We’ve written a book about learning to code

We tried to recommend our students good books to read for learning HTML, CSS and Javascript but we found nothing that was great. Most guides were technical, badly-written and boring. So we decided to make our own.

It's 420 pages long and we’ve aimed it especially at people who work in the creative industry but anyone can read it.

We called the book “Learn To Code Now” and we really hope you enjoy it.

“Honestly I wish this book had been around when I started coding.”
Daniel Howells

Daniel Howells

Founder and curator of SiteInspire

What's in the book?

We cover everything a creative person would need to know when learning to code with HTML, CSS + Javascript – the building blocks of web design.

Foreword by Frank Chimero
What are all the different programming languages?
How to pick the right code language for the right job
Five common mistakes when learning to code
How to make a website
Recapping front-end web development
But how do you write code?
Wait? The internet and the web are different?
So why not just build an app?
Let’s talk about HTML
Images + file types
White space + indentation
Connecting HTML + CSS
Typography using CSS
Search engine friendliness + SEO
Styling with color
Blurry backgrounds and retina screens
Stretching the background
CSS parallax effects
Background gradients
HTML image tags or CSS background images?
Hover states + transitions
Classes in HTML and CSS
The box model – borders, paddings and margins
Rounded corners with border radius
Photoshop-style filters
Multi-column layouts with floats
Overflow – when there's too much content
Transparency with opacity and rgba colors
Drop shadows
Mobile-friendly designs with media queries
CSS displays – inline, block and inline-block
Positioning – fixed, absolute and relative
Cursors and mouse pointers
Transforms: rotations, scaling and skews
Vertical alignment
Head tags
Flexbox – complex layouts made easy
CSS animations with keyframes
Using steps to animate images
Forms and inputs
Audio, video and media
Video backgrounds
Web fonts using @font-face
Starting with Javascript
Manipulating data
For loops
Adding your scripts to your pages
How to work with jQuery and why?
Changing HTML and CSS in jQuery
Javascript events
What is this?
jQuery animations
CSS and jQuery together
Fade and transitions with CSS and jQuery
Timers, intervals and delays
Document and window
Javascript parallax
Progress bar scroll
Getting data out of objects
Ajax – get and send data after page load
What is JSON?
Animation using Javascript
Mouse + touch movements
Make your own light box
jQuery plug-ins
Fixing your own code
Integration with back-end code and 3rd party services like Squarespace, Wordpress and Tumblr

Get the table of contents and two samples

"How to make a website" + "Hover states and transitions"

Read the book’s foreword

The house where I was raised was an ideal place for our family, except one serious flaw: the house did not have my parents’ fingerprints on it. So began the constant construction project that lasted almost a decade. Bathrooms were moved and walls knocked down; skylights were installed, had their leaks fixed, then uninstalled for the trouble they caused. My parents removed the attic, raised the ceilings, bought a larger Christmas tree to take advantage of the new vertical clearance, then celebrated the new year by re-tiling the bathrooms. We painted the house only once in the ten years I lived there, from one shade of buttercream to another, and I still don’t understand why this escaped the same level of obsessiveness from my parents.

One day after arriving home from school, I saw my father hovering over a giant stockpot with wooden strips fanned out over the rim like uncooked spaghetti. He was boiling the planks, he said, to soften them. He’d then slowly form each strip along the curved edge of our built-in bookshelf to use as trim for the semi-circular shelves at the end. My father was taught this method by my grandfather, another amateur furniture maker, and now it was my turn to learn the process. “Pay attention to the wood, follow the grain, and if you take care, the wood will bend and not break,” he said. This was clearly intended to be a life lesson as well as a lecture in woodworking, the kind of practical inheritance that fathers live to provide their sons. Be patient. Be gentle. Got it.

Carpentry didn’t take: ten years of growing up in a construction zone made me swear off woodworking. (Also, we got a computer the year after my lessons in woodworking. How could I resist?) I now design and build software instead, which has its own methods and tricks, but I still find myself returning to my dad’s lesson for grounding. All materials have a grain, whether wood or pixels, and that grain suggests the best way to work. Go with the grain and one will find sturdiness combined with tremendous flexibility – a natural and exciting give that grounds decisions and excites with possibilities. Work against the grain and the work becomes precarious, difficult, and fragile. Instead of the elegant bending that software requires to adjust to different screens, uses, and situations, the work breaks because it can not adapt.

This idea of a grain, however, goes in the face of our expectations for technology. Software is often presented as a wide-open, infinitely malleable material. We expect technology to help us overcome limitations, not produce more of them. Can’t I do what I want? As always: to an extent.

We use teak for outdoor furniture because it is weather resistent. We use white pine for wood carving because it is soft. These kinds of rationale also go for desiging software. On the screen, we use flat colors and simple gradients, because they’re lightweight, easy to programattically draw, and can scale for areas of varying proportions. Sites have horizontal stripes of content stacked vertically, because that is how we read, and it is easier for most users to scroll vertically than horizontally. All of these design choices come from a knowledge of the materials at hand.

What is the grain of software? It has to do with fluidity. People who work on software create flexible systems that can deal with variability: content of varying lengths, connections of different speeds, users with many kinds of ability and attention. What does the page look like if it is empty? If it is full? And every possibility in between on mobile? Working with software is never designing towards an fixed artifact, like designing a chair or book. Instead, it is defining and designing conditions for a whole set of possibilities.

The easiest way to explore and test these possibilities is by working with the raw materials themselves: learn a bit of code and fiddle with things. A sturdy knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Javascript goes a long way in understanding what is possible with the medium.

You will make mistakes. Things won’t work! But you will also have good company – we all get it wrong the first, second, and usually third tries, no matter how much experience we have. Getting your hands on the materials is a learning process for all of us. We feel the grain and discover the contours of the problem we are to solving, and revise when our efforts don’t work quite as expected. Luckily, code and pixels are free, so your trials and errors should be less expensive than the considerable amount of lumber I’d waste if I ever took up woodworking.

My father never fully understood what I did for a living, but we could always find common ground in craftsmanship. Good work is grounded in an attention to detail and knowledge of and respect for the materials. The more experience I gain, the truer this proves itself. Pay attention, respect the material, listen to how it guides you, and be gentle. You’ll be surprised by what you can do and how flexible it all can be.

Frank Chimero

Our foreword was written by Frank Chimero. Frank is a designer, writer, speaker and illustrator.

Frank has written the acclaimed book The Shape of Design, was a co-founder at Abstract and has worked with clients such as The New York Times, Nike, Wired, Time Magazine, Microsoft and Starbucks.

He is currently running his own design practice based in Brooklyn.

You can read more about Frank on his website and you can follow him on Twitter.

Rik Lomas

About the author

Rik Lomas is the founder and CEO of SuperHi.

Rik was previously the co-founder and CTO of Steer, and the chief product officer at Picfair. He was one of the first instructors at General Assembly London and previously worked at several creative agencies including SapientNitro, Start Design and DigitasLBi.

He has spoken at international events, has written many popular articles and is an advisor to several startups. He is, like the Sting song, an Englishman in New York.

You can follow him on Twitter + Instagram, or email him at [email protected].

With help from

Holly Holmes

Christine Lomas

Lawrence Gosset

Adam Oskwarek

David Holmes

Simon Whybray

The team at Koto

SuperHi Editor

Get the SuperHi Editor

If you're buying a book on coding, it makes sense to have something to code with!

Each copy of the book comes with the SuperHi Editor – an AI-powered code editor made especially for beginners (not nerds) that makes it easier to spot where you're going wrong.

You can see more of the SuperHi Editor in the videos on our blog, but it comes with version control, smart helpers, typo correction and Wilson – our intelligent assistant.

You can host your own sites on there too, just like Dani, Sarah, Marisa and Kevin did!

It's currently in private beta but you'll get a special access code to it.

Buy the book

Digital only Print + digital Online course
PDF version Yes Yes Yes
EPUB version Yes Yes Yes
Kindle version Yes Yes Yes
Digital book updates Yes Yes Yes
Access to SuperHi Editor Currently in private beta Yes Yes Yes
Printed copy Shipping 1-3 weeks No Yes Yes
8-week structured course Hours of video content No No
Email + Slack support Get help quickly No No
1-to-1 video chat help with our expert instructors No No
Continued learning support As learning never stops No No
SuperHi Video Launching soon 3 months free Worth $87 3 months free Worth $87 Free forever All new products free too
$29 Start reading today Buy now $59 Free shipping Buy now $499 Payment plans available
Digital only - $29 Digital and print - $59 Both versions come with 3 months of our upcoming feature, SuperHi Video, for free.
Have a question about the book? Just ask!

We’ve taught students from...

It’s Nice That
The Guardian
The New York Times
Vox Media