Web designFeature

10 advent calendars for web designers and devs

These advent calendars cover topics as diverse as web performance, UX and Perl.

It is the season to be nerdy. Over the last few years, virtual advent calendars for web designers and developers have become increasingly popular. There are many that have come and gone.

In the last few years, for example, we had the Adfont Calendar, presented by Fontdeck, which gave away a free web font every day, as well as the MDN Holiday calendar, by the Mozilla Developer Network and built by Christian Heilmann. It provided daily resources "for you to look at, enjoy and even give some editing love".


None of these calendars have been updated for 2014 but all the articles are still online, so if you missed them initially, make sure you take a look. Here are the best ones for this year.

01. 24 Ways

24 Ways is the mother of all advent calendars for web geeks

This is the mother of all advent calendars for web geeks, now in its ninth season. The brains behind 24 ways, Drew McLellan, director and senior developer at edgeofmyseat.com, told us: "It's aimed at designers, developers, copy writers, producers and others who work in whatever capacity to create websites. We cover a whole range of topics from design and development to business matters and inspiration.

"24 ways has been running since 2005. Despite being in a compressed timescale, we publish about the same number of articles each year as A List Apart. The site is very popular, with traffic in the region of 70,000 visitors a day, so the decision to carry on is an easy one. We'll stop when people are no longer excited to read the articles in the lead up to Christmas."

02. 24 Pull Requests

24 Pull Requests - giving back little gifts of code for Christmas

Celebrate the holiday season with 24 Pull Requests, an initiative to encourage developers around the world to send a pull request every day in December up to Christmas.

The project aims to promote open source collaboration during the festive period, with the team behind 24 Pull Requests commenting on the site: "You've been benefiting from the use of open source projects all year. Now is the time to say thanks to the maintainers of those projects, and a little birdy tells me that they love receiving pull requests!"

03. Performance Calendar

The Performance Calendar was started in 2009, by Stoyan Stefanov

The Web Performance Calendar, started by Stoyan Stefanov in 2009, is the one for speed geeks.

Stoyan told us: "I modeled it after 24ways.org. The first year in 2009 was mostly me, I wanted to give an overview of the web performance optimisation (WPO) discipline and the self-imposed deadline of an-article-a-day was very effective ABS (or rather AWBS – Anti writer's block system). I only had a few contributions from friends from the industry."

04. UXmas

UXmas is an advent calendar for user experience designers

UXmas is an advent calendar for user experience designers. Every day at 8.00am (Australian EST) a bauble is opened to reveal a new gift to the UX community. UXmas is a joint effort from the teams at Thirst Studios & UX Mastery, with delightful illustrations provided by Supereight Studio.

Benjamin Tollady, user experience director at Thirst Studios, told us: "We'd had the idea to put together a UX-specific advent calendar for a while but it wasn't until we came up with the UXmas name that we really started to take the idea seriously. We wanted to create the site as a way to give back to the UX community during the festive season. That, and the pun was too good to pass up!

"We're good mates with the guys from UX Mastery, who are pretty well connected and specialise in educational content for UX designers. We floated the idea past them, and it turns out they'd been toying with doing something similar, so it really was a perfect match. UX Mastery leveraged their network to pull in some unbelievably huge names from the UX world, while we set to work designing and building the website.

"The project has been a really nice, collaborative effort and we've been overwhelmed by the positive response from the community so far. We're planning to run the calendar again next year and hope to introduce even more great authors and interesting articles."

05. Freelancember

Freelancember offers 31 free gifts for freelancers

Freelancember, by the makers of time tracking app Freckle, Amy Hoy and Thomas Fuchs, doesn't just concentrate on 24 days but offers 31 free gifts for freelancers.

This year we've already had some tools that help you identify how you end up with bad news clients or projects, a free worksheet to help you identify your ideal clients, and one to help you define your idea of a successful year.

06. Perl Advent Calendar

The Perl Advent Calendar has been running since 2000

Don't laugh, there's even Perl Advent Calendar! It's been going since 2000 and features a different Perl module each day for the 24 of advent, and an extra module on Christmas day.

It all started, when the London Perl Mongers were having a quiet social drink in the pub. They were talking about online advent calendars and the impracticality of shipping chocolate through your web browser. Mark Fowler then quickly hacked together a calendar and lo and behold it proved very popular.

07. AWS advent

Amazon web services calendar is still a work in progress – more a collection of 24 posts in the build-up to Christmas. Creator Brandon Burton is looking for Amazon Web Services users to author several of the days – head here to find out how.

08. 24 jours de web

Joyeux Noel from the guys behind 24 jours de web

Here's one for our French-speaking readers (or those who use Google Translate). Again based on the 24 ways calendar, 24 jours de web is a collaborative website hosted by RĂ©mi Parmentier of HTeuMeuLeu.

09. Webkrauts Adventskalender

If you're after a German web advent calendar, start here

And now an advent calendar for German web geeks. Webkrauts are a consortium of German-language web workers, committed to increasing web standards in German-language sites – although their calendar is packed full of transferrable web treats.

10. Sysadvent

Sysadvent is aimed at system administrators

As befits the name, Sysadvent is an advent calendar aimed primarily at system administrators. However there's plenty here for developers too.

If we missed any calendars that you think should be in this list, please let us know in the comments!

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