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

Web development books are a genre of nonfiction. Subjects of web development books include web design, usability, and different programming languages, such as JavaScript. Web development books are typically instructional and how-to in tone. They often provide readers with tools and exercises that can improve their web development skills. These books can be helpful for anyone looking to learn how to create a website, whether for personal or professional use. If you’re interested in the genre, you’re going to love our list of the 20 best web development books.


HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites, 1st Edition by Jon Duckett

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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.

JavaScript and jQuery

JavaScript and jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development, 1st Edition by Jon Duckett

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Similar to our aforementioned top choice, Jon Duckett’s JavaScript and jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development is also a web development instruction gold mine. This book focuses specifically on basic programming concepts in JavaScript and jQuery. It is written for an audience with no prior knowledge of programming beyond HTML and CSS. It’s also colorfully illustrated with infographics and photos, which make it an excellent choice for visual learners. Duckett has written or co-authored over a dozen books on web design and programming.

Eloquent JavaScript, 3rd Edition

Eloquent JavaScript, 3rd Edition: A Modern Introduction to Programming by Marijn Haverbeke

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Writing real applications is Marijn Haverbeke’s focus in Eloquent JavaScript . This tutorial-style book is written for anyone who works with JavaScript, especially for programmers working with modern web application frameworks. Topics covered include asynchronous programming, error handling, and bug fixing. The book also walks you through projects, including writing a simple programming language. Haverbeke is an independent programmer and tech writer from Berlin.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Master the World’s Most-Used Programming Language, 7th Edition by David Flanagan

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JavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan was written for a large audience that includes computer science students and seasoned software developers. It’s a comprehensive and definitive book that explains all aspects of JavaScript, including values, data structures, components, and language extensions. The new seventh edition contains chapters and updates that cover the most recent version of JavaScript. Flanagan is a computer programmer and author who works at Mozilla.

Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript

Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript: With jQuery, CSS & HTML5 by Robin Nixon

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Robin Nixon’s Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript introduces readers to several crucial web developer languages. This hands-on book is written for an audience that has a basic understanding of HTML and can create simple websites. At the book’s conclusion, Nixon promises readers they’ll be able to build a fully functional, dynamic social networking site. Nixon is a software developer from England who has written over 30 books.

CSS Secrets

CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems by Lea Verou

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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 by Steve Krug

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 3rd Edition by Steve Krug

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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.

JavaScript: The Good Parts

JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

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JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford is for programmers who are learning JavaScript for the first time or for those who have some experience with the language but are looking to learn more. Among the topics covered are JavaScript’s “beautiful features” as well as methods, style, and syntax. Also examined are the weaknesses of JavaScript and how to sidestep them. Crockford is an author, speaker, and senior JavaScript architect at Yahoo!.

Learn JavaScript VISUALLY

Learn JavaScript VISUALLY With Interactive Exercises by Ivelin Demirov

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Visual and hands-on learners are the target audience for Ivelin Demirov’s book Learn JavaScript VISUALLY With Interactive Exercises. This richly illustrated book breaks down the fundamentals of JavaScript for programming newbies via metaphors, analogies, colorful drawings, and easy step-by-step exercises. Topics included are data types, functions, methods, constructors, and prototypes. Demirov is a Canadian entrepreneur who founded River Cleaner, a machine learning technology that studies Amazon data points.

Learning Web Design

Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Graphics, 5th Edition by Jennifer Robbins

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A solid introduction to web design concepts can be found in Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Graphics by Jennifer Robbins. Ideal for students and self-learners, the book is written in a conversational style that focuses on the fundamentals of several programming languages. Exercises and short quizzes are a part of each chapter and ensure you understand key concepts. Robbins is a speaker, instructor, and author who has been a professional web designer since 1993.

PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites

PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide by Larry Ullman

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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.

Web Design With HTML, CSS, JavaScript

Web Design With HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery Set by Jon Duckett

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Web Design With HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery Set by Jon Duckett is a pair of two books for readers who want to master HTML and CSS before advancing to JavaScript and jQuery. The set is geared toward beginner web designers and front-end developers. Topics include thinking in boxes, Google Analytics, styling books, and tables. Both books are colorful, easy to navigate, and include illustrations, photography, and infographics. Duckett is a website designer who has worked with many global brands and has written or co-authored over a dozen books.

Designing With Web Standards

Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman

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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

Node Cookbook by Bethany Griggs

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Bethany Griggs’ Node Cookbook is a thorough overview of everything you need to know about Node JavaScript, an open source server environment. The book is written for anyone who wants to learn NodeJS or improve their skill. It’s particularly beneficial for beginners because it offers comprehensive examples that cover many practical situations. Topics of discussion include streams, working with web frameworks, debugging Node, and using web protocols. Griggs is a software engineer and scrum master with the IBM Runtime Technologies Node.js team.

Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja

Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja, 2nd Edition by John Resig, Bear Bibeault, and Josip Maras

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Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja by John Resig, Bear Bibeault, and Josip Maras is for current JavaScript users who wish to take their skills to the next level. The book is rich with practical examples that illustrate each core concept and technique, such as managing asynchronous code with promises. It also includes a free eBook in PDF, Kindle, and ePub formats. Resig is head of JavaScript development at Khan Academy, Bibeault is a web developer, and Maras is a researcher and faculty member at the University of Split in Croatia.

You Don’t Know JS Yet

You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started by Kyle Simpson

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You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started by Kyle Simpson offers a big-picture look at JavaScript. This book is the first in a set of six books by the author on the subject and focuses on the language of JavaScript, common myths, building blocks, and roots and pillars. At under 150 pages, it’s written in a clear and concise style that explains deep aspects of the language in an understandable way. Simpson is a software engineer who has written 10 books on JavaScript.

A Practical Guide to Linux Commands

A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming by Mark G. Sobell

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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

A Smarter Way to Learn HTML & CSS by Mark Myers

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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.

A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript

A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript by Mark Myers

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Mark Myers takes a cognitive approach to teaching JavaScript in A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript. Each key topic is presented in less than 10 minutes of reading and then followed up with 20 questions that the reader can use on a practice website that covers these key elements. This is an excellent book for those new to JavaScript and those who retain knowledge best through short readings, memorization, and quizzes. Myers is a self-taught coder and former lecturer in the Communications School of Boston University.

A Software Engineer Learns HTML5

A Software Engineer Learns HTML5, JavaScript and jQuery, 1st Edition by Dane Cameron

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The target audience for Dane Cameron’s A Software Engineer Learns HTML5, JavaScript and jQuery  is experienced software engineers writing large-scale, standards-based web applications for the first time. It is assumed that readers have some background in HTML and programming. Cameron’s writing style is clear and concise, and he covers topics that include web storage, implementing offline web applications, and server-sent events. Cameron is a senior solutions architect who lives in New Zealand.