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Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by pimentoLoaf, Dec 16, 2004.
What are you reading? What do you recommend? What isn't all that good?
In my opinion, as far as programming books go. You can judge the book by it's cover. Any big programming label will be fine because they know programming books are in general a repeated-buy businses and will make an effort to find really good authors. So that means similar style nicely made book covers) Not to say you can't find the diamonds in the rough yourself. O'Reilly has made a very good name for itself. Microsoft Press is good also. Sams, I think is hit or miss. I like just getting reference manuals because I don't need to have the first so many pages to tell me what a loop is.
I think a really good deal on books is with Safari (haven'y tried it). No not the browser but http://safari.oreilly.com/. It's cheap and you can get access to a lot of books. Free trial too.
As far as the actually books I'm liking and reading, there are quite a few. I like the hacks series (not really programming). Like Paypal Hacks and Excel Hacks were interesting. Hardcore Java (O'Reilly) I liked. I rewent though my O'Reilly Cascading Style Sheet book.
Sidenote: I never use any of this stuff.
Stuff to avoid: Idiot/Dummy books. Learn in 24 hour books. Practical Microsoft Windows (It's an oxymoron.... ) (OMG that was suppose to be a joke book that I made up but it looks likes it exist, WTF....) And anything written by the opposite gender (guys and girls program and learn to program different =P).
Another sidenote: The best way to get programming books is FREE from your library. If they don't have it, they can get it. My GF is still in school so I order books online and she gets an email when to pick them up and I get them personally deliveried to me in a few days. She would kill me if she knew I only read about 5% fo the material from 15% of the books. Lol, its hard to get re-interested in stuff you were interested in 3 nights ago at 4:20am. Which is another reason why I think that Safari is good. Fast information.
It would help if you told us what kind of programming you're interested in. IMO The O'reilly books are pretty consistently good (with a few rare stinkers like Programming Jakarta Struts), and they also tend to be reasonably priced. I also like some of the Core series books fro Java. For Cocoa, the Hillegas and Anguish books are very good, and Vermont Recipes is ok too. The Idiot series are terrible for programming books, and while I like Peachpit books, I don't think their style fits learning programming very well. I'd go over to amazon.com and read what people had to say about the books and how they rated them, then go leaf through the better ones in the bookstore.
I agree with most everything except this. While I don't use the Dummy books as a main reference manual they do provide a nice overview course if you want to get an easy read and get a feel for the language... I already know how to program and being able to get the gist of a language over the weekend (of course building up your skills after that) had been very valuable and a thousand page overly technical book won't allow for that.
I also used the Dummy book for my first book on Final Cut Express. I understand film but don't know the lingo. I knew the Dummy book would also take the time to explain new and unfamiliar words to me as I went along whereas a technical book would assume prior knowledge.
I buy ones that start with the language I'm learning like C++ then it goes - for the absolute beginner. That was so easy to read and understand. So if you wanna learn C++ or even PHP do a search for C++ For The Absolute Beginner or PHP For the Absoulte Beginner. Best books you can read, and it goes through it like you really don't know what the heck is going on.
AppleScript for Dummies is pretty good too. But mostly, programmers are not Dummies, and these books are not good ones for programmers.
For PHP I'd recommend "PHP and MySQL Web Programming, 3rd Edition" by Luke Welling and Laura Thompson to start. Then go on to "PHP 5 Power Programming" once you've got some work under your belt. That, and download lots of good code (like Eclipse LIbrary) and dig around in it. Reading code is probably the best education you can get. Sitepoint and the sitepoint forums are also great reference material.
Most programming books on the market assume you already have a CS degree and just want to pick up a second language. Some are pretty basic, but only by defining control structures and operators, they don't teach you HOW to program. If you are an absolute newbie and want the pick up the basics of programming, Programming Logic and Design is superb (also available in an Object Oriented edition soon.) Think Like a Computer Scientist python edition is also good for a beginner (and absolutely free for download!) Another book that tries to teach basics (or philosopy? Or HOW) is Learn to Program Using Python but I haven't read this book so I can't comment on its quality. Just throwing it out as another book that tries to teach the "How" of coding rather than only the syntax of a specific language.
I would recommend Programming in Objective C for obj c stuff. It's rather good. But yeah, it does depend on what you want to learn.