Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Big books or small?

So here's something I was wondering, as I wandered through Barnes and Noble yesterday: does anybody *like* these gigantic technical books that the publishers seem to favor these days?

I mean, I was looking for a couple of books to bring me up to speed on relevant Java tech: while I was a Great Expert once upon a time, that was a decade ago, and strictly for the client-side stuff, so I need some pointers to the newer technologies. What I wanted was something concise, but most of the books on the subject are massive tomes -- preposterously in-depth from my POV. I don't want a book that's going to tell me every last method in the library: that's what reference manuals are for. If I'm going to buy a book, I want an *overview*, at a length I might actually get through.

I wound up with a very practical-looking book on Eclipse, as it happens. 300 pages: still longer than I like, but covering how to build all major kinds of Java projects in Eclipse, including both Swing/GUI ones and Struct/Web ones. Looks to be what I was looking for -- a concise and pragmatic introduction, that helps me see where I need to look for more information, and focused on getting me up and running. (I also picked up a book of similar length on Hibernate: that probably *is* longer than I want, but it was the shortest one they had.)

Am I unusual here? Do people *like* these 700-page books that the publishers keep putting out? I tend to assume that any programming work on paper is going to be obsolete in a year anyway, so it doesn't seem worthwhile to invest that short of shelf space and mental focus on it. Then again, I enjoy browsing through class libraries, so I may be kind of weird...
Tags: programming

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