Two additional quick notes about books:
I am also pleased to announce the availability of the C# 3.0 Cookbook, for which I was again lucky enough to be one of the technical reviewers. Many thanks to the authors for giving the shout-out to this blog in their front matter.
“Real” cookbooks tend to provide specific solutions to specific culinary problems; they’ll tell you how to make banana bread, for instance. What I particularly like about my favourite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, is that it does not stop there; rather, each section of recipes has an introduction that treats the subject in general. Rather than merely a dozen muffin recipes, there is an exposition on the general nature of muffins that gives some context and guidelines should you want to branch out beyond the canned recipes.
Similarly, “cookbook” style programming books tend to de-emphasize having a solid theoretical understanding of the language and frameworks, and instead present canned solutions to specific problems. Since those solutions almost certainly do not solve your exact problem, the developer must then hammer on the canned solution until it conforms to the problem at hand. That way lies cargo cult programming! Fortunately, the C# 3.0 Cookbook does a good job of not just providing a lot of good solutions to common problems, but also provides some background on the general classes of problems that it treats. This is not at all a C# 3.0 language tutorial, but it is very handy to have around when you’re like “Hmm, how does one get the audit info out of a file?”
And finally, I am tickled that it has happened again. I have just heard that my last book will be translated into Chinese, of all things. Look for VSTO开发指南 coming to a Chinese bookstore some time in 2008, from 中国电子工业出版社 (China Publishing House of Electronics Industry).