So how much have you spent on dev books?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by Cromulent, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #1
    Ha, just been doing a clean out and had to collect all my dev books together. It made me realise just how much money I'd spent on the bloomin' things.

    Just bought the Cocoa book too, so that's another £30 spent. Do you guys tend to try and get your books second hand or do you always buy new?
     

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  2. JVene macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    #2
    Your inquiry put a smile on my face.

    Before the advent of e-books and online references, I had a carrying case that could hold about 15 texts - of the typical 600-900 page variety (my girlfriend at the time bought it for me, nice, real leather, personalized with my initials). It was my primary workout regime to carry it from home to office and back.

    In U.S. dollars they ran between $40 and $60 each, in the years from about 1981 through about 2002. There was a time when I would buy an average of 1 text every two weeks. All told, I'm sure I've spent over $20,000.

    Obviously I've been at this a while, and I've happily forgotten a lot of what I studied. Ferraro's programming of the VGA graphics card, and version 2 of that book that covered the various 'super VGA' cards, I'm happy to have left to the recycler. I vaguely recall it's details, and the coverage of 'CBasic' from 1981/82, as well as my CP/M programmer's guides. My 15 year old Unix developer's texts are showing their age, but largely still applicable, though I can get more information from the web these days.
     
  3. lee1210 macrumors 68040

    lee1210

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    #3
    of my own money, outside of books for university, I've probably spent a few hundred dollars US. Including books for university, required or not, it's probably around US $1000. However, through work I have access to quite a large collection of books, and have been able to expand it with new things I've needed. I personnally have expensed another few hundred US.

    This is only since 2000, so it's probably averaged $150/year. You just got rolling with programming, so it's pretty frontloaded for you right now. Keep all of your books, and once you're in university you may be able to swap with classmates to save some money.

    There are more serious vices you could spend money on than programming texts.

    -Lee
     
  4. sord macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #4
    Hmm... I probably have between 60 and 80 with half averaging maybe around $45 and half around $80, so $3,750 to $5,000?

    These days I just subscribe to Safari (Unlimited) though.
     
  5. laprej macrumors regular

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    Oct 14, 2005
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    Troy, NY
    #5
    Hmm, a lot. I've been in school 8 out of the past 10 years, and the semesters were always fairly expensive. Granted, they're not all dev books. In fact, few are but generally there's a couple per year. But if I figure $300/semester, 16 semesters that's $4800, which is probably low-balling it as I also buy computer books for fun (I probably have $1000 worth of dev books that I bought before college). So let's just say around $6000 :eek: The interesting thing is as you progress in school, the books become smaller and even more expensive. I guess sometimes books are like women's underwear: less material but sexier and more expensive :D
     
  6. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #6
    Wow. That should be on the useful links section. Brilliant value for UK residents due to the exchange rate. Some really expensive books there too.

    I guess compared to you guys my £2 - 300 is nothing :).
     
  7. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 13, 2008
    #7
    I haven't spent anything except for however much the hillegass book is... don't remember how much that was. But my dad has a bookshelf full of outdated but still useful books that I go through and use as a starting reference, like to familiarize myself with a general topic. And these aren't just cocoa/objc books... there's C, C++, generic books on development and making games, OGL, everything.
     
  8. kainjow Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2000
    #8
    The last book I personally bought was for C#, and that was about 2.5 years ago. Haven't gotten anything since then, and don't see myself buying one unless I learn a completely new language or API, and don't see that happening soon as everything I do is Cocoa :)
     
  9. mongrol macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2007
    #9
    I've bought C Programming (Kernigans) and The Camel (Perl book). I think also one other linux programming book years ago that had TK/TCL in it. That's it. The last of those was bought about 8 years ago. Books are expensive, they cost carbon to produce and are unnecessary since everything is online.
     
  10. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #10
    Except that reading online documentation is bloody awful :). I'll take a book over that any day of the week.
     
  11. jsnuff1 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    #11
    $0 everything you need is in the API documentations and online howto's sample codes etc. Its amazing what you can learn from one sample code. Ive found out that programming is more something that you learn by doing than studying.

    Yes ill admit that I have a computer science minor background, but I only new java and C++. I learned objective C in a matter of days by playing around with sample code.
     
  12. sord macrumors 6502

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    Jun 16, 2004
    #12
    It's all up to an individual's learning style. One reason I choose to read over go through samples is when you use samples you can miss out on a lot of functionality for various situations that you may not even be aware exists. Someone studying a thorough book on the other hand should have a good handle of capabilities and when to use them.

    My personal preference is a book (paper) that is a thorough guide with small snippets of code.
     
  13. lee1210 macrumors 68040

    lee1210

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    #13
    Samples show you how, texts tend to tell you why. If you're interested in why syntax does something, the actual design of the language, etc. texts can be pretty helpful (API docs can provide this as well, samples generally don't). I guess I'd say learning from samples provide a more functional knowledge, where texts might provide a bit more esoteric/academic knowledge as well. Sometimes it's also nice to have some dead tree that you can read when you're not at a computer. I'm not sure how I feel about eBooks just yet.

    -Lee
     
  14. JVene macrumors newbie

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    Jul 22, 2008
    #14
    I'd like to amplify lee1210's point, and, with apologies to jsnuff1, contrast that opinion. It is true that you do learn quite a bit by example and experiment, but don't forget that this science dates back many decades and a great many have blazed these trails before.

    Design patterns are one important area of study you won't pick up simply by reading examples. You might notice a few yourself, but it took decades to reach the point we're at now.

    For an example, how would you know if you can write a function in C++ that can't leak any resources it allocates even in the presence of exceptions? It is not at all likely, though possible, that a self taught student would understand how they can know with that degree of certainty.

    In another point, how would anyone understand the concept of the basic guarantee, the strong guarantee and the no-fail guarantee and how that relates to exceptions in C++? How would someone 'pick up' the notion that it is possible to ensure that, in the presence of catastrophic error, they've written everything in a standard that ensures they can at least save the work their user has accomplished up to the point of exit? Without exception safety techniques, this isn't possible to guarantee. In the absence of exception safety techniques, it's likely that some portion of their data set is invalid, creating a corrupt image (image meaning document, SQL data, anything the program saves).

    Concepts like compile time polymorphism through templates, meta-programming (controlling the compiler), the separation of implementation from interface - these are not likely as well understood by following along, but by genuine understanding of why things are done the way they are. Examples are generally written to demonstrate a limited set of concepts. You would gain knowledge above the intermediate stage by reading through the code of an advanced application, probably from an open-source project (since that's what's available for study), but that's quite dense and I suspect more time consuming than reading a treatise on the subjects which are known to be of advantage in the highest orders of the practice.

    After being so contrary to jsnuff1, I'd like to point out that I'm not trying to be argumentative on the point; there was a year or two when I had a similar viewpoint (but that was probably 25 years ago now). You can become surprisingly functional as a casual student of this work. If, on the other hand, you aspire to more ambitious application targets, say artificial intelligence, signal processing or simply full scale, merchantable applications, your competition is a population of developers like me. Believe me when I say, you'll want to know all you can learn if your goal is to attract customers or win a contract.

    ...and then some wise*** like Alexandrescu will come along and give us something else to think about :), say in the next version of these languages.
     
  15. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #15
    Using official documentation is fine for this kind of thing, but using tutorials and sample code posted by individuals on the internet to learn from is generally a bad idea. Mainly because as a beginner you have no idea of the quality of the code, for all you know you could be learning some really detrimental coding styles.

    I general stick to books which have really good reviews and then read the official online documentation as well.
     

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