Learning Intermediate JavaScript and CodeSchool

As a self-learner (or autodidact if you want to be fancy), JavaScript can be surprisingly tricky to pick up.

I'll try not to complain that people starting with Ruby have a clearer path, because I knew this about JavaScript at the beginning and I still chose to pursue it like Pepé Le Pew chasing after some poor housecat.

Beginner's Luck

Actually, if you are just starting out with programming in general and have yet to learn JavaScript, there some very solid resources. I'd recommend starting with the often unfairly-maligned Codecademy. It starts at the very beginning and is very good at teaching the fundamentals of programming in JavaScript.

After that, it is an entirely practical next step to start learning jQuery at CodeSchool. It's easy enough to follow and quickly teaches the basics of using jQuery for real-world applications. Most importantly, the jQuery techniques they teach are current... i.e. they quickly teach you to animate by using a combination of jQuery and CSS classes and ids.

Stuck in the Middle

If you've done the above, you've absorbed the basics... You're writing some speghetti-jQuery of your own and elements are moving all over the page. Life is good.

Yet your grasp of Vanilla.js is tenuous and you yearn for deeper understanding. You've read JavaScript: The Good Parts and you've realized that you should have paid closer attention to Eloquent Javascript the first time you read it.

But if you're a multi-media kind of person, there has been a lack of videos that delve into some of the more advanced JavaScript topics, although JumpStart JavaScript is a great book that comes with over 4 hours of screencasts and goes a little more in-depth than most other resources.

Okay, now that I think about it, Advanced JavaScript Fundamentals is worth watching as well, but I hadn't seen anything that was as concise and powerful for learning more advanced JavaScript topics... until now.

At Last

I'm a pretty big CodeSchool fan and I was always a little disappointed that they had made courses for so many languages and frameworks but had seemingly left vanilla JavaScript out in the cold.

Recently, they unleashed the first two in their JavaScript series and I wasn't too interested... The material was too basic for me and it didn't go too far beyond what was already available on Codecademy. But the third installment of their JavaScript course is exactly what I was hoping for.

The names of the levels will give you an idea of the material covered:

JavaScript Road Trip part 3
  1. Forest of Function Expressions
  2. Cold Closures Cove
  3. Hoisting Hills
  4. Ocean of Objects
  5. Plains of Prototypes

I've just completed the first level, but I think they've really done a great job with this one and I'd recommend it for someone who is no longer a beginner and looking to understand some of the more useful aspects of JavaScript.

Special Mention

It's not really the same kind of thing, but another great resource for the intermediate JavaScripter is Node School. In particular, the lessons on Functional Javascript would be a great next step after working through the material at CodeSchool.