A More Intelligent Approach to Mastering Javascript

In this article, we will explore the merits of “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” and help you decide if this book is the right choice for your learning journey. So, if you’ve been contemplating diving into JavaScript this year, keep reading!

An Overview of “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript”

In this comprehensive review, we’ll delve into the benefits of this remarkable resource for novice web developers. With its concise and approachable one-page chapters and interactive online exercises, “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” is a game-changer. If you’re interested, you can find the book here.

Originally published in 2014, this book quickly gained popularity and became a go-to guide for JavaScript beginners. However, with the fast-paced nature of technology, it’s essential to assess its relevance in the current landscape.

A Simpler Learning Experience

  1. Bite-sized chapters for steady progress

    “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” follows a unique approach that takes baby steps while ensuring that you never feel patronized. The author, Mark Myers, employs various teaching styles to make JavaScript concepts easier to grasp.

    With short chapters that are easy to digest, coding examples that provide visual cues, real-world references that contextualize the concepts, and interactive exercises that test your skills, the book caters to different learning preferences.

    Each chapter spans only one or two pages, allowing you to focus on one concept at a time. This method ensures that the knowledge truly sticks and prevents overwhelming information overload.

    Excerpt from "A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript" using the example of "99 Bottles of Beer" to explain for loops

    Mark Myers recommends completing one chapter per day to facilitate effective learning. This measured approach guarantees that you retain the information and avoid the common pitfall of forgetting half of what you’ve learned.

  2. No assumptions, just genuine guidance

    Unlike many other resources in the tech industry, author Mark Myers doesn’t assume any prior knowledge on your part. This aspect might seem trivial, but it can be a significant stumbling block for beginners.

    It’s frustrating when instructors assume you have background knowledge on topics that should be beginner-level. Mark Myers respects your newbie status and ensures that his book is truly accessible to learners at all levels. This newbie-friendly approach is consistent throughout his “Smarter Way” series.

  3. Interactive online exercises for hands-on learning

    After completing each chapter, you have the opportunity to put your knowledge to the test with the book’s online exercises. These exercises are hosted on Mark Myers’ website, where you can select the chapter you’re working on and be challenged with questions related to the topic.

    Screen capture of a drag-and-drop coding editor exercise from "A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript"
    A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript drag-n-drop challenge

    This interactive feature is invaluable for reinforcing the concepts you’ve learned. By actively engaging with the material, you enhance your understanding and retention.

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A Few Caveats

While “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” is an exceptional resource, there are a couple of things worth noting:

  1. Quality concerns with certain online exercises

    Some users have reported occasional bugs in a few online exercises. Although these instances are relatively rare, it’s essential to be aware of the possibility. For the smoothest experience, we recommend using Google Chrome as your browser.

    If you do encounter any issues, don’t let them discourage you. Remember that the strength of this book lies in its approach to teaching programming fundamentals and problem-solving skills rather than focusing on specific syntax.

  2. Adapting to newer JavaScript features

    Published in 2015, “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” predates a significant update in the language called ES6. This update introduced several features that are widely used by developers today.

    The book predominantly covers older syntax, including the var keyword instead of the modern const and let keywords, and the function keyword instead of the “fat arrow” => syntax introduced in ES6.

    While it may seem advisable for beginners to opt for more up-to-date resources, “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” remains an exception. Why? Because it offers a unique learning experience that focuses on fundamental concepts and problem-solving skills. Syntax, although important, takes a backseat when compared to understanding the “why” and “when” of programming concepts.

    Additionally, there is an abundance of supplementary resources available to augment your JavaScript knowledge as you progress on your coding journey.

Final Verdict

Despite its age, “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” still holds immense value for aspiring web developers. However, it’s important to be mindful of syntax differences and potential bugs in the online exercises. With that said, the book’s innovative approach and emphasis on foundational skills make it a recommended choice for most newcomers.

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Remember, “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” is just one stepping stone on your learning path. If you want to explore more JavaScript resources, check out our comprehensive guide for web developers: JavaScript Resources: The Ultimate Guide for Web Developers.