When I ask my web UI friends what resources they would recommend to a n00b looking to develop his HTML and CSS chops, the near universal answer is to direct me to the wonderful websites A List Apart and its publishing arm, A Book Apart. For years these websites have been delivering high-quality, non-trivial articles and books on front-end web development and design. They are universally acknowledged as accurate, if not authoritative, sources of knowledge, and have been a tremendous help to me in my professional career.
A Book Apart has graciously donated one copy of each book in the Complete A Book Apart Library to be raffled during the next several months at STL ALT .NET meetings:
Each volume is a concise and fresh take on an important field in web design. Jeremy Keith’s HTML5 for Web Designers explores what the web’s new lingua franca means for working designer/developers. Dan Cederholm’s CSS3 for Web Designers shows how you can design for the experience layer today. Erin Kissane’s The Elements of Content Strategyexplains where content strategy came from, and how you can do it well. Ethan Marcotte’s Responsive Web Design demonstrates CSS techniques and design principles for crafting fluid, responsive websites. Aarron Walter’s Designing for Emotion will teach you how to you make your users fall in love with your site, while Luke Wroblewski’s Mobile First will make you a master of mobile, and improve your desktop designs, too.
I personally own digital copies of each book in this series, and I’ve finished three of six. Of particular interest to me were Ethan Marcotte’s Responsive Web Design and Luke Wroblewski’s Mobile First. Both of these books take a long look at the current state of mobile web development, and make a compelling argument that not only should developers be aware of the issues and technologies involved with the mobile web, but they should be coding their websites to take advantage of those things right now. Mobile first design — once onerous in CSS2 and HTML4 — is becoming the standard design approach as mobile phones and tablets saturate the consumer market. Mobile First makes the technological and business cases for embracing the mobile web, while Responsive Web Design shows how this can be achieved with fluid layouts, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries.
I have nothing but the highest opinion for A Book Apart, and I am excited that STL ALT .NET members will get to experience this awesomicity as well!