Front-end development has become a challenging field to break into. It goes beyond the basic HTML/CSS skills and now demands a wide range of technical skills. Javascript know-how is needed even for entry level positions nowadays and add to that a growing number of competing frameworks, techniques, libraries, and tricks. Some of these feel like a natural extensions and can be easily absorbed, others have a very high learning curve and even short shelf date. It ain’t easy for a front-end dev out there.

I knew the spirit of the web was lost a few years ago when pre-processors appeared and were required to output a web page. The spirit of the web was that it was OPEN, a text editor was all you needed. Nowadays, with frameworks and SASS and LESS and other tools, the raw openness of the web has lost some of its charm. Sure, a dev saves some time but it ultimately kills the concept of the web – OPEN. What other technology can you simply right-click on and view the source code? The issue I have with it is  you’re still seeing source code but only what’s been output by a framework and preprocessor and server, not the original HTML/CSS as it was written. Server side and dynamically built pages are not new but there was still a directness from coding to go-live that required fewer middle-men to get the job done. That’s also why it’s become increasingly harder to become a self-taught front-end dev… You can’t just study someone’s raw code by viewing source on a web page. That’s the price of complexity and progress, I guess. Anyway, I don’t want to be that guy, lamenting the parks and forests that were turned into parking lots and strip malls. Like I said, progress… and some of it is pretty cool, I must admit.

There’s a new book out that will help you make sense of all this and answer some important questions. Go check it out at Gitbooks ( It has everything you need to kick things off and become familiar with all the front-end skills needed.

The handbook is divided into three parts.

Part I. The Front-End Practice

Part one broadly describes the practice of front-end engineering.

Part II: Learning Front-End Development

Part two identifies self-directed and direct resources for learning to become a front-end developer.

Part III: Front-End Development Tools

Part three briefly explains and identifies tools of the trade.

Some chapters and topics are just a list of links to other sites that help you get tools or provide more details. If you’re considering breaking into this field or enhancing your existing skills, this is a great book and resource.