I bought a technical book

posted by Jeff | Friday, June 14, 2013, 10:52 PM | comments: 0

It probably sounds borderline ridiculous to declare this, but I actually bought a technical book yesterday. Pete Brown's new book about building Windows Store apps was half-price from Manning, and it came with the PDF for $25. That's not bad for a software book.

That said, it's the first technical book I have purchased in a very long time. I used to buy dozens every year, but these days it's rare that I do. That might sound a little strange as an author of one of those books (eight years ago now), but honestly, they don't hold the value that they once did. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The first and most obvious thing is that the Internet makes so much information available that books aren't as valuable. Finding stuff just isn't hard anymore. Even as new frameworks, products and open source bits surface, there's a surprising amount of good information.

The other problem is that, particularly if you work on the Microsoft stack, much of the technology has matured to the extent that you don't need a lot of extra information. Changes come in an incremental fashion. A good example of this is new syntax for async operations in C#, or new features in frameworks like MVC or EF. You don't need a book to show you around.

But in this case, I wanted something that offered more complete context. This is where books (or their electronic counterparts) can still be valuable. I mostly get the technology in Windows Store apps, as it has its roots in Silverlight, but with touch, device orientation and other new stuff, I felt like I needed something that could really tie it all together. There is enough stuff that's sort of new to me that end-to-end reference helps.

So am I planning to build some big deal Windows app? Actually, not really, but I'm curious enough that I want to learn anyway. I like to keep up.


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