I've been searching for a few days to find some good reading material on web application design, and haven't been able to find much (too many buzzwords or something). I'm looking for something that covers some design patterns for common situations in user-based systems (authentication, permissions/roles, preferences/configurations, encryption, payment, etc.) which might detail common implementations on server-side (hopefully in MVC style) application and database schema layouts. I think normally a lot of these are implemented in existing frameworks such as Struts, Springs, etc. but in some cases I might have to roll-my-own small framework or add to an existing and I need something to help me understand more about how these are implemented, or proper ways for implementing them myself.

There is a lot of information available but most of what I find seems to be scattered, and specifically I'd like to find a book or few (reading on screen is bothersome for my eyes).



2 Answers 2


There are two main classes of books for the overarching design (from a Webmasters perspective), those on Web Architecture/Scalability and those on organising information. I can recommend these books:

Web Architecture

Information Architecture

The Beautiful series (Beautiful Data/Code/Architecture/Security/Visualisation) are worth a look - for ideas but not reference.

With regards to good website design (beyond information display) there are many books on usability/design available. Personally I like the "Head First" O'Reilly series, but it is a love/hate with my colleges, who prefer paperbacks from specific artists or HCI (Human Computer Interface) textbooks.

  • Thank you for the suggestions, but what I'm looking for is more related to implementation details for server-side stuff. It sounds like this might be a better question for Stack Overflow. Most of what I've found is very similar to your suggestions, but they tend to cover things like design from the user's perspective rather than foundations of a framework. Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 16:18
  • Remember serverfault.com as well for hardware issues/configuration. Biggest bits to learn personally were changes in mindset over data and scalable architecture (especially if using Google App Engine) on the Framework side.
    – Metalshark
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 16:29

Steven Krug's Don't Make Me Think is an excellent book about website usability.

It's a highly recommended, easy-to-read, on many programmer must-read lists.

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  • Again, thanks but I'm not looking for usability information. Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 4:11

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