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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.


front-end-readsPick 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.

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.

jQuery Enlightenment by Cody Lindley – In short, it is the perfect companion for all JavaScript libraries the author had always wished for.

Websites and Blogs

Bolster your RSS feeds with updates from these valuable industry sites.

The Coding section of Smashing – Besides the regular updates on instruction, theory and trends, don’t forget to check out their “Best of Coding” subsection in the footer, which offers more onJavaScript & jQuery,WordPress,HTML5,CSS, and CSS3.

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. – It’s an “advent calendar for web geeks.” Every December since 2005, authors like Ben Bodienand Andy Clarke have been posting a new nugget of development or design wisdom. – 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.


front-end-twitterWhether 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.

Nicole Sullivan – An evangelist, front-end performance consultant, CSS Ninja, and author who’s writing covers HTML5, CSS and carpentry, among other fun and geeky topics.

Jeffrey Zeldman – We have Jeffrey to thank for A List ApartA Book ApartAn 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.

Paul Irish – His Twitter feed has plenty of front end and Chrome chatter, plus his blog is a fun mix of resources and discussions about HTML5, JavaScript, browsers, CSS3 and more.

Eric A. Meyer – An expert in HTML and CSS, Eric’s writing on CSS (Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide,CSS2.0 Programmer’s ReferenceEric Meyer on CSS) belong in every front end developer’s library.

Rebecca Murphy – Rebecca contributed to the best selling jQuery Cookbook (O’Reilly Media) and writesAdventures in JavaScript Development.

John Resig – He created the jQuery JavaScript library. What more do you need?

Denise Jacobs – The author of The CSS Detective Guide, Denise is a tireless proponent of creativity, an avid speaker on design and an absolute delight to work with.

Chris Coyier – Founder of and co-author of Digging into WordPress, the blog and the book, Chris has been called a “CSS guru.”

Lea Verou – Her blog is dedicated to mostly JavaScript and CSS3 and she has contributed to,Smashing Magazine,Webdesign Tuts+, and .net magazine.

Ethan Marcotte – That’s right. He started the whole “responsive web design” thing, and we can’t thank him enough.

Addy Osmani – This speaker and JavaScript developer at AOL regularly writes about jQuery, HTML5 and CSS3 on his blog.

Remy Sharp – Not only is he the founder and curator of the Full Frontal conference, and co-author ofIntroducing HTML5, his blog’s bio proclaims, “he’s about as crazy about JavaScript, HTML & CSS as a squirrel is about his nuts during the winter!”

Jonathan Snook – Follow this creative leader on Twitter for updates about what he had for lunch, and read his books for information about both front end and server-side development.

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!

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