5 Resources for Learning JavaScript

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Traditionally when somebody said JavaScript, they were talking about a language that just did stuff on the client side like form validation or the occasional animation or UI enhancement. For years now, JavaScript has been all of the rage. Most new technology startups are now using JavaScript on the frontend, and on their backend services.

At Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce announced that they were adding a new user interface to Salesforce that is called Salesforce Lightning. I’ve already blogged about What Salesforce Lightning is, so I won’t cover much about it here other than it’s the future of Salesforce and it’s using JavaScript. A lot of JavaScript!

In a previous blog, I mentioned that Salesforce Developers need to learn JavaScript or run the risk of becoming irrelevant and needing to find a new career. Salesforce Lightning will eventually become the standard user interface for a lot of users, so there will eventually be a very large need for a lot of JavaScript Developers that also know how Salesforce works.

Tips for Learning JavaScript

Before we cover five resources that I recommend for learning javascript, I want to provide a few tips that I believe will help make your transition easier.

Learn Plain JavaScript
I think it’s really important to take the time and learn plain vanilla JavaScript. I strongly recommend avoiding any shortcuts, so you can really grasp the language and how things actually work. I really liked jQuery, and all of the other libraries that made things easy but you need to try and accomplish things without them. A lot of the newer JavaScript single page applications don’t really work well with the DOM based libraries because they hide instead use a virtual DOM to render the page and control how it works. Salesforce Lightning works this way as well.

Make it Stick
I like to write things down as this helps me to remember how things work later. I usually keep a notepad of interesting things or try and write a google doc about it or even a blog article.

Try and avoid using lots of different resources to learn javascript
I strong recommend avoiding learning JavaScript from just reading random blog articles as you will waste a lot of time and probably not really get any real depth of learning.

Follow the Examples
If you take the time and actually follow the examples by typing in the code yourself, there’s a lot better chance that you will be more likely to actually learn the new technology and techniques. We retain a lot more knowledge when we do something instead of passively listening to a video or reading a blog article.

Resources for Learning JavaScript

JavaScript Essentials
This free udemy course is a pretty good and simple way to get a vary basic grasp of how JavaScript works. Although it doesn’t get very advanced it does have you working with the Chrome Developer Tools pretty quickly and actually writing code. In about 5 or 6 hours, you could have a pretty good grasp of the basics of JavaScript.

Free Code Camp
Free Code Camp is an incredible resource for learning how HTML, CSS, and JavaScript work. There’s literally hundreds of hours of content with lots of very useful projects.

Code Academy
Code Academy has quite a few different courses for learning JavaScript. Courses seem to vary quite a bit from no programming knowledge to advanced knowledge of an object oriented language.

JavaScript: The Good Parts – by Douglas Crockford
This little book is very dense reading, but it definitely helped me to really understand javascript and understand the things I should try to avoid. JavaScript isn’t always the most enjoyable language to work in.

Eloquent JavaScript – by Marijn Haverbeke
Eloquent JavaScript is an incredibly well thought out book that can be read online for free. The projects and chapter on regular expressions are really well put together.

If you would like to purchase the book, it can be purchased from Amazon too!

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Brian is a software architect and technology leader living in Niagara Falls with 13+ years of development experience. He is passionate about automation, business process re-engineering, and building a better tomorrow.

Brian is a proud father of four: two boys, and two girls and has been happily married to Crystal for more than ten years. From time to time, Brian may post about his faith, his family, and definitely about technology.