Technical Books… Do you read them?

A few weeks ago David Lean asked me if I ever read technical  books. Without a seconds consideration I said – “No way – I look online for everything I need, when I need it!”, to which he quickly replied – “I guess you wont be wanting this then!” 12790and went to put the Programming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 book back in his bag… “Wait!” I said – “I’ve heard about that book! Let me look at it!” **

Now true to my word of not reading technical books, I got home, popped it in my bookshelf (which funnily enough in itself contradicts my initial reply and if nothing else shows that I do have a great number of technical books!) and didn't look at it again…

Until last night. I was waiting for some VPC’s & service packs to download and as it was killing my bandwidth, I was looking for something else to do for a bit. I remembered the book!

I am so glad I did. Initially I just flicked through it to see what was in it, but then kept getting drawn into the examples & sample code and soon had visual studio open trying to work through some of them. I have to say – if you are thinking of doing any programming for CRM 4.0 it really is a fantastic book for you! It starts at the very basics – includes a hitchhikers guide to common questions when your getting started and extends to some advanced topics like building your own advanced workflows.

I am now tempted to work through the book from start to finish as there are so many cool examples in here that I haven’t yet had the opportunity or excuse to delve into. There are some great code samples & utilities tucked into the different chapters as well as addressing the differences in the 3 deployment options.

Details on the book are here so you can find it if CRM programming is your thing:

Authors: Jim Steger; Mike Snyder; Brad Bosak; Corey O'Brien; Philip Richardson

ISBN: 9780735625945

Basic blurb:

Get hands-on and conceptual guidance for creating and adapting customer relationship management (CRM) solutions—direct from leading CRM consultants. This reference details design and coding practices that allow you to customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to meet specific business needs. Get expert insights on customization, integration, and extension; end-to-end solution designs from the product team; and numerous case studies that demonstrate how to customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a business solution. The book covers the major deployment options available: on-premise and partner-hosted.


So…… I guess now I am rethinking my initial answer to David’s question… I am interested to hear what other people think of Technical books, or how they look up technical information when they need it. What do you do?



** ok details of conversation may be a little sketchy – it was a few weeks ago but that’s basically how it went!! 🙂

Comments (6)
  1. I buy a book every now and then if i want to read it cover to cover to get a really good overview of a technology. Still find it the best way to get all the basics on something in one go. Also great to fill in time on plane trips etc.

    I then look online for each specific thing i want to know. I usually have at least 3 search windows open all day.

  2. I also do most of my research online and have a bookcase full of technical books. I like to read through these as often I just can’t get the right search sting to find what I need online. I still like to have books to flick through and it is easier than printing out the web pages that I find. I like the option of both systems but have a big soft spot for books, and often purchase ones that cover things I can’t find online.

  3. lstoll says:

    It depends on what I’m after. If I’m looking for a solution to a problem, or a kickstart on a specific topic – I’ll definitely just google it and look for it online. The search speed, and wealth of available snippets of information out there make that the most efficient method (in my mind at least).

    This all changes if I’m working on something much larger, like learning a new language or platform. For this, nothing beats a stack of dead tree’s. Being able to sit down for lengths of time and work through stuff, flick back and forth to remember things you forgot in the last minute, and the ability to just read it with no distractions is a hands down winner.

    This is definitely reflected by the books on my shelf – titles are mostly along the lines of "Programming Erlang", "Cocoa Development for Mac OS X", the MCSD set, The Pickaxe book, and not more general references.

    So I guess to sum it up – If I just want an answer (which I do a thousand times a day) I’ll hit up google or the like. But if I want to learn something new, I’m off to the book store.

  4. 6eorge Jetson says:

    I can think of two situations where I really prefer a book.

    You hit on the first of these: Making use of downtime. Waiting in the doctor’s office, sitting in an airport when I’d like to take a break from the here-and-now day job, etc.  I try to be sure I have some interesting technical reading material handy so that these opportunities to absorb something that I may not need immediately won’t go to waste.

    The second situation in which I prefer a book is when the book is excellent.  Meaning it offers insights far beyond that of the mechanical how-to.  Of course, most books do not rise to this level, but there are plenty to fill the opportunities that arise due to downtime.

  5. Catherine Eibner posted a very kind review of the book I recently co-authored with Jim Steger, Mike Synder

  6. BPM software says:

    I haven’t read a book since high school.

    The best way to learn nowadays is through videos.

    If "Programming Microsoft Dynamics CRM" could be published as a video (on UTube for example) it would be easier on us

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