When personal computers were first introduced, most of them came equipped with a simple programming language, usually a variant of BASIC. Interacting with the computer was closely integrated with this language, and thus every computer-user, whether he wanted to or not, would get a taste of it. Now that computers have become plentiful and cheap, typical users don't get much further than clicking things with a mouse. For most people, this works very well. But for those of us with a natural inclination towards technological tinkering, the removal of programming from every-day computer use presents something of a barrier.

Fortunately, as an effect of developments in the World Wide Web, it so happens that every computer equipped with a modern web-browser also has an environment for programming JavaScript. In today's spirit of not bothering the user with technical details, it is kept well hidden, but a web-page can make it accessible, and use it as a platform for learning to program.

That is what this (hyper-)book tries to do.

Besides explaining JavaScript, this book tries to be an introduction to the basic principles of programming. Programming, it turns out, is hard. The fundamental rules are, most of the time, simple and clear. But programs, while built on top of these basic rules, tend to become complex enough to introduce their own rules, their own complexity. Because of this, programming is rarely simple or predictable. As Donald Knuth, who is something of a founding father of the field, says, it is an art.

To get something out of this book, more than just passive reading is required. Try to stay sharp, make an effort to solve the exercises, and only continue on when you are reasonably sure you understand the material that came before.