“How to Become a Web Developer” Resources

December 19, 2012

In conjunction with my “How to Become a Web Developer” presentation, given to the Boston PHP user group on December 12, 2012, I’ve composed this page of Web developer resources. Such lists can quickly become overwhelming, and therefore less useful, so in compiling it, I’ve tried to stick to resources that meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Are de facto standard resources
  • Contain information not found elsewhere or not explained as well elsewhere
  • Present a unique perspective

So while the Web is happily overrun with useful resources, those listed here are ones I considerable most notable. If you have your own recommendations, please post those as comments!

I should also add that this is essentially my first draft. I’ll undoubtedly think of more things that should be on this list and update it later on. I’ll also need to flesh out some sections once I’ve thought about it more.

Oh, and in full disclosure, if you buy one of my books, obviously I get a couple of dollars. If you buy any of the books using the Amazon links below, I get a dollar or two through the affiliate program. Those are my entire financial interests regarding the things on this list. I get no money from any of the other recommendations, and all of the recommendations are ones I can make in good conscience.

General Programming

Best Programming Advice I Ever Got” by Rob Pike

Think Like a Programmer: An Introduction to Creative Problem Solving” by V. Anton Spraul (book)

The Productive Programmer” by Neal Ford (book)

The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master” by Andrew Hunt (book)

Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction” by Steve McConnell (book)

General Resources

Must read: How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

Useful for finding new things based upon your interests: PrismaticStumbleUpon

Useful for finding good answers: QuoraStackOverflow

Great training videos: Lynda.com

An online library: Safari Books Online

Tools for storing things to be read later: InstapaperPocket

Domain Registration

Register your domain name separately yourself! Do not let your hosting company get it for you (even though that may save you $10/year).





Pick a company that just does hosting! Don’t use GoDaddy and the like for your hosting.

I use ServInt.

Many people like DreamHost.

All-In-One *AMP Installers

Use your computer as a development server for free!


MAMP (Mac only)



Dive Into HTML5 by Mark Ingram

HTML5 for Web Designers by Jeremy Keith (book)

W3C Markup Validation Service


W3C CSS Validation Service

Browsers and Browser Development Tools

Install these browsers: ChromeOperaFirefox

Use these browser development tools: Opera DragonflyFirebug


PHP for the Web: Visual QuickStart Guide” by Larry Ullman (book)

PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide” by Larry Ullman (book)

PHP Advanced and Object-Oriented Programming: Visual QuickPro Guide” by Larry Ullman (book)



Grokking HTTP by Ben Ramsey

Yii Framework

Laravel Framework

Zend Framework




Salted Password Hashing – Doing it Right” by Defuse Security


Modern JavaScript: Develop and Design” by Larry Ullman (book)




Douglas Crockford

John Resig


Effortless E-commerce with PHP and MySQL” by Larry Ullman (book)

Evolving E-commerce Checkout” by Luke Wroblewski

Payment processors: StripePayPal

Buy an SSL certificate: DigiCert

Mobile Web Development

Head First Mobile Web” by Jason Grigsby et al. (book)

Ten Things to Remember When Testing RWD” by David Blooman

Ethan Marcotte

Responsive frameworks: Foundation, Twitter Bootstrap