I’ve made it a goal to learn at least one useful thing each day so that I can stay sharp and well-versed on the topic of web development and design. To that end, here’s some of the websites I keep track of to find new techniques, resources, and news about building websites.
Most of these sites are updated frequently, so there’s never a lack of new content that fills up my Google Reader.
Because the role of the web developer is ever-expanding, I’ve also included a variety of sites that covers fields relating to web development – such information architecture, user interaction, and web/graphics design.
NETTUTS is a recently launched blog/tutorial site that provides “spoonfed web skills“. There are already plenty of useful and detailed tutorials that range from offloading static content to Amazon S3 to creating a beautiful tabbed content area using jQuery. NETTUTS is perfect for developers just starting out, since the tutorials are very thorough and in a “step by step” format. For more advanced developers, it’s an excellent source of inspiration and learning new techniques.
Web Designer Wall is a blog by Nick La that features design ideas and elaborate, stunning tutorials such as creating a CSS gradient Text Effect – a technique that uses an image overlay over normal XHTML text, and jQuery tutorials for designers which showcases ten techniques to get you started with jQuery.
I won’t say much about Smashing Magazine since most of us have probably heard of it, but if you haven’t, Smashing Magazine is an excellent resource for web designers and developers looking to be inspired. Smashing Magazine also manages to publish almost everyday, despite their very detailed and thorough posts.
Vitamin used to offer a large amount of information on the topic of web development and design. With many contributors, Vitamin managed to cover a wide range of topics including Ajax, CSS, development techniques, best practices, and workflow management. This blog merged into the Treehouse Blog.
6. Wake Up Later
Wake Up Later is the blog of Samuel Ryan, a freelance web developer/designer. Rather than covering specific web development techniques or providing tutorials, he talks about general web development related things such as reasons not to write your own code, tips on improving productivity, and common design mistakes made by developers.
Signal vs. Noise is a design/usability company blog by the people over at 37 Signals – known for developing remarkable web applications such as Basecamp and their involvement in the popular open source web application framework, Ruby On Rails. The blog gives insights about being a productive and effective web application developer and keeping things simple, with entries such as “Workaholics fixate on inconsequential details” and “Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honor“.
adaptive path’s company blog offers news and posts on the topic of user interface design. There’s a variety of useful posts that cover the topic of creating user-friendly designs (not limited to just web applications). Some things the adaptive path crew writes about are “Tips for presenting the look & feel to a client” and “The Lure of the Single Click“.
10. Tutorial Blog
Tutorial Blog used to provide handy tutorials, resources, and lists on various web development and design topics such as code snipplets for web designers and Flash tutorials. As of May 2015, the site no longer exists.
WebAppers is a blog created by Ray Cheung, a freelance web developer. The premise of WebAppers is to provide news and resources related to open source and free applications that are useful to web developers and designers. From cost-free fonts and icons to navigation menus and image galleries, WebAppers seeks to hunt down useful tools and applications aimed at reducing your time developing custom solutions.
12. Web Resources Depot
Web Resources Depot is similar to WebAppers – it discusses new web resources that web developers and designers may find helpful. Web Resources Depot is an excellent way to stay up to date with what’s currently available out there all in one place.
15. Design Float
Design Float is social media site created for web and graphics designers. Like Dzone, people get to vote up submissions. You’ll find stuff about CSS, HTML, and Photoshop submitted to Design Float.
With the name camel-cased, you already know off-the-bat that it’s a great site for developers. developerWorks offers many articles and tutorials pertaining to development topics, not just about web development, but also on related fields such as systems administration and open source technologies and applications. developerWorks has a knack for writing about complex topics and boiling it down to consumable, understandable articles.
Sharebrain is site that shares useful resources for web workers. You can find resources and tutorials on various web development and design topics such as Photoshop tutorials, Usability, SEO Tools, CMS’s, and interviews.
19. Style Grind
Style Grind was a blog that shared useful news and information about web technologies and designs. Resources and news reported by Style Grind included a variety of web development and design topics. Style Grind no longer exists.
Your value as a web developer increases when you’re proficient in design as well. Some examples would be WordPress theme developers who not only know how to develop themes, but can also design them. PSDTUTS is a great place to improve on Photoshop skills and is a site I follow to learn more about graphics/web design.
21. Design Reviver
Design Reviver aims at providing useful information for web designers. You can visit this blog to read Flash tutorials, get free downloads like Photoshop brushes, and to find design inspiration.
Blog.SpoonGraphics is a blog about graphics and web design created by Chris Spooner, a graphics and web designer. You can find many tutorials on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, free, downloadable resources like “Sliding Door” tab menus, articles for inspiration, and news.
23. John Resig
24. Boxes and Arrows
Boxes and Arrows is all about best practices, innovations, and trends in the topic of design – including information architecture, graphics design, and user interaction design. You can read about findability (how people look for information), counter-arguments of front-loading information above the fold, and web accessibility.
26. Coding Horror
Coding Horror is a very popular blog (over 100,000 RSS subscribers!) by Jeff Atwood, a software developer. He talks about web development too, posing questions such as Is HTML a Humane Markup Language?, discussing Amazon S3’s viability to host images, and sharing information on versioning databases.
27. O’Reilly Network
The O’Reilly Network by O’Reilly Media (publisher of development books) features articles and blogs pertaining to web development and open technologies. Some recent articles include Creating Applications with Amazon EC2 and S3 and Getting Started with the Google App Engine. Some blogs that are part of the O’Reilly Network include WindowsDevCenter.com (for Windows Developers), ONJava.com (topics cover the Java language) and ONLamp.com (which talks about Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP).
28. Google doctype
Google Doctype is Google’s new project that will include entries “by web developers for web developers“. Currently, it doesn’t have very many articles, but it’s certainly a resource to follow in the upcoming months.
29. Web Monkey
Web Monkey – the web developer’s resource is back! Though they’re just getting back to the swing of things, it’s definitely a website to keep track of.
Other notable sites to check out
- 24 ways – an annual collection of 24 development and design articles by some of the leading website builders.
- Noupe – Provides news and resources on web design and development.
- Vandelay Design – a blog on web design and development by Steven Snell, who contributed to Six Revisions last month.
- CSS Globe – Community-driven website on web standards.
If you’re looking for your favorite site and it’s not included here, check out something I wrote few months back called “20 Websites That Made Me A Better Web Developer” which talks about popular sites like A List Apart and 456 Berea Steet.
Because of the sheer quantity of great websites out there, I simply can’t talk about and share all of them (I wish I could), so I encourage you to share your own favorites in the comments section with the name, link, and a short description. In about a week, I’ll update this post with your suggestions. Thanks!
Updated (March 14, 2014): Corrected 3 URLs that have been moved (Snook.ca, Signal vs. Noise and adaptive path blog.