When I was growing up, we had a large bookshelf in our living room. It housed literally hundreds of books, from classic literature to practical guides. Every other evening I would pass by the bookshelf studying what’s inside: the covers, the titles, dusty pages, and perhaps even notes on the side.
One book, in particular, was among my favorites though. It was a dusty old book, with partly torn pages, plenty of coffee stains, and yellowish old paper. It was a book that my grandfather, who had been a scientist, wrote years ago on the subject of geology. I couldn’t understand much of what the book was about, but I enjoyed exploring all of his notes, deciphering the handwriting, and imagining the stories behind all of the stains that came to be. For years, it has become a journey that I was fiercely exploring in my imagination.
We all learn from books that just happen to be around us. They may not cover the topics that we’re particularly interested in. In this newsletter issue, we want to highlight some of the wonderful books released by the community, and hopefully, you’ll be able to learn something from them as well.
On another note, we have another fantastic Smashing Hour coming up this week. This time, I’ll be spending a full hour with Paul Boag on Feb. 24, 8–9 AM PT (check your timezone). This community event is free for all, and you are more than welcome to register and join us. We’d love to see you there!
Pssst! We’ve just recently finished cooking something new.
Happy reading, everyone!
— Vitaly (@smashingmag)
1. How Modern Browsers Work
Have you ever wondered how the browser turns your code into a functional website? Or maybe you’re unsure why a specific technique is suggested for performance improvements? An inside look at how modern browsers work can help you connect the dots.
Mariko Kosaka wrote a great four-part article series in which she looks inside the Chrome browser — from high-level architecture to the specifics of the rendering pipeline — to give you a better understanding of the bigger picture. The friendly illustrations in the article make the quite abstract topic easier to grasp. If you want to dig even deeper, Pavel Panchekha’s and Chris Harrelson’s free eBook Web Browser Engineering is for you. They have a very special approach to learning to understand how browsers work: You get to construct a basic browser yourself. Will you take on the challenge? (cm)
2. Free Design And UX Books
What practices power the world’s best design teams? DesignBetter by InVision published 10 free books that share valuable insights into how others work. They help you bring design and development closer together, share tips to get the best out of a design sprint, guide you through planning and implementing a design system, look into strategies to communicate with business partners, and much more. The books are available in ePUB, PDF, and audiobook formats.
Maze provides guides to usability testing and UX research. UXPin also offers a massive library of UX books and whitepapers for free download. In it, you’ll find more than 100 books covering everything from mobile and web prototyping, wireframing, and mockups to usability testing, project management, design process, and more. Good stuff. (cm)
3. Design Patterns For Modern Web Apps
Design patterns are a fundamental part of software development. They provide solutions to common code problems and guide you when you face a problem that fellow developers have already encountered before. Whenever you’re in the need for a helpful design or component pattern when building a web app, Patterns.dev has got your back.
4. Upcoming Front-End & UX Workshops
You might have heard it: we run online workshops around frontend and design, be it accessibility, performance, navigation, or landing pages. In fact, we have a couple of workshops coming up soon, and we thought that, you know, you might want to join in as well.
- Free Fonts and Illustrations
- The Incredible Web
- Front-End Accessibility
- Interface Design & UX
- Front-End Helpers
- Fearless Salary Negotiation and Job Interviews
- Design Systems
- Design And UX
- Friendly Little Front-End Tools
Looking for older issues? Drop us an email and we’ll happily share them with you. Would be quite a hassle searching and clicking through them here anyway.