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 Post subject: Best ways to read programming books
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:23 pm 
Northwood
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I know it's a good Idea to read programming books and such but every time I start one I wind up getting tired and drowsy. Are there any techniques to reading that a) makes them less boring and b) gets more out of them?

I just start at the beginning and plow through them when I try.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:51 pm 
Java Junkie
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I prefer periodicals to stay up to date .. the current is more current and it is much easier to absorb an article than a chapter or an entire book.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:03 pm 
SON OF A GUN
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Jipstyle wrote:
I prefer periodicals to stay up to date .. the current is more current and it is much easier to absorb an article than a chapter or an entire book.
content is more current? :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:58 pm 
Java Junkie
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Yeah ... whoops. :P


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:12 pm 
Northwood
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Jipstyle wrote:
I prefer periodicals to stay up to date .. the current is more current and it is much easier to absorb an article than a chapter or an entire book.


Such as...?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:59 am 
SON OF A GUN
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Google mai friend. Google.

http://www.ddj.com/
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/default.aspx
http://cacm.acm.org/


http://www.google.com/Top/Computers/Pro ... d_E-zines/


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:35 pm 
Willamette
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I generally don't find myself reading books cover to cover, a good portion of the time. Some books are written this way. Others that I've seen are written more as a "If you have questions.... go here" type of book (where you sort of look up only what you want to know).

If your concern is learning a language by reading a book cover to cover, versus skimming or doing what I do (look up what you don't know), then its really up the that person, as for everyone learns different.

Reading from a variety of sources (books, mags, the web) are all good sources for learning a language, as opposed to just reading a book cover to cover. I like that mags because they often deal with "real world" apps and applications, whereas some books have you create some fictional program, that may be an example of real-world development, but in some instances, they are not terribly useful.

I remember in a series of eidtions of Dr. Dobb's Journal (DDJ), one of the columnists (and I honestly can't remember his name--but he's a big name in the computing industry--my fault) was writing a series of columns regarding an IDE he had written for a C++ compiler (the avid DDJ reader will know what I"m talking about). Anyway, I found those articles useful and very informative, partially because they dealt with a real-world situation.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:02 pm 
Bitchin' Fast 3D Z8000*
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Regarding the periodical vs book debate, personally, I tend to find myself employing programming language books a lot more than periodicals. I suspect part of this is due to my tendency to use non-mainstream languages, but I also believe that you often won't get the level of depth in an article that you will a book. I'll often skim articles and find myself thinking... Oh yeah, that's what we did on the xyz project (or we could have tried using this on xyz).

In fact, I just went took a second look at some old DDJ mags and ended up throwing all of them away except for the Dr. Ecco column and a very few articles that I want to read (someday).

CACM is a different beast... =)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:31 pm 
Willamette
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Between the many mediums, I had to pick one, I'd opt probably for books, just because they can be a little more concise and tend to have lots of examples to show you what you want to know. Magazines, do some what, but not as much as a programming book. I think magazines tend to show more application or use, and a book would show more "how to do it" type of stuff, and not so much real-world application (but there are some mags and books that do both or one or the other quite well).


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