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Been teaching myself how to code over the past four months or so -- mainly in JavaScript, but just started Python -- and had a revelation today. I can write in JavaScript pretty well, but I don't actually know what JavaScript is. Basically I know how to use it, but not the advantages/disadvantages, its origination, its purpose, etc.

What is the purpose and background behind Javascript and why was it created?

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Might I recommend the JS chat room? –  SomeKittens Dec 10 '12 at 1:54
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2 Answers

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This is a great list of ebook, links and material for a budding or even experienced developer. The URL is not politically correct, so be careful of using it at work if you work someplace sensitive.

At the very least Learn Python The Hard Way is one of the better places to start for Python.

For JavaScript I have purchased a the book, Eloquent JavaScript that I really thought was a great introduction to development and to JavaScript. Also I would be remiss not mentioning Douglas Crockford's classic JavasScript: The Good Parts.

Those are great links and books to get going on. Not to mention other excellent online resources like Code Academy to get going.

I also realize this might not be the exact answer for your question based on description, but I thought it might be helpful. Getting into something like language design for both of those languages is distinctly different. If that was what you were asking for.

Nothing beats just doing it though. Give it a shot to learn one and then go to Project Euler to try and solve a few problems with your language of choice. It is a great way to practice.

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The ECMAscript specification goes into great detail about the underlying design and reasoning of the language. Being able to read BNF is a must.

The same holds true for Python, there is a substantial design document for both 2.7 and 3.x, while not a standard, is close enough. Guido Van Rossum also has essays on the language and it's styles and purposes as he sees them. Being that he's the BDFL of the language, his word by and large goes.

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