Javascript books

I just received two javascript books I recently ordered from Amazon (the US branch, for once, since the dirt cheap dollar made shipping across the Atlantic notably favourable to shipping across the English Channel): John Resig's Pro javascript techniques and Douglas Crockford's Javascript: the good parts.

I had for the longest time (since the nineties) been of the opinion that the only javascript book worth getting was David Flanagan's Javascript: the definitive guide, which I at the time found excellent in it's third edition and still good (and much updated) in its fourth (by my cursory looks and used for reference, at least), but as two of my favourite authors on the subject of javascript (the last being Dean Edwards, whose primarily means of expression on the subject, so far, at least, is terse, solid code) have been published since then, it was time to challenge that assumption. And I'm quite glad to say that both were up to par.

Pro javascript techniques really shows Resig's experience in library writing, and shares lots of useful input and practices, and provides an enjoyable and rather useful walk-through of the popular javascript libraries of its day, which manages to still be fairly relevant, in spite of the evolution they have seen since its publication. Much the same applies to the bits and details it shares on browsers and the tool-chain, but that is to be expected. (I am really looking forward to its successor, Secrets of the javascript ninja, much of which can already be read online.) Particularly enjoyably and usefully, he shows off strengths of each library without much fuss.

As for Crockford's Javascript: the good parts, it follows his usual seasoned narrative which has earned him nicknames such as "the Yoda of javascript", and keeps a close focus on the more timeless parts of the core language itself, devoid of all the clutter and temporally challenged aspects of the document and browser object models. It follows a clean-slate approach to describing the beautiful parts of the language most worth learning, while warning about the pitfalls of some of its worst warts, and is just as enlightening as the rest of Doug's work. It's something of a feel-good book for javascript buffs wanting to meditate over their use of the language -- or at least it is for myself.

Great companions for a season where the weather merits some good outdoors rather than indoors geekery. ;-)