Review: Douglas Crockford JavaScript Master Class

Saturday, 01 March 2014
  • By
  • Jeff Ammons
  • Tags:
  • JavaScript
  • Review
  • Programming
  • Video

Douglas Crockford JavaScript Master Class

Douglas Crockford, Guru Of The Good Parts Of JavaScript

If you are a programmer odds are you spend at least some of your time working with JavaScript whether you want to or not.

For many years JavaScript has been the language we all love to hate, but within the past five years or so there has been quite a resurgence of interest thanks to AJAX, JSON, Node.js, and Douglas Crockford.

Crockford is responsible for three tools every JavaScript developer should have in their arsenal:

  1. JSON
  2. JSLint
  3. JavaScript: The Good Parts

JSON is a lightweight, text format for JavaScript objects that has taken on a life of its own. It is now a very common data exchange format.

JSLint is a static code analysis tool that takes your JavaScript code, reads through it, and tells you what a horrible person you are. I mean points out mistakes you’ve made.

JavaScript: The Good Parts is the book to read to learn to write better JavaScript.

I have read the first half of that book three times. That's usually when I throw up my hands and go back to a strongly typed language. Ahem.

When I saw the video Crockford produced for O’Reily Media was available in their Blogger’s Review Program, I jumped at the chance to get it. Full disclosure note: I got the video for free as part of their review program.

Here is an opportunity to hear Crockford discuss how to take the slapped together Netscape scripting language, avoid the nasty, nasty bits, and discover a nice little programming language.

I must say that the video is much more accessible than the book. That could be a bias on my part. I’m very much an auditory learner.

The video was recorded back in 2009, but much of the content he covers relates to the then new, now current version of JavaScript. At the time he issued warnings that it would be five years before you could rely on these features showing up in all browsers. Well, it’s been five years, so oddly enough this video is a bit more useful now than it was then.

I think a great approach would be to watch this video, then read the book.

The only quibbles I have regarding this video are the occasional background noise. I’m guessing this was shot in a hotel conference area and meals were served. A few times you can hear the dishes being cleared away. Nothing terrible, but a slight distraction.

At almost six hours, you certainly get your money’s worth for $99. Like most O’Reilly offerings, the video is DRM free, so you can put it on all your devices.

I watched the bulk of this series on my phone while using the elliptical machine at the gym.

Would I recommend this video? Absolutely.

To whom would I recommend it? Any developer who works with JavaScript, but especially developers coming from C, C++, C# or Java. Why? JavaScript looks like those languages, but behaves very, very differently.

Crockford does a great job with both the video and book explaining why you will be shooting yourself in both feet if you try to write JavaScript the way your write those other C derived languages.

You can find the video series on O'Reilly's website.