3 Free Programming Books to Learn CoffeeScript

CoffeeScript is a little language that compiles into JavaScript. Underneath that awkward Java-esque patina, JavaScript has always had a gorgeous heart. CoffeeScript is an attempt to expose the good parts of JavaScript in a simple way.

I remember when I first learned about CoffeeScript, and what it can do. It all seemed like a big joke at first, and many people didn’t hold very high expectations for this ‘programming language’.

Then, a year ago – I was watching a live-stream of an unknown programmer build a game for Ludum Dare, in CoffeeScript. I spent two days watching a couple streams at once, seeing how developers tackle problems in live environment, and I was blown away by the flexibility of CS.

I really wish I could remember the guys name, but a lot of stuff has went down since then, and so I’m unable to recall anything at all.


But, ever since it was released to the public, it has managed to grow into one of the most well-known programming languages in the world, at some points competing for the top spots on programming websites like Github, and Stack Overflow.

The great shift that has happened in community is that a lot of Node.js users are now writing their code in CoffeeScript (which compiles to JS anyway), as they both are compatible with each other. The Ruby community also seems to love CoffeeScript, thanks to the syntax implementation.

Read: 9 Flowchart Tools for Creating Charts and Diagrams

In this post, I’d like to introduce you to 3 free books that will help you get started with CoffeeScript, and at the end of the post – a link to another website that offers interactive learning for CoffeeScript, but not necessarily free.

Also, before we get to our books – you should see this post that discusses the relevance and different methods that CoffeeScript uses, and will surely help you decide on whether CS is something you’d like to learn, or perhaps leave it be for the time being.

CoffeeScript Ristretto

CoffeeScript Ristretto

CoffeeScript Ristretto is a book about programming with functions that uses the CoffeeScript programming language for the examples and exercises.

You’ll want this book if:

  • You want to learn CoffeeScript and understand it thoroughly, rather than just learn about basic syntax.
  • You’re already a CoffeeScript programmer, but looking to advance your knowledge and experience with additional ways of working with the language.
  • You’re looking to learn more about functions, and how to use them in programming.

I’ve linked to the books original page, and you might notice that there is a price-tag set for it, but – there is also a little button that says ‘Read online’, which is what we want. The book can be read for free online. Follow this link to get started.

It’s definitely not a very long book at 140 pages, but the main thing you’ll be learning about is functions and classes, and how they make CS what it is today.

1. Smooth CoffeeScript

Smooth CoffeeScript
There are 35 exercises in total, plenty to get you started! Seriously, this is a great resource and anyone learning or practicing CoffeeScript should add it to their collection. You can choose from a traditional PDF / HTML format, or you can go all out on a interactive tutorial – which will enable you to write and see code perform directly in the browser, as well as provide you with the solutions from within the same section.

You’ll find a lot of copies of this book online, but believe me – the Github page that I linked is the only legitimate source of fetching / reading this book, not saying others aren’t – but you know how it goes.

2. The Little Book on CoffeeScript

The Little Book on CoffeeScript
It does seem like there is newer version of this book available, but unfortunately – the link it leads to will require a lunch worth of payment to be made, in order to get access to it. But, the book itself – older version – is still valuable, and worthy of having in the collection – if only for the explanations of some of the functions of CS.

Like for example the syntax section, it’s quite brief – but thorough at the same time, and so it can in the long-term save you a lot of time, by not having to view large tutorials and scan through those. Good reference book, lets put it that way.

3. CoffeeScript – Code School

CoffeeScript Code School
This is the website I was talking about at the beginning of the post: CodeSchool offers a practical and very efficient interactive course for getting started with CoffeeScript, unfortuntely – only the first lesson is available for free, and to access the rest you’ll need to purchase a subscription.


I’m not affiliated or partnered with Code School (not yet, anyway), but I do think that it is a good place to start learning more about CS, and perhaps you can afford to shell out some bucks to acquire new knowledge.

There are 6 levels you’ll be working with, which will add up to 36 challenges in total.

Learning CoffeeScript for Free

These are all the resources I had built up in my collection, and I do hope that they’ll prove to be useful to you, and that you’ll be able to pick up this language at a much quicker pace – if we think in terms of free learning.

It’s just JavaScript, so don’t sweat it too much.