One of the great aspects of web development is learning the many different technologies associated with both the frontend and backend. Who knows when you may need to work with UI design, business logic design, data store, infrastructure setup … the list goes on!

I’ve collected a few sites that should be useful for growing your web development skill set and knowledge base. None of them are language specific; instead, they focus more on issues and solutions.

Stack Overflow

icon-stackDescription: A question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers.
URL: http://stackoverflow.com/
Cost:
Free
User Base: over 2,000,000
When to Visit: When you have specific (or broad) programming query.
Registration/Sign-in required? No.
Features: Search by questions, tags, and users. You are expected to thoroughly search for an answer before asking a question.

Quora

icon-quoraDescription: Known as “your best source for knowledge”, this site is where industry experts and enthusiasts answer questions asked by community members about all kinds of topics.
URL: http://www.quora.com/
Cost: Free
User Base: around 2 million
When to Visit: Great for architectural design questions as well as just about any question related to programming.
Registration/Sign-in required? Yes.
Features: Search questions and answers, open questions, blog posts, and reviews. You can also add email notifications on questions you’ve asked and/or answered. It will take 5-10 minutes for you to set up your Quora profile, which includes topic areas of interest. (Nerd FYI: Quora uses Pylons and Comet for its backend and Ubuntu Linux as its operating system with MySQL as its database.)

Smashing Magazine

icon-smashingDescription: An online magazine for professional Web designers and developers, with a focus on useful techniques, best practices, and valuable resources
URL: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
Cost: Free
User Base: there are over 160,000 newsletter subscribers
When to Visit: Great for questions about coding, design, mobile, graphics, UX design, and WordPress.
Registration/Sign-in required? No. Comments are moderated.
Features: Search by topic or specific subject to read articles and tutorials. The Smashing Library, which contains over 60 e-books, does cost to use. Smashing Magazine has an active community so take advantage of asking (and answering) questions in the comments.

Mozilla Developer Network

icon-mdnDescription: Organized by topics and provides documentation about extensions, themes, applications, frameworks and technologies for developers.
URL: https://developer.mozilla.org/
Cost: Free
User Base: over 2 million visitors a month
When to Visit: Great for questions about web basics (like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) as well as in-depth tutorials, guides and tools.
Registration/Sign-in required? No. However, joining allows you to edit docs, submit demos, and have your own profile page.
Features: Search docs by topic, browse tutorials and guides, and get involved with the MDN community. There are sections for making apps, building and using Firefox, and seeing/submitting demos, too.

Web Platform

icon-wpDescription: “Your Web, documented.” An open community of developers building resources for a better web, regardless of brand, browser or platform. Anyone can contribute.
URL: http://www.webplatform.org/
Cost: Free
User Base: around 20,000 page views a month
When to Visit: Hot topics include HTML5, SVG, CSS, animations, transforms, and file APIs.
Registration/Sign-in required? No. You must sign-in to edit.
Features: Still in alpha but I expect it to continue to grow. The site is divided into six sections: docs, editing, discussion, blog, community, and issues. You can also view recent changes and edit history to any of the wiki pages, which is pretty neat.

SitePoint

icon-spDescription: Learn Web Design & Development with tutorials, courses and books – focuses on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby on Rails, mobile app development, and Responsive Web Design.
URL: http://www.sitepoint.com/
Cost: Free
User Base: around 130,000 visitors a month
When to Visit: Want to learn how to do something related to web design and development?  What you can’t find on the site should be answered in the forums.
Registration/Sign-in required? No. You must register to use the forums.
Features: Browse the site by topic, and then cruise the forums. Under each topic, you can sort by skill level (beginner or advanced). Most content is written to instruct, help, and teach.

What other resources would you add to this post? Please share in the comments below.

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About Leah Beatty

I am the Communications Manager at SmartFile. What I lack in technical programming knowledge I make up in gumption (or so I've been told). I'm a total geek for social media and marketing with a background in SEO and content. I also have one of the most extensive .gif collections this side of the Mississippi.

1 thought on “6 Resources for Learning Web Development”

  1. Web development is a collection of technogies that work together to make the internets. My advice is don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. A website uses HTML for the layout, CSS to make the HTML beautiful, JavaScript to make the html interactive, and a server side language to serve up the website or API.

    A more design inclined person should start with HTML and CSS whereas a more logical/mathmatical person should start with the server side langauage. If you can do both well, you are a rare gem and will surely be in demand.

    As far as tools and reference for absolute beginner, I recomend http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html and http://www.php.net/manual/en/

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