September 3, 2013

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Book Review: The Node Beginner Book

During August I went and took my first “real vacation” in about 5 years, however I ended up having to work most of it. Unfortunately I’m still working on that elusive “real vacation”. During the times I wasn’t working, I spent some time reading The Node Beginner Book, and generally trying to learn Node.js. I’ve read a lot of technical books and honestly wasn’t expecting much out of a 60 page “book”, but I was honestly and pleasantly surprised.

The Node Beginner Book is, surprisingly enough, for beginners. If you understand some javascript, or programming in general, this is probably just the right book. If you’ve spent years programming and/or already started writing in Node — this book will be below your level. While it was below my level (after all, I’ve already pushed out some

small Node projects, and written about it here on the blog), the book was well written and I enjoyed its iterative process.

The entire “book” is essentially about iterating one single Node project. The author shows you some code to do a couple simple things to get the Node server up and explains it. Then the code is revised and explained again. Several of the steps follow the concept of “This is how you could do it / This is how you can do it better”. It might sound a bit repetitive, but I think this is a great way to teach the intro to a language. The breakdown into small, easy to consume lessons, means you could sit down for 30 minutes to learn a little more and actually understand what the heck is going on (for those actual beginners) without getting frustrated.

The only downside is the price tag. I wouldn’t consider $9 a lot for a book, but it is steep for what is essentially one lesson and maybe a day’s worth of teaching. That being said, if you are an actual beginner hoping to learn Node.JS — this is one of the best starter books I’ve read on a language. It’ll give you a nice taste of what the Node world is like and allow you to better decide if you really want to plunk down $50 for that “real” book.