This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum.
We're giving away four copies of Five Lines of Code and have Christian Clausen on-line!
See this thread for details.
Win a copy of Five Lines of Code this week in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Ron McLeod
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Paul Clapham
Sheriffs:
  • Tim Cooke
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Junilu Lacar
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Holloway
  • fred rosenberger
  • salvin francis
Bartenders:
  • Piet Souris
  • Frits Walraven
  • Carey Brown

What do you think of recipe style books?

 
author & internet detective
Posts: 40035
809
Eclipse IDE VI Editor Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While this question isn't about PHP, I'm posting it here during the promo because Robin said something that got me thinking about it. Personally, I like the recipe books because they are very focused.

Please share your opinions - pro or con. Why do you like recipe books? Or not?
 
Bartender
Posts: 6109
6
Android IntelliJ IDE Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think they're a double-edged sword.

For an experienced developer, they can be a godsend. They can save time reinventing the wheel when you're a little rusty in the language or algorithm in question but have the skill and discipline to view the recipe with a critical eye and adapt it as appropriate, or forgo it completely if it turns out not to be the fit it initially seemed to be. They're great when you know more or less what you're looking for, but you don't know the details (or have forgotten them--not that I ever do ), and you don't need or want to wade through a lot of prose explaining how it works.

For an "I can haz cert?", learn-it-in-21-days beginner just looking for shortcuts to making it "work", they can be a .44 magnum aimed straight at his own foot, and at the knees of the next developer to have to maintain the code.
 
author
Posts: 23878
142
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think of cookbooks like a guilty pleasure. I kinda won't admit that I like them, or even have them, but deep down really like reading them.

It's as Jeff said, for the experience, they are incredibly easy to read -- you just need to read the intro and summary of each recipe and remember where it is. Later if you need something similar, then you go back and read the chapter.

Also, once in a while, the recipe introduces a new concept that is interesting -- which adds something to your learning to-do list.

Henry
 
Marshal
Posts: 67418
173
Mac Mac OS X IntelliJ IDE jQuery Java
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with just about everything Jeff and Henry wrote, but will add that a lot of it depends upon the book as well.

Some cookbooks seem to be 90% filled with nonsense "recipes". I don't need a "recipe" to know how to turn on my computer, or to open a text editor, or to breathe. But a "good" cookbook full of "I didn't know you could do that so easily!" type recipes can be a joy.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 71
PHP Linux Windows
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like recipe books as a second book on a topic. The first book must be one that explains the why and how of the technology so that I understand it and thus can adjust my thinking to be in sync with the technology. Then having the scond book be a recipe book where I can quickly learn the best way to do common (beyond the basics) and uncommon things is helpful, especially if the book contains recipies for things that I have already identified a need for.

So it comes down mainly to need. If I really need to immerse myself in a technology, the recipe book comes in handy. But for most things, I need only the first book which makes a recipe book a hard sell.
 
Author
Posts: 48
Android Eclipse IDE PHP
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know for a fact that I have learned plenty from reading other people's code, both on the web and in cookbooks.

It's one of the quickest ways I know of learning new techniques.
 
a fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool - shakespeare. foolish tiny ad:
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
https://coderanch.com/wiki/718759/books/Building-World-Backyard-Paul-Wheaton
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic