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Newbie Question: Good Downloadable Tutorial

 
 
Jim Aikin
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      07-10-2008
I'd like to learn JavaScript while sitting in my easy chair with my
laptop on my lap.

Option 1: Buy a wireless router so I can access the plethora of online-
only tutorials from anywhere in the house.

Option 2: Buy a book and try to figure out how to read a book with one
hand while using the laptop with the other.

Option 3: Find a good downloadable tutorial (either PDF or a bundle of
self-contained html files) that I can read while offline.

Option 3 would be lovely ... but I haven't yet found a good
downloadable tutorial. I have the Core Guide and the Core Reference,
but neither of them is structured as a tutorial.

FWIW, I know a couple of programming languages already, and also basic
HTML. I don't need a Dummies book, but I'd appreciate a step-by-step
structure with examples I can try out.

Is there such a resource? If so, where might I find it? Thanks!

--Jim Aikin
 
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Stevo
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      07-10-2008
Jim Aikin wrote:
> I'd like to learn JavaScript while sitting in my easy chair with my
> laptop on my lap.
> Option 3: Find a good downloadable tutorial (either PDF or a bundle of
> self-contained html files) that I can read while offline.
> Is there such a resource? If so, where might I find it? Thanks!
> --Jim Aikin


Good place to start:

http://www.google.com/search?q=javas...dable+tutorial

You can also download the videos from the YUI library:

http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/theater/
 
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Jim Aikin
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      07-10-2008
On Jul 10, 12:49 am, Stevo <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Jim Aikin wrote:
> > Option 3: Find a good downloadable tutorial (either PDF or a bundle of
> > self-contained html files) that I can read while offline.
> > Is there such a resource? If so, where might I find it? Thanks!
> > --Jim Aikin

>
> Good place to start:
>
> http://www.google.com/search?q=javas...dable+tutorial
>
> You can also download the videos from the YUI library:
>
> http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/theater/


I've tried various search strings in google, and been through page
after page of online tutorials. I haven't yet found what I'm looking
for -- a book-length downloadable tutorial.

It's a bit hard for me to imagine how one would teach a programming
language using videos. Seems like a pure waste of bandwidth. But I'll
check it out.

Has anyone seen anything like what I'm looking for?

--JA
 
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Evertjan.
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      07-10-2008
Jim Aikin wrote on 10 jul 2008 in comp.lang.javascript:

> I've tried various search strings in google, and been through page
> after page of online tutorials. I haven't yet found what I'm looking
> for -- a book-length downloadable tutorial.
>
> It's a bit hard for me to imagine how one would teach a programming
> language using videos. Seems like a pure waste of bandwidth. But I'll
> check it out.
>
> Has anyone seen anything like what I'm looking for?


You cannot learn programming from books, or even from tutorials.
Programming is a hands-on experience. Yes, if there was a good book in
Javascript it could get you on the way, alas there is not.

The main programming knowledge comes from the interactive experience and
the cycle of programming and debugging, from examining what others have
done and where they have failed. And not being afraid of your own 'artistic
licence' in design and enjoying that for it's own sake.

--
Evertjan.
The Netherlands.
(Please change the x'es to dots in my emailaddress)
 
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Jim Aikin
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      07-10-2008
On Jul 10, 11:23 am, "Evertjan." <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

> You cannot learn programming from books, or even from tutorials.
> Programming is a hands-on experience.


Not to be snarky or anything, but that seems like a rather extreme
position. Are you suggesting that you yourself learned Javascript (or
any other programming language) without studying it in a book? I don't
think you meant to imply that, but that's what a plain reading of your
statement would suggest.

> The main programming knowledge comes from the interactive experience and
> the cycle of programming and debugging, from examining what others have
> done and where they have failed. And not being afraid of your own 'artistic
> licence' in design and enjoying that for it's own sake.


Absolutely true. But in order to acquire the experience, one needs to
start somewhere. Other things being equal, I can learn much more
quickly from a good book than from a bare reference source, and I'll
bet other people can too.

Anyway, if tutorials were irrelevant, why are there so many online
tutorials for Javascript? Clearly, there is a perceived need. My
question was strictly with reference to the format in which the
material is bundled -- a single archive that can be read offline, as
opposed to a website that one can only navigate while online.

With respect to the absolute value of the tutorial, I'll take my
chances.

--Jim Aikin

 
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Richard Cornford
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      07-11-2008
Jim Aikin wrote:
> On Jul 10, 11:23 am, Evertjan. wrote:
>
>> You cannot learn programming from books, or even from tutorials.
>> Programming is a hands-on experience.

>
> Not to be snarky or anything, but that seems like a rather
> extreme position. Are you suggesting that you yourself
> learned Javascript (or any other programming language) without
> studying it in a book? I don't think you meant to imply that,
> but that's what a plain reading of your statement would suggest.


Speaking only for myself, almost everything that I "learnt" from
javascript books when I started having to use the language has
subsequently had to be unlearnt. Javascript books tend to be bad, and
some are so bad that reading them is entirely counterproductive.

>> The main programming knowledge comes from the interactive
>> experience and the cycle of programming and debugging, from
>> examining what others have done and where they have failed.
>> And not being afraid of your own 'artistic licence' in design
>> and enjoying that for it's own sake.

>
> Absolutely true. But in order to acquire the experience, one
> needs to start somewhere. Other things being equal, I can
> learn much more quickly from a good book than from a bare
> reference source, and I'll bet other people can too.


Probably, but for that you need a "good book". I am yet to encounter a
good general book on javascript or browser scripting. The least bad
general javascript book (by a larger margin) is David Flanagan's
JavaScript: the definitive guide (Douglass Crockford's book is good, but
it is intended for people who already know javascript to some degree,
and will not teach javascript to a total novice (also, it is entirely
about the language and contains nothing directly related to the
application of javascript in browser scripting)).

> Anyway, if tutorials were irrelevant, why are there so many
> online tutorials for Javascript?


If that were valid/relevant point you would expect a large number of
tutorial to result in a widespread good understanding of javascript.
Which in tern would suggest that javascript books would be better than
they are, and that the general standard of scripting on the web would be
better than it is.

If you want to really see the outcome of these 'tutorials' set IE to
pop-up its error dialog whenever a script error occurs (you will have to
learn how to configure that if you want to learn javascript) and browser
the web for a couple of hours. You will quickly get tired of dismissing
the dialog because it will pop-up all the time.

> Clearly, there is a perceived need.


Or a perceived market. Remember that a common business model for web
sites is based around showing visitors advertising, for which you need
some way of attracting visitors. Any content that is easy to create and
will attract visitors will appear in the internet somewhere;
independently of the veracity of its contents.

> My question was strictly with reference to the format in
> which the material is bundled -- a single archive that can
> be read offline, as opposed to a website that one can only
> navigate while online.


These days many books are available in electronic format (usually PDF).
That may be as close as you will get to your goal.

> With respect to the absolute value of the tutorial, I'll
> take my chances.


And the same will probably be true of the books.

Richard.

 
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Evertjan.
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      07-11-2008
Jim Aikin wrote on 11 jul 2008 in comp.lang.javascript:

> On Jul 10, 11:23 am, "Evertjan." <(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:
>
>> You cannot learn programming from books, or even from tutorials.
>> Programming is a hands-on experience.

>
> Not to be snarky or anything, but that seems like a rather extreme
> position. Are you suggesting that you yourself learned Javascript (or
> any other programming language) without studying it in a book? I don't
> think you meant to imply that, but that's what a plain reading of your
> statement would suggest.
>


See Richard's exensive answer about Javascript books.

It is like gardening [of which there seem to be good books, I suppose],
you can learn about flowers and trees, but the hands-on experience will
be far more crucial. And what about singing, painting, doctoring, diving,
banking, etc.?

In programming, much of wat you learn you learn by debugging, from your
mistakes.

> Are you suggesting that you yourself learned Javascript (or
> any other programming language) without studying it in a book?


Yes, since the little book on Fortran that was given to me arond 1965,
when [mainframe!] hands-on experience was simply not available, I only
read specs, and in Javascript with it's many implementations and flavors,
the spec's are by far secondary [thirdly?] to the experience.

The notion of formatted output, so prominent in that Fortran, simply did
not ring any bell for me then, and I now see many people believing that
the standard way a numeric value is outputted as a string in Javascript
and alike to be the way it is stored in memory. I doubt if you leard
those things in books, without experiencing the practical implications.

Next was the Signetics/Philips 2650 Assembler language, no books,
marginal specs.

Then Central Data Basic for the 2650 [with nice BCD numeric storage!]
written by an upstart named William Gates, we had to retro-engeneer to
give it is full potential.

Etc.

--
Evertjan.
The Netherlands.
(Please change the x'es to dots in my emailaddress)
 
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