A Smarter Way To Learn JavaScript | Learn It Faster & Remember It Longer!


Study, practice, then rest. If you’re intent on mastering the fundamentals of JavaScript, as opposed to just getting a feel for the language, work with this book and the online exercises in a 15-to-30-minute session, then take a break. Study a chapter for 5 to 10 minutes, practicing the lesson until you’ve coded everything correctly. Then go for a walk.

Use the largest, most colorful screen available. This book can be read on small phone screens and monochrome readers, but you’ll be happier if things appear in color on a larger screen. I use color as an important teaching tool, so if you’re reading in black-andwhite, you’re sacrificing some of the extra teaching value of a full-color ebook. Colored elements do show up as a lighter shade on some black-and-white screens, and on those devices the effect isn’t entirely lost, but full color is better. As for reading on a larger screen— the book includes more than 2,000 lines of example code. Small screens break long lines of code into awkward, arbitrary segments, jumbling the formatting. While still decipherable, the code becomes harder to read. If you don’t have a mobile device that’s ideal for this book, consider installing the free Kindle reading app on your laptop.

If you’re reading on a mobile device, go horizontal. For some reason, I resist doing this on my iPad unless I’m watching a video. But even I, Vern Vertical, put my tablet into horizontal mode to proof this book. So please: starting with Chapter 1, do yourself a favor and rotate your tablet, reader, or phone to give yourself a longer line of text. It’ll help prevent the unpleasant code jumble mentioned above.

Do the coding exercises on a physical keyboard. A mobile device can be ideal for reading, but it’s no way to code. Very, very few Web developers would attempt to do their work on a phone. The same thing goes for learning to code. Theoretically, most of the interactive exercises could be done on a mobile device. But the idea seems so perverse that I’ve disabled online practice on tablets, readers, and phones. Read the book on your mobile device if you like. But practice on your laptop.

If you have an authority problem, try to get over it. When you start doing the exercises, you’ll find that I can be a pain about insisting that you get every little detail right. For example, if you indent a line one space instead of two spaces, the program monitoring your work will tell you the code isn’t correct, even though it would still run perfectly. Do I insist on having everything just so because I’m a control freak? No, it’s because I have to place a limit on harmless maverick behavior in order to automate the exercises. If I were to grant you as much freedom as you might like, creating the algorithms that check your work would be, for me, a project of driverless-car proportions. Besides, learning to write code with fastidious precision helps you learn to pay close attention to details, a fundamental requirement for coding in any language. Subscribe, temporarily, to my formatting biases. Current code formatting is like seventeenth-century spelling. Everyone does it his own way. There are no universally accepted standards. But the algorithms that check your work when you do the interactive exercises need standards. They can’t grant you the latitude that a human teacher could, because, let’s face it, they aren’t that bright. So I’ve had to settle on certain conventions.

All of the conventions I teach are embraced by a large segment of the coding community, so you’ll be in good company. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be married to my formatting biases forever. When you begin coding projects, you’ll soon develop your own opinions or join an organization that has a stylebook. Until then, I’ll ask you to make your code look like my code.

Email me with any problems or questions. The book and exercises have been tested on many learners, but haven’t been tested on you. If you hit a snag, if you’re just curious about something, or if I’ve found some way to give you fits, email me at [email protected]. I’ll be happy to hear from you. I’ll reply promptly. And, with your help, I’ll probably learn something that improves the next edition.


  1. Alerts
  2. Variables for Strings
  3. Variables for Numbers
  4. Variable Names Legal and Illegal
  5. Math Expressions: familiar operators
  6. Math Expressions: unfamiliar operators
  7. Math Expressions: eliminating ambiguity
  8. Concatenating text strings
  9. Prompts
  10. if statements
  11. Comparison operators
  12. if…else and else if statements
  13. Testing sets of conditions
  14. if statements nested
  15. Arrays
  16. Arrays: adding and removing elements
  17. Arrays: removing, inserting, and extracting elements
  18. for loops
  19. for loops: flags, Booleans, array length, and breaks
  20. for loops nested
  21. Changing case
  22. Strings: measuring length and extracting parts
  23. Strings: finding segments
  24. Strings: finding a character at a location
  25. Strings: replacing characters
  26. Rounding numbers
  27. Generating random numbers
  28. Converting strings to integers and decimals
  29. Converting strings to numbers, numbers to strings
  30. Controlling the length of decimals
  31. Getting the current date and time
  32. Extracting parts of the date and time
  33. Specifying a date and time
  34. Changing elements of a date and time
  35. Functions
  36. Functions: passing them data
  37. Functions: passing data back from them
  38. Functions: local vs. global variables
  39. switch statements: how to start them
  40. switch statements: how to complete them
  41. while loops
  42. do…while loops
  43. Placing scripts
  44. Commenting
  45. Events: link
  46. Events: button
  47. Events: mouse
  48. Events: fields
  49. Reading field values
  50. Setting field values
  51. Reading and setting paragraph text
  52. Manipulating images and text
  53. Swapping images
  54. Swapping images and setting classes
  55. Setting styles
  56. Target all elements by tag name
  57. Target some elements by tag name
  58. The DOM
  59. The DOM: Parents and children
  60. The DOM: Finding children
  61. The DOM: Junk artifacts and nodeType
  62. The DOM: More ways to target elements
  63. The DOM: Getting a target’s name
  64. The DOM: Counting elements
  65. The DOM: Attributes
  66. The DOM: Attribute names and values
  67. The DOM: Adding nodes
  68. The DOM: Inserting nodes
  69. Objects
  70. Objects: Properties
  71. Objects: Methods
  72. Objects: Constructors
  73. Objects: Constructors for methods
  74. Objects: Prototypes
  75. Objects: Checking for properties and methods
  76. Browser control: Getting and setting the URL
  77. Browser control: Getting and setting the URL another way
  78. Browser control: Forward and reverse
  79. Browser control: Filling the window with content
  80. Browser control: Controlling the window’s size and location
  81. Browser control: Testing for popup blockers
  82. Form validation: text fields
  83. Form validation: drop-downs
  84. Form validation: radio buttons
  85. Form validation: ZIP codes
  86. Form validation: email
  87. Exceptions: try and catch
  88. Exceptions: throw
  89. Handling events within JavaScript

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