3+ Free Must-Have Programming Books For Your Summer Reading List

Jessica Cam Wong 12-06-2012

Want to be productive this summer? If your answer is no, I’m surprised you’re reading this article, but since you’re already here, you might as well read about some potentially productive things. Say, reading some great beginner-grade materials especially if you have an interest in making some of your own Chrome extensions, Windows programs, etc.


We have published a number of articles with links to programming video tutorials 14+ YouTube Playlists To Watch & Learn Computer Programming Quickly With the advent and growth of YouTube and plenty of other high-quality video-sharing websites and tools like flashcard software, learning new things visually by yourself has never been easier. Since it never hurts to learn... Read More , interactive learning modules 3 Interactive, Fun, Free Ways To Start Learning The Ruby Programming Language Ruby is an expressive, very high-level, scripting language. It is used on the Web mainly as part of the Ruby on Rails web development framework, but also standalone. If you’re curious about what Ruby (not... Read More , and even our own programming lessons The Basics Of Computer Programming 101 - Variables And DataTypes Having introduced and talked a little about Object Oriented Programming before and where its namesake comes from, I thought it's time we go through the absolute basics of programming in a non-language specific way. This... Read More , but sometimes, you might just need a good book to immerse yourself in. Lucky for you, up next I’ve gathered a list of legally free programming books that can get you started with learning how to program, scripting and even making your own websites.

Thinking in C++ by Bruce Eckel

programming books

Thinking in C++ How to Learn C++ Programming: 6 Sites to Get Started Want to learn C++? Here are the best websites and online courses to C++ for beginners and experience programmers alike. Read More is a free electronic book in its second edition that consists of two volumes. The first volume constitutes an introduction to C++ while the second one contains more advanced topics and testing techniques as well as exercises. This book earned a Software Development Jolt Cola Award for best book of the year in 1995 when it was released, but it has seen changes to reflect the updates of the ANSI/ISO C++ standard.

The author of the book also has written various books on Java, Python and more, many of which are available for free from his site. With that much experience writing books, it’s no surprise that his books have earned quite respectable reviews on Amazon. In fact, the first volume has an average of 4.5 stars from 91 customer reviews, while the second volume also averages 4.5 stars from 18 reviews. If those aren’t signs of a great book that you should totally include in your summer reading list, I don’t know what is.

Dive Into HTML5 by Mark Pilgrim [No Longer Available]

Want to make some slick 10 Websites to See What HTML5 Is All About Read More web 5+ Impressive Free HTML5 Games You Can Play In Your Browser HTML5 signifies the evolution of markup language as we know it. Flash games were once the norm when it came to browser-based entertainment, but now thanks to the powerful nature of HTML5 many web applications,... Read More apps? You know, polished 15 Sites That Do Amazing Things With HTML5 Read More mobile map web apps or websites with awesome drag-and-drop features? This resource to learn HTML 5 will be very handy. Brought to you by the same people that have released Dive Into Python The 5 Best Websites to Learn Python Programming Want to learn Python programming? Here are the best ways to learn Python online, many of which are entirely free. Read More , this Creative Commons How To Find Creative Commons Content With Google Creative Commons content isn’t always as easy to find as you think. In fact, most things that you find and copy are copyrighted in a way that makes it illegal to copy it without asking... Read More licensed 3 Tips For Getting More Out Of Creative Commons Read More book is also available from Github. You can additionally purchase a physical copy on Amazon, which has accumulated an average of 4 stars from 60 customer reviews.


programming books

Eloquent Javascript by Marijn Haverbeke

free programming books

Have you used bookmarklets 20 Must-Have Bookmarklets for Your Web Browser Read More (you should Stop Installing Browser Add-ons - For a Faster, Leaner Browser Use Bookmarklets Instead Read More )? If yes, you’ve been clicking on pieces of JavaScript code 6 Bookmarklets That Will Boost Your Web Surfing Speed and Productivity Bookmarklets are unsuspicious little helpers that sit in your browser's bookmarks bar. Unlike your regular bookmarks, they don't archive a URL, rather bookmarklets are small java applets with a one-click functionality. There are hundreds of... Read More then. How about Chrome extensions The Best Chrome Extensions A list of only the best extensions for Google Chrome, including suggestions from our readers. Read More ? Those can have JavaScript What is JavaScript and How Does It Work? [Technology Explained] Read More code underneath as well, in addition to HTML and CSS of course. JavaScript is the scripting language of the web so lots of websites use it to make pages interactive and fun. And no, its name should not confuse you into thinking that JS is derived from the Java programming language created by Sun. Still, that doesn’t make it any less capable, something you’ll find out reading Eloquent Javascript, which has a more updated version on Amazon. The version being offered under an open license on its official site is still a rich resource with interactive examples. When you’re done reading this, you might even want to check out the  Creative Commons 10 Different Creative Commons Projects That You Should Definitely Pay Attention To Creative Commons has succeeded in championing the cause of open content. So much so that large swathes of intellectual properties are being kept open in the public domain…all licensed under Creative Commons. Let's take a... Read More -licensed book jQuery Fundamentals.

Bonus: The Python Tutorial (Release 3.3)

OK, I know this one doesn’t count as an e-book, but it’s an extensive resource that will probably feel like reading a booklet for learning Python. Python is a rapid-prototyping language that’s perfect for beginners with no programming experience or even experienced programmers with no previous exposure to Python. In fact, that’s the first language Computer Science students (at my University at least) are taught because it’s fairly easy to learn and read. Don’t believe me? Just head to the official Python The 10 Best Open Source Projects You Should Be Volunteering To Help With You don't have to be a programmer. You could be a writer, a designer, a translator, just a Facebook or Twitter junkie, or someone who wants to just donate money for the cause. There are... Read More site, which offers an excellent resource to learn the language from. This one is probably better for reading on your computer as there are different sections and modules for review. This release (3.3) is actually dated June 1st of this year, so it’s quite updated, ready for you to start reading.


free programming books

Another resource to note is the Non-Programmer’s Tutorial for Python 3 from Wikibooks 7 Amazing, Yet Overlooked, Wikimedia Projects You Should Check Out Read More , which indicates that it’s meant for individuals with no previous programming experience, though I’m sure intermediate programmers could also find the tutorial useful. There’s even a print-friendly version for those that want a physical copy of the tutorial.

programming books

For additional resources to learn Python, check out a more complete list of Python-teaching sites The 5 Best Websites to Learn Python Programming Want to learn Python programming? Here are the best ways to learn Python online, many of which are entirely free. Read More .


What other good programming ebooks can you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Sudeepto Dutta
    September 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Nice post Mam..

    But I want to ask a very basic but important question (for me of course :) )

    I have started learning python 2 but after reading Joel Lee's post


    I am confused right now about one thing... whether to learn python 3 or 2 ..??

    He says in his post that if you are a newbie you should go for Python 3

    What should I do..??

    Please reply ASAP

    Thank You

  2. Vignesh Varadarajan
    June 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Need more book for python

  3. Scutterman
    June 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I got the C++ downloads, though I would have bought the physical copies if they weren't so expensive.

  4. Prakash Senapati
    June 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    "hello world"
    >>>this is programming
    >>>growing faster than the jet
    >>>exploring every aspect

  5. Damian
    June 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    So which should I learn, Java or C++ first? This fall, I enroll college for computer science. One of my classes in this first semester is java programming, I guess I suppose learn Java first before C++, is that right?

    • Jessica Cam Wong
      June 17, 2012 at 2:03 am

      In your case, I'd recommend Java so you can be in tip-top shape for your fall class.

      Personally though, I wish I had started with C/C++ because I think it helps you learn more programming concepts, whereas Java is fairly easy to pick up (in my opinion anyway).

      See what other programmers on StackOverflow think about this very dilemma: [Broken URL Removed]

  6. ElHaj
    June 12, 2012 at 6:11 am

    also on the same site of the book thinking in C++ there is a good C video tutorial intended toward beginners.
    [Broken URL Removed]

    • Jessica Cam Wong
      June 17, 2012 at 2:04 am

      I didn't know that was available! Thanks for sharing!

      • ElHaj
        June 17, 2012 at 7:54 am


  7. Nick Bruce
    June 12, 2012 at 5:08 am

    I am really glad to see web development on this list. Web dev is becoming more and more important every year.

  8. Arun Singh
    June 12, 2012 at 12:51 am

    please mention some free Java books .

    • Justin Boyle
      June 12, 2012 at 1:12 am

      If you go to Bruce Eckel's site, he has a Java book available.