12 programming blogs most recommended in 2015

Anna Sopova

The Apifonica blog editor put dozens of "best programming blogs" lists through a frequency analysis to determine what are twelve most mentioned blogs in these lists.

You can’t throw a rock without hitting some blog or another about programming and software development these days. Really, there are more than you could ever hope to read: the most complete list I was able to find included about 150 private blogs to go along with another 300 on the corporate side. There are general blogs, blogs dedicated to specific platforms, framework blogs, and blogs for programming languages. And while the blog format is great for generating short reads that fit nicely in a busy lifestyle, how do you filter through all the noise? That’s where the “best blogs for developers” and “best programming blogs” lists take the fore.

This year has seen quite a few of those lists, and they mention a total of around 400 individual, collective, and corporate blogs. But what should you turn your attention to first? I put those lists through a simple frequency analysis, ending up with the twelve most recommended blogs of 2015. The list below is in ascending order of popularity, meaning that the final entry was recommended most frequently.

Introducing The Best of the Best: 2015, or twelve programming blogs everyone’s recommending.

1. Simple Programmer

John Sonmez, who started this blog in 2009, is the author of Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual and a top Pluralsight contributor with over 50 courses created. Simple Programmer addresses a wide range of topics, from career advancement and people skills to getting in shape and tackling the mental aspects of being a software developer.

2. Ajaxian

Despite the name, Ajaxian looks at topics beyond Javascript and AJAX. In fact, the excellent articles it offers cover everything from .NET development to XML. The team of authors includes developers with decades of experience working for industry giants, Google among them.

3. Rands in Repose

Rands in Repose is the brainchild of Michael Lopp, a software engineering manager (Apple, Pinterest), a blogger, and the author of the well-known Nerd Handbook and Managing Nerds. Begun in 2002, his blog explores “nerdery,” particularly focusing on how to manage engineering teams.

4. David Walsh Blog

David Walsh is a senior web developer and evangelist for Mozilla as well as a core developer for the MooTools Javascript Framework. The blog follows his interest in and experience working with front-end technologies, including HTML/5, JS, and CSS, while his passion for open source projects and professional philosophy of “experiment, fail, fix, fail again, fix again” make for a great read.

5. WebAppers

WebAppers offers daily information on open source tools and resources for web developers and designers. Even beyond its imposing library of 700+ plugins, the blog is an excellent way to find any number of manuals and tips on how to apply open source tools in practice.

6. Scott Hanselman Blog

Scott Hanselman is a web developer with the Microsoft Web Platform team, though he devotes his spare time to what is one of the most popular blogs out there on software engineering. Already more than ten years old, it covers a range of topics that includes technology, dev culture, diversity, gadgets, and the web. New articles are published once or twice a week.

7. CodeBetter

CodeBetter parts ways with many of the other blogs in this list: the highly technical content it offers is a far cry from the ubiquitous articles on programming within the wider dev lifestyle context. Posts include extensive examples of code and detailed discussions of programming methodology and techniques. The blog is dedicated to Microsoft technology, making it an invaluable resource keeping readers up to date on the latest practices in .NET-based languages and technology.

8. Joel on Software

Joel Spolsky, co-founder of StackExchange and Trello as well as a former Microsoft programmer, devotes his blog to the business side of software development. A blogger since 2000, Joel seems to have recently neglected his site, as the latest post is dated January 2015. Regardless, it is as excellent a resource as ever for gems on software development, management, and business.

9. Martin Fowler Blog

With decades of professional experience in software development under his belt, Martin Fowler is one of the most influential bloggers in his niche. His blog covers a huge variety of industry topics with a particular focus on software system design and enterprise app development. His work as an author primarly looks at continuous delivery, code refactoring, DSL, NoSQL, and agile development.

10. Daily JS

Although Alex Young, the DailyJS creator, announced “the end” of the blog in July 2015, that pronouncement seems to have been premature. At least, on September 30 @dailyjs tweeted, “Details to follow but interesting news.. we’re going to be coming back soon :)” The blog has been around since 2009, and until the break offered a daily stream of fresh insights into and advice on all things Javascript.

11. A List Apart

A web magazine “for people who make websites,” A List Apart explores a wide range of software engineering subjects (though it particularly focuses on web standards and best practices). Covering topics like design, business, content, user experience, and more, it has become a remarkable resource for everyone working with web technologies.

12. Coding Horror

The title for most-recommended programming blog (it is found in 47% of the lists I analyzed) belongs to Jeff Atwood, the other co-founder of StackExchange. And while new posts trickle out no faster than once a month, it retains its position as the most well-known personal blog on software development ever. What makes it stand out above the crowd is probably Jeff’s fascination with the human side of programming. In his own words, “In the art of software development, studying code isn’t enough; you have to study the people behind the software too.”

I’d suggest bookmarking this page and checking out some of the above-mentioned blogs whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Whatever your professional background is, you will benefit from a wealth of information on programming and app development.

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