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Brian Neville-O'Neill
Brian Neville-O'Neill

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5 must-read JavaScript tutorials

JavaScript has become the most popular programming language for web developers today. It’s the only language that is implemented in the web browser, but its uses aren’t strictly limited to web development.

Thanks to the invention of Node.js, you can now use JavaScript to create desktop applications, mobile applications, static sites, and even use it for machine learning.

JavaScript will keep opening more doors to opportunity in the future. If you’re just starting your journey now, or if you’ve been dragging your feet on learning the finer points, here are five of the best free resources I recommend to learn JavaScript:

1. Introduction To JavaScript by Codecademy

Codecademy is an online interactive platform that offers free coding classes, and its Introduction To JavaScript course is a terrific tool to get you started on the path to learning JavaScript. It covers all the basics well, and it delivers the lessons in a way that is unique to Codecademy’s learning experience.

You will learn a bit about the concept, and then try to implement that concept in an interactive online coding environment. Once you hit the right answer, you can submit your code to see if it’s correct. Codecademy also hosts community forums for learners to help you out if you ever get stuck — and all of it for free!

Although a part of this Codecademy course is locked for paid members, the free content will enable you to code with JavaScript quite well.

2. The Modern JavaScript Tutorial by Ilya Kantor

The Modern JavaScript Tutorial is perhaps the most comprehensive JS curriculum you will find on the internet. It covers everything about JavaScript with simple but detailed explanations, from how JavaScript works to how it interacts with the browser and how it handles animations.

The first part of the course explores what JavaScript is, and the second part explores how JavaScript interacts with the browser by manipulating the DOM and adding interactivity to UIs.

The third part is a collection of JavaScript extra topics that doesn’t really fit in the first two parts. It covers regex, web components, network requests, animations, and so on.

Some of the tutorials include small tasks designed to help you memorize the lesson. The tutorial is also constantly updated as JavaScript syntax and best practices change. You can see its GitHub commit history for details.

Overall, the tutorial is very solid. The first two parts should be everything you need to start building things with JavaScript.

3. JavaScript 30 by Wes Bos

So you’ve learned the basics of JavaScript and are now wondering how to get better. What can you make with JavaScript? You have no idea what to build!

If you’re itching for some practical tutorials that showcase what you can build with JavaScript, JavaScript 30 by Wes Bos will do just that. Guided by his easy-to-follow video tutorials, you will build 30 things in 30 days — one each day — to get you comfortable programming with JavaScript.

Some of his projects, like the Drum Kit, the Speech Synthesis, and the Whack A Mole Game, are really fun to build, and make you go, “I didn’t know JavaScript could build that!”

4. “Eloquent JavaScript” by Marijn Haverbeke

Let’s face it: most technical books about programming languages are boring. They are either pedantic (just shows off the fact) or didactic (instructions to code without the why).

Eloquent JavaScript is neither. This book feels more like a conversation between a JavaScript enthusiast — you — and a senior, wiser software engineer who happens to work with JavaScript — the author.

He is trying to tell you all he knows about JavaScript — the good, the bad, and the weird parts. And after telling you, he will help you learn by giving you small exercises and projects that are easy to follow.

The book is well-written and split into three parts, exploring the language, its relationship with the browser, and a brief introduction to Node.js.

All in all, Eloquent JavaScript is a unique take on helping people learn about JavaScript. Unfortunately, it’s not for complete beginners; it only clicks if you already have a bit of prior experience with programming. I suggest you go through something like the Codecademy JavaScript intro before reading it.

5. “You Don’t Know JS” series by Kyle Simpson

You Don’t Know JS is a collection of six short books about JavaScript that dives deep into the core mechanisms of JS. Some JavaScript tutorials only present you with the good parts of the language, but as you will learn in this series, JavaScript has some tricky, weird quirks that actually aren’t bugs in the language.

Those tricky parts are hidden because most tutorials only teach about coding with JavaScript, without explaining how and why the language works the way it does. In the words of the author:

I gently challenge you to journey down that bumpy ‘road less traveled’ and embrace all that JavaScript is and can do.

The six parts of this series are terrific to help you master JavaScript language.

Those would be all five of the best tutorials available for you online to learn about JavaScript. Please note that you do not need to go through all five tutorials in order to become a JavaScript developer; you can choose to go through with only one of them, finish it, then build something with the skills you have learned.

And here’s a tip: you’ll definitely encounter roadblocks and get frustrated on your journey to learn about JavaScript. Don’t sweat it. Remember you’re breaking new ground and setting yourself up for more opportunities in the future by learning JavaScript. You are doing something worthwhile.

Happy learning!

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LogRocket is a frontend logging tool that lets you replay problems as if they happened in your own browser. Instead of guessing why errors happen, or asking users for screenshots and log dumps, LogRocket lets you replay the session to quickly understand what went wrong. It works perfectly with any app, regardless of framework, and has plugins to log additional context from Redux, Vuex, and @ngrx/store.

In addition to logging Redux actions and state, LogRocket records console logs, JavaScript errors, stacktraces, network requests/responses with headers + bodies, browser metadata, and custom logs. It also instruments the DOM to record the HTML and CSS on the page, recreating pixel-perfect videos of even the most complex single-page apps.

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