Introduction to JavaScript Fall 2010

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JavaScript is a scrappy little language that has seen a lot of changes since its introduction in 1995. Though the language has often been abused, there has been a resurgence of interest since the introduction of highly dynamic web applications like Gmail and Google Maps, which take full of advantage of JavaScript's capabilities.

This class will treat JavaScript with the respect that it deserves. Instead of relying on poorly designed tools to generate half-baked JavaScript, we will be hand writing clean and compact JavaScript.

I fully expect that this class will include students with little to no experience with programming or JavaScript. Luckily, JavaScript is a simple language to work with. Unlike many other languages, JavaScript doesn't require any fancy development environments or expensive tools. I hope that everyone will come away from this class knowing a lot more about JavaScript than they did before starting.

Who's teaching this class?

My name is Matt Ephraim. I am a web developer at Metromix and I'm currently working on a Master's degree in Information Architecture at IIT.

You can contact me at

I won't have any office hours on campus, but if you would like to meet with me, I am available most days after 5pm and always available after class.

Tools for this class

This is a list of tools that will come in handy for JavaScript development. I will update this list as the class goes on.

Text Editors

For Windows

For OS X

Browser Tools

Tools for Firefox


I won't be teaching directly out of a book for this class, but there are a few books that will come in handy:

JavaScript: the Definitive Guide: this is, essentially, the JavaScript Bible. If you want to know where much of the content of this course comes from, look no further than this book. I highly recommend buying it. And make sure to get the latest edition (currently, the 5th is the latest).

JavaScript: the Good Parts: this is a brief and opinionated book, but if you're already somewhat familiar with JavaScript, it makes a good reference. It's no substitute for the Definitive Guide, but it contains some good information.


This is a list of resources that will come in handy for this class.

Interesting JavaScript Websites

Each week, I will show you an interesting example of JavaScript usage in the wild. You can find a list of all of the websites here.

Class Schedule