The best—and worst—part about being a web designer or developer is the constant need to keep learning. New standards, platforms, and programs show up all the time, and it won’t be too long before that cleanly designed and dependable WordPress site you first set up in 2004 starts to look, and function, like the iBook you still have in your closet.
So, upgrading your site’s look, adapting it for mobile readers, and taking advantage of the latest web standards isn’t an option. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to learn new things on the web, with the help of free and paid resources that realize that the text-only manual is a thing of the past. Here are seven sites that make learning responsive design, HTML 5, and CSS3 easy.
1. Smashing Magazine
Smashing Magazine combines the gloss of a magazine with the detail of an instruction manual. Their articles start with big concepts, like WordPress theme development, but quickly drill down into how to modify code to get it to do what you want. While their articles are free, they also sell print books and ebooks that give you even more detailed, and specialized tutorials.
3. Developer Drive
While many tutorial sites target web designers and developers alike, Developer Drive focuses exclusively on web developers, giving you the technical skills you need to solve the challenges presented by clients and designers. This no-frills site will keep you up to date on the latest tricks to achieve the outcomes you want from your websites.
4. Monday by Noon
As much as we love group blogs, it’s nice to keep in touch with a few solo projects. Started in 2006 by Jonathan Christopher, Monday by Noon remains a single-authored blog that features one post weekly by—you guessed it—Monday noon. Christopher’s posts give a week-by-week perspective on life as a web designer/developer, and Christopher shares what he learns in posts that are accessible, friendly, and in touch with the latest developments in the field.
Lynda is a general-purpose video training site—with videos on everything from databases to music productions—but some of its strongest offerings are in web design and development. Although it’s pricier than some of the competition, the trainings it provides are more thorough, and intense, than the free sites, so it’s a good place to start if you need to learn Joomla! from scratch, in a day (seriously, the lesson is eight and a half hours).
While most of the other web tutorials are focused on helping you solve specific problems—configuring your site for this or that device—Treehouse delivers a full-spectrum of tutorials that, together, add up to an education in web design and development. In addition to offering training videos, this membership service will also create a curriculum for you, complete with quizzes and badges for the subjects you master. Their free blog is a useful resource for the developer or designer who isn’t sure just what to learn about next.
7. 24 Ways
If a once-a-week blog is your pace, you’ll love 24 Ways, which is—no kidding—an annual advent calendar for web designers. Published only in December, this is a nice resource for those interested in the large trends in web development over the past few years.
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