32 Indispensable Resources for Front End Developers
The success of your front end development career will depend mostly on how dedicated and skilled you are, but you’ll also need a fully stocked arsenal of resources and guides to get and stay ahead in this ever evolving industry. In no particular order, these books, blogs, websites, podcasts and industry leaders will help you learn or refine crucial front end techniques, keep you on top of emerging development trends and help you build the best skill set for your career goals.
Pick up these publications for everything from beginners guidance to advanced front end techniques and examples.
Dive Into HTML5 by Mark Pilgrim - A free reference that’s great for beginners who want to gain a solid understanding of the basics.
Developing with Web Standards by John Allsopp – An informative guide for developing today and a look at what the future may hold for front end developers.
Bullet Proof Ajax by Jeremy Keith – Based on the ideas of graceful degradation and progressive enhancement, this is a good step-by-step guide for enhancing web pages using Ajax.
O'Reilly Media Guides: Great for beginners as well as seasoned front end pros who need a reliable reference, these are just a couple of the library’s essential reads.
- High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers by Steve Sounder
A Book of CSS3: A Developer’s Guide to the Future of Web Design by Peter Gasston – Bring the visual elements of your work to the next level with this intermediate level exploration of what can be done with CSS3.
Websites and Blogs
Bolster your RSS feeds with updates from these valuable industry sites.
Think Vitamin – This website offers advice, trends and instruction on the topics that matter most to front end developers, as well as web designers.
The Writings of Luke Wroblewski –Luke’s writings include a wide range of digital topics (product design,usability, business, strategy, etc) plus his takeaways from design/development events are a must read to stay informed and inspired.
SitePoint.com – With articles dedicated to instruction, news and trends in HTML5, CSS, WordPress, and jQuery, plus forums containing thousands of threads, this site is an excellent destination for learning and sharing your expertise with others.
UX Magazine – Front end developers who have a solid understanding of usability and user experience are more valuable, so why not explore the user side of what you build?
Podcasts and more
For when your eyes just can’t handle any more code, here are 2 great podcasts to check out and a couple of very helpful collections.
yayQuery Podcast – Featuring Paul Irish, Rebecca Murphy, Adam J. Sontag and Alex Sexton, the episodes cover various jQuery and front end topics including trends, new tools and techniques.
The Big Web Show by 5by5 – This fun podcast covers a wide variety of web based topics with hosts Dan Benjamin and Jeffrey Zeldman. “It’s everything web that matters.”
Paul Irish’s Google Reader “frontend” Bundle and “frontend-standards+browsers” Bundle – Add these to your reader and the wealth of information from over 300 feeds related to front end development is at your finger tips.
60 Useful Web Developer Cheat Sheet Collection – Cheat sheets are helpful time saving resources that make the really complex elements, attributes and formats a lot easier to remember and implement. This list from Tripwire Magazine is just one of hundreds that can be found online.
Whether you follow them on Twitter and Google+, read their blogs and books, or hear them speak at conferences, paying attention to the wisdom and wit of these leading designers and developers will benefit your career immensely.
Jeffrey Zeldman – We have Jeffrey to thank for A List Apart, A Book Apart, An Event Apart, and The Big Web Show, as well as the foundational web standards text, Designing with Web Standards, written with Ethan Marcotte. Enough said, right?
Molly E. Holzschlag – Molly is an amazing resource of information for developers and designers and a must follow on Twitter. She is also an expert trainer in front-end Web development with HTML, HTML5, XHTML and CSS.
Eric A. Meyer – An expert in HTML and CSS, Eric’s writing on CSS (Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide,CSS2.0 Programmer's Reference, Eric Meyer on CSS) belong in every front end developer’s library.
Since there are hundreds of resources out there for front end developers, this list is just a tiny fraction of all the useful additions you can throw in your career arsenal. If you already have your favorite reads and people to follow that we missed here, help us make this list more complete by telling us about them below. Your fellow front end pros will thank you!