Web development is the process of website building, creation, and maintenance. Employers in today’s digital age seek employees who possess web development skills. Thankfully, these skills can be self-taught and continually strengthened, whether you’re a student or a seasoned professional in your field. Here we share the best web development books for learners of all levels and types. Unlike some book lists that focus on one domain — like web development in the business world — our list features books with wide applicability. We’ve also included books written by authors from a diverse array of voices and backgrounds because web development is a skill we can all cultivate, no matter who we are.
How We Picked the Best Web Development Books
To create our list of the best web development books, we scoured the New York Times bestseller list and other online “best of” lists. The result was a collection of 98 books dedicated to the topic. We then narrowed the books down to this list of 20, basing our research on overall popularity and online materials like reviews and common recommendations. We wanted the books on this list to be practical for people interested in a web development career, so many of them include exercises and different learning formats for different kinds of learners. Additionally, because many popular web development books came up in multiple categories we researched for our “best” lists, we have done our best to prevent duplicate recommendations across our lists on Intelligent.com.
The 20 Best Web Development Books
HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites, 1st Edition by Jon DuckettBuy Now
Our top pick for web development books is the acclaimed HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by bestselling author Jon Duckett. This instructional web development book is different from many others on the market in that it’s printed in full color and designed to look like a magazine. The book is appropriate for both beginners and professionals alike. It will appeal to anyone looking for common sense and winning, established approaches to web development. Duckett has designed and delivered web and mobile projects for brands like Nike and Xerox.
CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems by Lea VerouBuy Now
CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems by Lea Verou is a practical guide for intermediate-to-advanced CSS developers. The book was inspired by Verou’s presentations at over 60 international web development conferences. Topics covered include
typography, user experience, structure, and layout. Verou is a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the W3C CSS Working Group, the committee that designed the CSS language.
Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 3rd Edition by Steve KrugBuy Now
Usability is the focus of Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. This practical and popular book made its debut in 2000, and this edition contains fresh examples and a new chapter on mobile usability. It’s written for anyone looking for best practices in web design when it comes to intuitive navigation and user experience. Krug is an author, speaker, and usability consultant who has worked with Apple, AOL, Lexus, and other companies.
PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide by Larry UllmanBuy Now
Larry Ullman’s PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide is intended for anyone who wants to learn the PHP language and MySQL database from an experienced programmer. It contains complete scripts, expert tips, step-by-step instructions, and sample applications. Ullman was the president of the digital media technologies company Current State! and has written over 20 books on computer programming.
Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey ZeldmanBuy Now
The importance of designing with shared standards is Jeffrey Zeldman’s focus in Designing with Web Standards. This is not a comprehensive CSS instruction book but rather a deep dive into the history, value, and current state of web standards. The book is suitable for anyone involved in the web development process, including designers, nonprogrammers, and supervisors. It’s written in simple language without a heavy emphasis on code. Zeldman is a long-time web designer who founded The Web Standards Project in 1998.
Node Cookbook by Bethany GriggsBuy Now
You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started by Kyle SimpsonBuy Now
A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming by Mark G. SobellBuy Now
Mark G. Sobell offers a foundational Linux reference in A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming. At over 1,200 pages, this book is not for those looking for a quick review of Linux. Instead, this book is for students and professionals who are seeking a comprehensive Linux reference they can keep on their desks to answer any question that pops up. The book’s 300+ page reference section covers 102 utilities, including the macOS command line (which is not typically covered in depth in Linux guides). Sobell is the president of a consulting firm that specializes in UNIX and Linux training, support, and software development.
A Smarter Way to Learn HTML & CSS by Mark MyersBuy Now
Learn-by-doing is the theme of A Smarter Way to Learn HTML & CSS by Mark Myers. The concisely written book is for beginners to HTML and CSS and comes with free interactive online exercises that illustrate the fundamentals of both languages. It’s estimated that readers spend two to three times as long practicing via these exercises than actually reading the book. Myers learned web development using the technique he now shares with others: reading, exercises, and practice.