Yet another JavaScript book?

For the next 15 weeks, a new learning video every week.

Eric Freeman and I are writing a new book: Head First JavaScript Programming, and to go along with it, we’re creating a series of teaser videos to give you a taste of what’s coming in the book, and a chance to learn a few JavaScript tidbits.

Why undertake writing a JavaScript book now? After all, isn’t there already a Head First JavaScript book (not to mention all the many other JavaScript books on the market)? Well, to make a long story short, when we published Head First HTML5 Programming, a book that teaches you how to use all the new HTML5 APIs (with JavaScript, of course), we discovered something: a lot of folks know a little JavaScript, but really want to understand it at a deeper level. They want to go beyond just simple scripting. To remedy that, we ended up taking a month to write a brief introduction to JavaScript in our Head First HTML5 Programming book, but it wasn’t enough. Readers needed more.

So, the only thing to do from there was to do a book-length treatment, in classic Head First brain-friendly style: Head First JavaScript Programming. But what about the other Head First JavaScript book? Well, with all due respect to that book, we found it wasn’t working for our readers and so we’ve rolled up our sleeves to create another one (to replace the existing book).

Why are we so interested in JavaScript?

Is it all those great new HTML5 APIs that have us so excited about JavaScript? Well, yes and no. Of course the new APIs give us a way to create browser experiences that are much closer to apps than pages, and if you want to take advantage of that, JavaScript is the only game in town. But for us, it is also a love for the language itself. Despite JavaScript’s reputation as a mere scripting language, JavaScript is actually quite deep. Buried in the language is a powerful object-oriented model, and modern programming constructs like first-class functions and closures. JavaScript has this interesting quality that it’s easy to wade into the kiddie end of the pool, but you can swim out to deep water as far as you like.

The other exciting thing about JavaScript is that it’s branching out to work way beyond the browser. Node.js is probably the best example: pure server-side programming done within a JavaScript-style framework. And you’ll find JavaScript lots of other places as well: creativity and music apps, mobile apps, and even spreadsheets are getting in on the JavaScript game.

Now we do believe the browser is one of the best places to learn JavaScript because all it takes to get started is an editor and a browser. And, you’ll get instant gratification for all your hard learning by seeing and testing your work in the browser.

Oh, back to the book

We’re trying to innovate with this book too, first by making a set of teaser videos as we write the book (this is the first one) to tease out material that teaches those little hidden tidbits of JavaScript—bite size videos you can quickly consume to learn something new.

Given the book won’t be done until this summer, we’ve also created a way for you to participate in the book as we write it. Right now we’ve got over 100 people reading chapters as we write them, giving feedback and participating in a community of amazing people who are helping each other to learn JavaScript. People who’ve never programmed before, programmers who are new to JavaScript, and even a few JavaScript experts! Everyone participating is helping to make this a better book. If you’re interested in participating, check out http://wickedlysmart.com/jssignup.

A JavaScript Teaser every week!

So look to this space over the next 15 weeks, and we’ll roll out a video a week with a teaser from Head First JavaScript Programming.

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