Simply JavaScript: Book of bliss for beginners

4 July 2007


A Blue Perspective: Simply JavaScript: Book of bliss for beginners

YAJB – Yet Another JavaScript Book. That's what you're thinking right now. And I don't blame you. JavaScript (codename: Ajax) has been the flavour of the month for over a calendar year. We've got Definitive Guides, Beginner's Guides, Bibles, JavaScript for Professionals, JavaScript for Dummies, and even books about tangentially associated things like DOM Scripting. And we want to bring out another one!?

Kevin Yank and I had a long hard think about this situation well before we put pen to paper (or hands to keyboards [or personal assistants to dictation]). What we thought about was how to make a JavaScript book that was unique in its approach and could offer something that none of the other publications was offering.

Sitepoint already has a couple of JavaScript titles, but there was a distinctly book-shaped hole for beginners. My last book – The JavaScript Anthology – was squarely aimed at tech heads who wanted to jump in, get some code, and get out. This book – Simply JavaScript – is all about progression: taking a topic which can get pretty darn complex and breaking it down into nice, simple baby steps.

This kind of approach sets up Simply JavaScript in competition with one of the most well-written tech books available – Jeremy Keith's DOM Scripting. But even with that behemoth in our path, Kev and I staunchly reiterated "we're going to make it even better". And you know what? We failed. I think we might have just done it.

Rather than assume any level of programming knowledge, we've stripped the subject back and made it accessible to just about anyone who's happened to waltz into HTML and web development. There's discussion of basic programming techniques before you even see a hint of code; then once the JavaScript does come in, it's best-practice from the get go. No concessions to "the old way"; the only way you learn is unobtrusive and object-oriented ... yet somehow it doesn't scare you when you read it.

Every time we introduce a new concept we try to support it with alternative methods of learning – whether it's a diagram, an illustration, or just a different way of phrasing it – we've tried to cater to the different ways in which individuals learn. When they told me the book was going to be in colour, I almost jumped for joy. I had so much fun doing the figures throughout the book.

Anyway, sorry, you can probably tell I'm excited. It was just great to work on a book where I had the freedom to write it exactly how I wanted.

If you'd like to see the results (and Kevin's alarmingly good-looking bio photo), check out Simply JavaScript, and hopefully you'll learn a thing or two.


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  1. 1/14

    Dez commented on 4 July 2007 @ 00:38

    I've heard only good things and not just from you. Recently re-read Jeremy's book and looking forward to reading my *free* copy of your latest masterpiece :)

  2. 2/14

    David McDonald commented on 4 July 2007 @ 00:55

    Congrats on the new book, Cam. It sounds like it caters to people with my knowledge of Javascript (barely any), which is good.

  3. 3/14

    David McDonald commented on 4 July 2007 @ 00:57

    Hey, I just had a peek and the diagrams and illustrations look great. What did you use to create them?

  4. 4/14

    Nate Klaiber commented on 4 July 2007 @ 01:39

    Just received my copy in the mail today. Flipping through the pages has me excited to read the book. Looks like you guys have done a great job.

    Congrats on getting it out the door :)

  5. 5/14

    Jonathan Snook commented on 4 July 2007 @ 02:37

    Well done! Now if only I had a copy... :)

  6. 6/14

    Anson commented on 4 July 2007 @ 02:54

    Congratulations mate. Sounds like a top shelf idea for a book.

  7. 7/14

    The Man in Blue commented on 4 July 2007 @ 05:37

    Yeah Jonathan, you could do with a brush up on your basic JavaScript :D

    The illustrations were done in Illustrator, Dave.

  8. 8/14

    Andrew Green commented on 4 July 2007 @ 06:30

    Congratulations, Cam!

    Now, all we have to do is set a European Cup question to decide who pays for my copy.

  9. 9/14

    Scott G commented on 4 July 2007 @ 09:34

    Congrats Cam, thought you had a new one out... Will have to check it out sometime soon.

  10. 10/14

    Andrew K. commented on 4 July 2007 @ 15:15

    "...that none of the other publications was offering"

    _were_ offering. On behalf of the rest of the SitePoint editing team, thank you for giving us so much work ;p

    More seriously, I was blown away when the first box of copies rocked up at the office. This is one damn sexy geek book.

  11. 11/14

    R Walker commented on 4 July 2007 @ 22:08

    Now you can update the sidebar of your site with a book nearly as pretty as the rest of the site - get rid of that drab looking YAJB.

  12. 12/14

    LeaLeaLeaLeaLea commented on 5 July 2007 @ 10:37

    Good to hear you are having fun with your work :)
    Now I just have to find the time to read through the sample chapters to decide whether its on target for me or not :)

  13. 13/14

    Werbeagentur commented on 6 July 2007 @ 01:28

    it looks great and the diagramms are nice....


  14. 14/14

    Tomek commented on 7 July 2007 @ 23:56

    Well done Congratulations ! Now if only I had a copy of this:)

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My Book: Simply JavaScript

Simply JavaScript

Simply JavaScript is an enjoyable and easy-to-follow guide for beginners as they begin their journey into JavaScript. Separated into 9 logical chapters, it will take you all the way from the basics of the JavaScript language through to DOM manipulation and Ajax.

Step-by-step examples, rich illustrations and humourous commentary will teach you the right way to code JavaScript in both an unobtrusive and an accessible manner.

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