Learning JavaScript: Resources for Future JS Ninjas

 If it is possible to make yourself into a great hacker, the way to do it may be to make the following deal with yourself: you never have to work on boring projects (unless your family will starve otherwise), and in return, you’ll never allow yourself to do a half-assed job.  – Paul Graham

Inspired by the quote above, this year, I chose to focus on my front-end development skills because that is the work I find myself enjoying the most. In a sort of masochistic way, I even enjoy the tug-of-war that sometimes happens between the UX group and the engineering group. I just love the idea of helping solve people’s problems in the most obvious, direct — and beautiful — way possible!

Let’s start with JavaScript this week, shall we? I made the following roundup as a sort of to-do list for myself, but I hope you find them useful as well. If you have more to share, feel free to comment, and I’ll add it to the list. Happy Friday, and happy coding!


Videos and Talks

Sometimes, the last thing you want to do after a long day of coding is code some more. Fear not! Adyy Osmani has got us covered.

Talks To Help You Become A Better Front-End Engineer In 2013. The massive collection has a lot on JavaScript including the future of the language, design patterns, architecture, localization, etc.

Need some more? 8 Hours Of The Top 10 JavaScript Talks From 2010 That You Can’t Miss



If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I like to list books I want to read eventually. I’ve been doing pretty good this holiday season, reading books family and friends gave me for Christmas (I’m such a nerd!).

JavaScript: The Good Parts. I’m reading this at the moment, and I love how condensed and packed this little book is. I especially love the appendices on the bad parts and the awful parts of Javascript. It’s pretty much a “don’t use this” list that will instantaneously make you a better programmer. Bonus: The author’s blog is also a treasure chest of anything JS-related. Be sure to check out the videos –especially JavaScript: The Good Parts, given at Google.

A few others a friend recommended are JavaScript: The Definitive Guide and Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja.

If you’ve also fallen in love with Adyy Osmani’s blog (and as a result, started stalking his genius in the world of social media), you might like his recommendation list of JavaScript books to read. He also has free ebooks and even more presentations available in his blog, but don’t mist his audio course on the fundamentals.



If your JS craving is still not satisfied, here are a few more blogs for your enjoyment.

A list of 31 JS blogs from Stack Overflow

More suggestions from Quora


Other Great Articles

5 APIs that will transform the Web in 2013 Find out what’s new in the new version of JS (of course, I should probably call it by its proper name, ECMAScript).

A Sudden Move: One developer’s journey from C# to JavaScript


Unit Testing

Extensive Comparisons of Assertion Frameworks: BDD style vs xUnit style

Mock Type Tools: Comparison of mocking frameworks

If you are using ExtJs, Ext Spec is made specifically to mock with that library.

Bonus: a plug-in to run your tests in Visual Studio: Chutzpah


JavaScript Frameworks and Libraries

I love roundups within roundups! Enjoy!

A very extensive guide on the background of MVC frameworks and how to pick the one that will fit your needs the best by Addy Osmani (of course!)

The Big Glossary of Open Source JavaScript and Web Frameworks with Cool Names by Scott Hanselman


Tools, Etc.

Chirpy: Minify your javascript.

JsFiddle: Play around whatever framework of your choice fast!

JS cheat sheet 

JSLint and JSHint: Find out potential problem spots in your code.


Frances Advincula writes the series Frances Fridays.  Frances recently graduated with a degree in Computer Science with specialization in Software Engineering, she now works as a Software Developer for Accenture (Software).  A proud geek girl, she’s sure she is the only one who can’t play video games. Follow her random musings at @FranAdvincula.

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  1. ellaVader 4 January, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Great collection! I wish we’d do away with the terms ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’ or ‘rockstar ninja’ in terms of tech skills though.

  2. Stacy 4 January, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Funny – I’m kicking off the year to become a js ninja too!

    Although I’ve been using js for years in bits and pieces, you can’t do that when building a js front-end. It works very differently than I expected. Found a great starter resource to master before the Crawford book: http://eloquentjavascript.net/print.html

    Thanks for the other resources!

  3. Frances Advincula 6 January, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    @ellaVader, Thank you! I’m glad you liked them.
    I haven’t really thought of any negative implications “ninja” or “rockstar” (and similar terms) may have…but I one thing for sure, the very nature of tech — it’s meritocracy — allows us to be whatever it is we want to be, so I could very well have used “ballerina” or “princess” or “superstar” as well. :)

  4. Frances Advincula 6 January, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    @Stacy, Thanks for the book recommendation, Stacy! Addy Osmani did mention it as a GREAT book for beginners in the list I linked up above.

    Have a great weekend!

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