When I’m teaching web development, I often give students a reading list of some of my favorite articles from people who write about the web, technology, and programming in general. I try to include articles that are seminal and influential, articles that have made significant contributions to new web development concepts or are a clear milestone expressing a piece of the history of web development, but often they’re simply articles that I enjoy a lot.
This benefits students by introducing them to specific writers who are leaders in the field and by giving them better understanding of the history of web development and why certain principles like progressive enhancement or semantic markup are still important as a primary value of the web. It also gives them a framework for making better technological decisions based on the key themes and arguments within the history and philosophy of web development.
Here’s the list, organized into a few categories. There is a general history and philosophy of the web reading list, followed by lists for specific debates within the industry (just one right now). Please let me know if you have any suggestions for pieces to add to the list.
Web Development: History and Philosophy
The web is a field defined by the ideas and values of those who create it. This reading list explores the history of thought that has shaped the web and the philosophical debates visible in the design of the network, and connects those ideas to both the overall architects of the web and the day-to-day practitioners who define web culture through their words and code.
- Resilient Web Design – Jeremy Keith
- A Dao of Web Design – John Allsopp
- Responsive Web Design – Ethan Marcotte
- Hypertext as an Agent of Change – Mandy Brown
- Web! What is it good for? – Jeremy Keith
- What Comes Next is the Future
- What is Code? – Paul Ford
- Web Design: The First 100 Years – Maciej Cegłowski
- The Innovators – Walter Isaacson
The Free Web
The World Wide Web is changing quickly. Nostalgia for the early days of the Internet and questions about the future freedom of information online are growing. What is the web today? How has it changed? What should it have been? What should it be in the future?
- The Web We Have to Save – Hossein Derakhshan
- All you need is publish – Craig Mod
- Raiders of the Lost Web – Adrienne LaFrance
- Goodbye, Native Mobile Apps – Evan Ratliff & Jefferson Rabb
- Indie Web Camp
- Whither the Webpage – Charles Thaxton
I will update this list with suggestions and any other pieces I read that I think are relevant, and I’ll keep it here and on my courses GitHub repository. Again, please let me know on Twitter or GitHub or email if you have any suggestions.
Published 31 May 2016
Kevin McGillivray is a web developer, writer, and teacher from Wisconsin. He writes about creativity, mindfulness, code, and tea.