentioned one is one of the best JavaScript Books ... but for others it might be not that good ... the same goes for the Flanagan book ... but seen objective ... those books cover most of the language and you might learn the 'secrets' and tricks from them :) ... and you don't just learn the basics that are not enough for really good JavaScript code ... in case you want to 'know' JavaScript you need more then basics, webtutorials or something like that, but they may help you to understand the basics you need for the mentioned books :)

kind regards
Nov 28 '08 #3
Thank you both for your help.

I've had a look at the web tutorials. That is a very useful link and probably the best place for me to start. I'll take the advice to go look at both recommended books to see which suits my needs best.

Many thanks

Dec 1 '08 #4

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