When one of the principal authors of this blogs' engine* writes a book about ASP.NET, I just feel the need to plug it. I haven't read a line in it and yet I have confidence that this is a usefull book.
However, Jeff Atwood aka Coding Horror and co-author of this book, questions if books like these, highly specialized technical books, are usefull at all? Not to him, and I'm sure I understand that, if you can write a book like this, and manage all the other 'stuff' that he writes about on his blog, the information/usefullness in a book like this is good for a year, two at the most, if your stuck on a 'legacy' project. But to many 'mere-mortal' developers like, well maybe me, a book like this can help to boost up the knowledge of this specialized technology. Sure the internet is faster to find things, but it can also be harder. Where would you find all the information that these people have gathered? Well, if you are even aware of the information, just google a day. But what if you are not aware of it. What it there is a HtmlTextWriterStyle enumeration that has all these amazing usefull members that you could have used sooo many times already, but never did (until today) because you simply were not aware of it. So yes, today I found this one, how long I will remember it exists? As long as I actively use or need it while doing web development. But the next project will be Windows Forms, and I'm sure I won't remember this enumeration if I ever do another ASP.NET project again.
So I do believe these books have their merit: they condense a lot of information in one consistent place.
Another aspect is the authority that comes from certain books. If you know (well 'virtually') the author, read his/her blog, have seen a presentation, read some articles, you'll know the code in the book works, and is correct for the date the book was published.
One of the issues with todays plethora of CTP's, beta's and alpha previews is that many articles are written against these non-released versions. And these articles are also forever searchable, instantly available to anyone, anywhere in the world. Which have caused me some frustration, in that when looking for a solution to a problem, google will throw at you a number of solutions, but then you are left sifting through the range of outdated articles to try and find a solution that still fits. Ok, so you still get a lot of help, but if every author would just state which version or build was used for a certain solution, it would already help a lot. And then it is still up to you to verify the solution conforms to certain standards. I have read many articles that actually give wrong information. Be it because of security, performance, architecture or plainly not knowing the solution exists inside the core .Net framework.
So the best thing would be to publish the book online, forever searchable, instantly available to anyone, anywhere in the world, but I guess since it takes a lot of time, and thus money, to publish a book, this is not a viable option.
(* yet this instance being a bit an outdated version of it, I really need to get time to upgrade it ... when?)
Last revised: 19 Jan, 2012 08:47 PM