Best way to learn JavaScript?

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I got an email (a few weeks back - sorry - trying to keep up ;) from a developer who wants to use jQuery but doesn't really know JavaScript first. Having to learn how to walk before you run - I was curious as to what folks recommend for the best way to learn JavaScript? I'll list out a few options here and I'd love for my readers to comment on what they would recommend.

For me, I initially learned via documentation on Netscape's web site. That was back in 96 or so, but the developer network has come a long way since then. Oddly they list out the reference before the guide - I'd definitely start with the guide.

The other big help for me was the O'Reilly book JavaScript: The Definitive Guide. I have a few of the old editions on my bookshelf and will probably pick up this new 6th edition in PDF. You can find other good JavaScript-related ORA books as well.

Another book - although one that can at times be complex - is Object-Oriented JavaScript by Steven Stefanov. I reviewed that last year and made the point that it had quite a bit of good introductory material as well.

Another option are conferences. I had always assumed the jQuery conferences were for Ninjas only. (Ok, JavaScript Ninjas I mean.) And while the average technical level was quite high, the quality was excellent and I'd still recommend it for someone new. Just be prepared to take a lot of notes and ask questions. Of course, the excellent cfObjective that just ended also had multiple JavaScript sessions. I saw excellent ones from Ezra Parker and Elliot Sprehn that were both pretty darn enlightening.

Lastly - don't forget that all of this runs in a browser. If you've got a browser (and - um - you must) and a text editor that you have all the bare minimum tools you need. You may want to look at using Dreamweaver to help out - or the excellent Aptana editor as well.

Like most things - how you learn best is something you know. Books, online training, just playing, or a mix of all, figure out what works best for you and just make the time.

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a developer advocate for HERE Technologies. He focuses on JavaScript, serverless and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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