Reading this book by Ethan Brown reminded me of my first book on Rails: It felt right. Ethan assembled a well-paced, hands-on and up-to-date (‘Yay!’ for using Express 4) tutorial for your first steps with Node and Express. If you know your way around JavaScript but need a book that gives you the tools and basics to deploy your first web app fast, then this is for you.

On 300 pages and in 23 chapters, Ethan gives you the whole tour starting with an intro to Node and Express, writing about testing, middleware, routing, security and taking you straight to your first deployed web application. Together you create the contrived but full-fledged website Meadowlark Travel. The code is on Github and tagged with the chapter numbers, so simply git checkout the corresponding code stage if you rather want to follow along instead of typing every line of code yourself. To get most out of the book, though, I recommend building your own app as you read.

Ethan uses a simple language and yet a very encouraging tone. He seems so enthusiastic about everything which makes reading the book really fun actually. I looked forward to every new chapter. But don’t make the mistake of confusing that with a low demand profile—this is not an introduction to HTML and JavaScript.

Most important, this book is for programmers who are excited. Excited about the future of the Internet, and want to be part of it. Excited about learning new things, new techniques, and new ways of looking at web development. If, dear reader, you are not excited, I hope you will be by the time you reach the end of this book…
—Ethan Brown

Stack-wise it should be mentioned that the author uses Handlebars as the templating engine and MongoDB as the database system. However, Ethan also includes general thoughts and hints about templating and data persistency so it is not too hard to use your preferred choice.

I learned a ton of stuff and if you are like me and feel the urge to dive deeper into certain topics then you might be happy to know that you are good to go with this book as your solid foundation. I even go back to this title as a reference on basic usage, certain modules and best practices. Highly recommended for Node beginners!