Helpful Books for Front-End Developers

“Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.” –Patti Smith

There are many great pathways to glean new information out there, whether it be on the web or in a class. Your mileage may vary depending on your learning style or the topic at hand. With the tech industry, evolution often occurs at a faster rate than print media can keep up.

Still, sometimes a good ol’ print version of what you need comes along that earns its place on your bookshelf. Maybe it got there after you heard it mentioned for the tenth time. Maybe it is the book you always find yourself lending out to someone when they want to dip their feet in to a new niche (regardless of the evolution of name-your-favourite-framework-here.js). Maybe it is the book that someone leant to you at a crucial step of your learning. There are brilliant books for front-end developers out there–and they are definitely worth looking over.

A single book won’t be able to provide you with the breadth of information necessary, especially with today’s multi-dimensional coding ecosystems. Often, books cite wonderfully curated online resources so you are able to use their foundation as a jumping off point for knowledge expansion.

The WordPress-specific

WebDevStudios is abundant with people who know more than a few things about WordPress–with a stack of books to their credit, no less! One book from this list is Professional WordPress: Design and Development, which starts from a top-level view on WordPress then digs down into all the nitty-gritty. Sure, I’m biased, but this is a wonderful additional to any WordPress developer’s bookshelf.

The Process

For those who want to know more about the principles of intuitive navigation and information design, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, by Steve Krug, is an excellent straight-forward resource for both beginners and the more-seasoned on how people connect with interfaces. This is a good resource for management, designers, and developers alike.Print book covers displayed in line

The Visual

Are you more visually inclined? Jon Duckett’s books on HTML/CSS and JavaScript/jQuery may be a good fit. They each include code examples and there is a general assumption of little-to-no previous programming experience that make these a good beginner’s starting point and reference.

The Varied

Smashing Magazine offers many great resources and one compilation is Smashing Book 5: Real-Life Responsive Web Design. While responsive design is a default these days, this gathers techniques and strategies on everything from workflow to SVGs to debugging. (There is a level of assumed knowledge and experience in many chapters.)

The Non-Code Code Books
  • Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software: Starting with Morse Code and working its way linearly through telegraphs, barcodes and I/O devices, this isn’t going to teach you how to better implement code but you will likely have a new respect for the history behind the work you’re doing (Published in 2000, so don’t expect discussion of technologies beyond)
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking: Okay, this one has truly nothing to do specifically with code. This book explores the dominant values of business culture and how the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked.

What are some other must-reads that you have on your bookshelf?


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