JavaScript Books Review 2023

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Here is a list of best JavaScript books and my review. Not just printed books, but also online resources.

Xah JavaScript in Depth

First, here's mine.

JavaScript in Depth

I've written many programing language tutorials. This one, i'm most proud of. In correctness and in depth. (i'm more famous for my Xah Emacs Tutorial and Practical Emacs Lisp tutorial. )

JavaScript Definitive Guide (Rhino Book)

JavaScript books definitive guide vs good parts
JavaScript Definitive Guide vs JavaScript: the Good Parts [photo by J L Hamilton, . Used with permission.]

This is the most formal and correct JavaScript tutorial, and a comprehensive JavaScript reference.

How JavaScript Works, 2018, by Douglas Crockford

How JavaScript Works Crockford
[How JavaScript Works By Douglas Crockford. At Buy at amazon ]

Exploring JavaScript, 2018

exploring es6 5Jzzg-s250
[Exploring ES6 By Dr Axel Rauschmayer. At ]

He writes a series of books. Speaking JavaScript covers JavaScript basics, and a new thick book Exploring ES6 on ES2015, and little books on ES2016, and onwards.

Of all JavaScript book/references i've read for ES2015+, i like his best, because it's in depth.

Though, often too wordy, and takes lots time to read through.

It is best if you already have one year of JavaScript coding experience.

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, JavaScript Edition

This is not really a tutorial of JavaScript, but a high level understanding of computer program. It uses JavaScript to teach, and especially good for focusing on learning about functional programing with JavaScript.

Eloquent JavaScript

Eloquent JavaScript Marijn Haverbeke-s250
[Eloquent JavaScript, 3rd Edition: A Modern Introduction to Programming 3rd Edition By Marijn Haverbeke. At Buy at amazon ]

also available free at

This is for people who never programed before. And written in a elaborate story-telling style.

MDN (Mozilla) JavaScript Tutorial

Mozilla's JavaScript tutorials are wiki. Meaning, it's written by any user. It has versions since 2005 or so. The content changes over the decade, also the site has gone several re-organizations (with URL changing).

Mozilla's references on {HTML, CSS, DOM, JavaScript} are often the best. Usually, they have the most up-to-date info with respect to browsers, available nowhere else.

w3schools, tutorialpoint, javatpoint, etc

There are tremendous amount of JavaScript tutorials, typically the first page's search result. These are the worst. they are for beginners, on a how-to basis. Often misleading and incorrect.

They just present the most simple answers for most common case scenarios, for absolute beginners who don't know what they are doing.

Sometimes, these can help you find out what's the real basics on complex web tech, because professional programer's tutorials often have too many unnecessary jargons and pedantic.

JavaScript: the Good Parts, 2008 (OBSOLETE)

[JavaScript: the Good Parts By Douglas Crockford. At Buy at amazon ]

Outdated today.

Good book, old fashioned (it still uses Syntax Diagram of the 1990s), but is too short.

This book covers only JavaScript the language.

Bad part: No DOM coverage. DOM is actually the more complex part of web development. DOM is far more complex than whatever quirks JavaScript has.

Douglas Crockford is responsible for bringing JavaScript into the limelight as a respectable language. He is the inventor of JSON. [see JSON] Crockford is also famous for his JavaScript style validator at

Crockford is a old fashioned programer, as can be seen by his age. He is also adamant about his style and opinions. He is, anti-trends and fashion. Older programers often have seen it all, current thinking come and went. I pay attention to what he says.

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers, 2012 (OBSOLETE)

This is outdated today. There's a new edition, but by different author.

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers By Nicholas C Zakas
[Professional JavaScript for Web Developers By Nicholas C Zakas. At Buy at amazon ]

This is a excellent book.

Good: for more experienced frontend wed dev who are familiar with “design patterns”. Covers both JavaScript and DOM.

This book takes design patterns approach. Also, the book uses terms such as “references” to explain JavaScript concepts, even though JavaScript the language does not really expose that concept.

see JavaScript, Design Patterns Approach to Computer Language Tutorials

Because of the Design Patterns approach, i really dislike this book, however, it has solid material, covering both the language and DOM completely.

Nicholas C Zakas was a lead developer at Yahoo.