7 Best Books to Become a Front-End Developer in 2021
As someone who has been a front-end developer for many years, let me tell you — front-end development is a profession that moves lightning-fast. New frameworks, libraries, and technologies are emerging all the time.
And yet, front-end development can be the most underrated development profession. But in 2021, that’s changing.
This can be overwhelming, but a path to front-end development is in reach. With some books, some courses, and some practice — you can start a front-end development career.
In this article, let’s talk about some of the books you might want in your library to prepare you for a career change into front-end web development.
Why Learn Front End Development
Here are few reasons you should learn front end development:
Front-end web developers are in demand: Front-end web developers are in great demand these days. For any commercial websites or apps, a front-end developer is needed for any application because that matters more.
Front-end development is a lucrative career: Front-End Development has been one of the most sought-after professional choices among students and working professionals. If you want to boost your career opportunities and income, you should start learning Front-End Development.
It's a constantly evolving field: Front-end web development is an exciting career because it’s always evolving and constantly changing. This means you’ll always have the opportunity to interact with new tools and learn new skills, keeping you engaged in your career. It’s a field that provides many opportunities for hands-on learning.
Gives flexibility to developers: As a front-end developer, you can work from anywhere, including at home. This makes it one of the most flexible careers you can choose.
It's about creativity: Front-end web development is all about creativity and creative problem-solving. As a front-end web developer, the sky's the limit to build customized websites to create the best possible user experience.
What Makes The Best Front-end Development Books?
Books are a great reference tool that will help you throughout your frontend developer journey. It is sometimes overwhelming and confusing to decide which book to pick. Here are our criteria for the selection of the books:
The book should contain a variety of instructional materials, including exercises, examples, questions, learning activities, and other features that promote the reader's engagement and active learning.
It uses clear, precise, and easy-to-understand language.
Content must be up-to-date and should thoroughly teach and explain the basic concepts of front-end development.
Contain assignments for practice and hands-on experience.
The book should have a clear layout.
Best Books for Front-end Developers
To help you in selecting a well-structured and latest book for front-end developers, we have narrowed it down to the best books for front-end developers.
1. Best Book for Learning React: The Road to React (2020 Edition)
React is the top framework for front-end developers. If you are going on the job hunt, be prepared to be asked about React — because you will be asked — a lot.
The Road to React, by Robin Wieruch, teaches you the fundamentals of React in a clean, pragmatic, no-nonsense way. I have personally benefitted from this book after sifting through so many React books that could not keep their focus.
You will build a real-world application without complicated tooling. It explains general concepts, patterns, and best practices in a real-world React application.
The book uses a step-by-step approach to explore the concepts of React and how to use them in modern client applications to power our frontend. The contents covered in the book are:
Fundamentals of React
Styling in React
Real World React (Advanced)
Deploying a React Application
The book comes with additional referenced reading material with each chapter. There are plenty of exercises after each chapter of the book. Besides, the reader will learn how to test their React components and how to organize them in the project.
This is a great book to begin expanding your knowledge of building and using React components.
For more best books on learning React, see these top 5 React books.
Types, values, and variables, which go over numbers, text, boolean values, null and undefined, symbols, global object, immutable primitive values as well as mutable object references, type conversions, variable declaration, and assignment.
Expressions and operators, which include primary expressions, object and array initializers, function definition expressions, property access expressions, invocation expressions, object creation expressions, operator overview, arithmetic expressions, relational expressions, logical expressions, assignment expressions, evaluation expressions, and more.
Statements, which include expression statements, compound and empty statements, conditionals, loops, jumps, miscellaneous statements, declarations, and more.
Objects, which includes creating objects, querying and setting properties, deleting properties, testing properties, enumerating properties, extending objects, serializing objects, object methods, extended object literal syntax, and more.
Arrays, which includes creating arrays, reading and writing array elements, sparse arrays, array length, adding and deleting array elements, iterating arrays, multidimensional arrays, array methods, array-like objects, strings as arrays, and more.
Functions, which include defining functions, invoking functions, function arguments, and parameters, functions as values, functions as namespaces, closures, functional programming, and more.
Classes, which include classes and prototypes, classes and constructors, classes with the class keyword, adding methods to existing classes, subclasses, and more.
Modules, which includes modules with classes, objects, and closures, modules in node, modules in ES6, and more.
Iterators and generators, which include how iterators work, implementing iterable objects, generators, advanced generator features, and more.
Metaprogramming, which includes property attributes, object extensibility, the prototype attribute, well-known symbols, template tags, the reflect API, proxy objects, and more.
Other books you may be interested in:
3. Best Book for Learning Vue: Fullstack Vue
The book is divided into eight chapters. Every chapter focuses on a different part of the ecosystem.
Chapter 1 guides you to get started with Vue.js
Chapter 2 covers Single-file Components
Chapter 3 covers Custom Events
Chapter 4 gives the introduction to Vuex4
Chapter 5 covers Vuex and Servers
Chapter 6 talks about Form Handling
Chapter 7 covers Routing
Chapter 8 guides you on Unit Testing
Each chapter in the book comes with a complete project that uses the concepts in a practical and runnable format. This book is a must-read to master the Vue.js framework.
The great news is that you are not getting just a book, but access to live code examples.
For more best books on learning Vue, see these top 5 best Vue books.
4. Best Book for Learning TypeScript: Effective TypeScript
If you want to be a front-end developer today, you can’t get away from TypeScript. It has become a staple in many codebases.
Effective TypeScript: 62 Specific Ways to Improve Your TypeScript by Dan Vanderkam is a 2020 O’Reilly publication designed specifically to improve your skills as a TypeScript developer.
The beauty of this book is in how opinionated it is, creating rules and preferences to follow all throughout the book. Yet, unlike the others TypeScript books, it remains isolated from other tools like React or Angular. This book is unique in that it self-purports to be your “second book on TypeScript,” but this book is on the list because of its great quality and value to all learners of TypeScript.
This TypeScript book can be paired with another TypeScript book on this list because the value of this book is unique.
This book is actionable, easy to apply, and helps you become a better TypeScript developer right away.
Effective Typescript includes the following sections:
Chapter 2: TypeScript’s Type System, which includes using your editor to interrogate the type system, thinking of types as sets of values, knowing how to tell the type of a symbol, preferring type declarations to type assertions, avoiding object wrapper types, recognizing the limits of excess property checking, applying types to entire function expressions, knowing the difference between type and inheritance, and more.
Chapter 3: Type Interference, which includes avoiding clustering your code with inferable types, using different variables for different types, understanding type widening, understanding type narrowing, creating objects all at once, being consistent with aliases, using async functions instead of callbacks for asynchronous code, and more.
Chapter 4: Type Design, which includes preferring types that always represent valid states, avoiding repeating type information in documentation, pushing null values to the perimeter of your types, and more.
Chapter 5: Working with any, which includes using the narrowest possible scope for any type, preferring more precise variants of any to plain any, hiding unsafe type assertions, and more.
Chapter 6: Types Declarations and @types, which includes putting TypeScript and @types in devDependencies, understanding the three versions involved in type declarations, exporting all types that appear in public APIs, and more.
Chapter 7: Writing and Running Your Code, which includes preferring ECMAScript features to TypeScript features, knowing how to iterate over objects, understanding the DOM hierarchy, and more.
For more best books on learning TypeScript, see these top 3 books on TypeScript.
The book clear, step-by-step instructions and practical, hands-on examples to guide the beginner through these three interconnected technologies. It also includes quizzes and exercises to test your knowledge and stretch your skills.
The book is divided into twenty-eight lessons. They are well designed and simple to understand. Here's what you will learn in these lessons:
Build your own web page and get it online in an instant
Format text for maximum clarity and readability
Create links to other pages and other sites
Add graphics, color, and visual pizzazz to your web pages
Work with transparent images and background graphics
Design your site's layout and typography using CSS
Make elements move on your page with CSS transformations and transitions
Animate with CSS and the HTML5 Canvas element
Write HTML that's responsive web design-ready
Design a site for mobile devices
Use CSS media queries and breakpoints
Get user input with web-based forms
Add AJAX effects to your web pages
Make your site easy to maintain and update as it grows
HTML5, CSS3, and ECMAScript 6 standards are thoughtfully integrated into every lesson. Each lesson builds on the previous ones, enabling readers to learn the essentials from the ground up.
6. Best Book for Responsive Design: Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS
Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS by Ben Frain helps you understand what responsive web design is and its significance for modern web development. It explores the latest developments in responsive web design including variable fonts, CSS Scroll Snap, and more. The book helps you learn the uses and benefits of the new CSS Grid layout.
After reading the book, you will be able to:
Integrate CSS media queries into your designs; apply different styles to different devices
Load different sets of images depending upon screen size or resolution
Leverage the speed, semantics, and clean markup of accessible HTML patterns
Implement SVGs into your designs to provide resolution-independent images
Apply the latest features of CSS like custom properties, variable fonts, and CSS Grid
Add validation and interface elements like date and color pickers to HTML forms
Understand the multitude of ways to enhance interface elements with filters, shadows, animations
This book is divided into eleven chapters and includes the following contents:
Chapter 1 covers the essentials of Responsive Web Design
Chapter 2 talks about writing HTML Markup
Chapter 3 covers Media Queries while supporting differing viewports
Chapter 4 covers Fluid Layout, Flexbox, and Responsive Images
Chapter 5 covers Layout with CSS Grid
Chapter 6 talks about CSS Selectors, Typography, Color Modes, and more
Chapter 7 covers stunning aesthetics with CSS
Chapter 8 talks about using SVGs for Resolution Independence
Chapter 9 covers Transitions, Transformations, and Animations
Chapter 10 covers Conquer Forms with HTML5 and CSS
Chapter 11 talks about bonus techniques and parting advice
If you need a deep understanding of responsive web designs and how to achieve them, this is a book for you! All you need is a working understanding of HTML and CSS.
While this book is typically older than what I would recommend, this book stands out as a beautifully designed book that teaches fundamentals with grace.
Teaches you how to create scripts from scratch
Demonstrates the latest practices in progressive enhancement and cross-browser compatibility
Make your sites more interactive
Use jQuery to simplify your code
Recreate popular web techniques
Bonus book: "Front-End Tooling with Gulp, Bower, and Yeoman"
Front-End Tooling with Gulp, Bower, and Yeoman by Stefan Baumgartner is a great how-to guide for learning and using Gulp, Bower, and Yeoman more effectively in web development. The book shows you how you can set up an efficient automated development workflow for web projects.
The book will help you understand the big picture of the development process. It is very nicely written and well-illustrated. It delves into the importance of each tool and how it is structured.
The book is divided into 10 chapters and includes the following contents:
Chapter 1 talks about Tooling in a modern Front End Workflow
Chapter 2 helps in getting started with Gulp
Chapter 3 covers Gulp Setup for Local Development
Chapter 4 covers Dependency Management with Bower
Chapter 5 covers Scaffolding with Yeoman
Chapter 6 covers Gulp for different environments
Chapter 7 talks about working with Streams
Chapter 8 talks about extending Gulp
Chapter 9 guides you to create Modules and Bower Components
Chapter 10 covers Advanced Yeoman Generators
More Ways to Learn Front-End Development
These were some of the best books available for front-end developers. You can take your front-end development skills to journey a level up with these books.
To increase your immersion and learn faster, I recommend different types of input, including interactive and video courses.
If you’re interested in going beyond reading, here are some courses to consider:
Udemy: Front End Web Development Ultimate Course 2021 has over 2,200 five-star reviews and 100 hours of video content, covering everything involved in front-end development, updated for 2021.
Codecademy: If you want to build interactive, dynamic web apps, learn design fundamentals, and prepare for job interviews, Codecademy offers a Front-End Engineer career path that teaches literally every skill needed on the job, including Git version control and React. For more on Codecademy Pro, see my Codecademy Pro review.
Also, if you’re interested in even more free resources, I have over 70 vetted learning resources for developers in this article. Enjoy your front-end development journey. See you in another article! 👋 😊