What do e-books mean for developers?

April 23 is World Book Day, an international celebration of books and authors established by UNESCO to recognize the immeasurable contributions to civilization that books have made, and to encourage readership around the world, especially in youngsters.

Books play a critical role in what we do at Syncfusion, and not just when we consult our in-office library of mostly technical references. The Succinctly series of e-books we produce is one way we contribute to the growth and enrichment of the development community at large. In about 100 pages, experienced developers can glean the information they need to get started with an unfamiliar technology quickly.

The series has proven extremely popular, and its popularity poses an interesting question: How do e-books fit into the advancement of the development community?

We asked several Succinctly series authors their thoughts on this. Here’s what they had to say:

“I believe e-books fit in a niche area where blog posts lack. E-books are the doorway for enticing adoption of open source software. They offer a complete view of the features and also the nuances of the technology.”

Manikanta Panati, author of Keystone.js Succinctly.

“In the 1990s, just before the Internet exploded, a developer's primary problem was that there just wasn't enough information available. Fast forward to 2017 and the problem now is too much information. As a developer I have three primary ways to filter information. When I need an answer to a very specific, relatively low-level question ("What is the Python syntax to initialize a dictionary object?) I'll do an Internet search and usually end up at a personal blog post or a developer community site such as Stack Overflow. When I need an answer to a very broad question ("What is Python?) I'll go to Wikipedia. But when I need the answer to any question that falls in between—and questions like these are the most difficult—then I'll go straight to the Syncfusion Succinctly e-book library. In almost all situations, the Succinctly series of e-books gives me exactly the information I need.”

James McCaffrey, author of SciPy Programming Succinctly, Machine Learning Using C# Succinctly, and Neural Networks Using C# Succinctly.

“I think e-books can dramatically accelerate the advancement of the development community because they can be consumed very easily. Whether on a PC or a mobile device, you have reader applications that make it easy to search, underline, and keep note of contents in a well-organized way. Also, if we think of e-books in combination with mobile devices, this is even more evident: You can bring dozens of e-books on a single tablet, phone, or e-book reader anywhere. This means you can have your entire bookshelf in your pocket and all the references you need on a single device. If I think of software development, having a huge number of technical e-books in my pocket is really invaluable for my work.”

Alessandro Del Sole, author of Visual Studio 2017 Succinctly, Visual Studio Code Succinctly, Roslyn Succinctly, Visual Studio 2015 Succinctly, and Visual Studio 2013 Succinctly

“E-books work well in our ‘short on time’ society that we all seem to inhabit these days. Everyone and everything is rush, rush, rush all the time. Paper books are bulky and inconvenient in this fast-paced world. Everyone I know has a super computer in their pocket these days, and e-books just work. They naturally fit into that ‘I have two minutes while I wait for a bus, let's read up on something and make good use of the time’ scenario.”

Peter Shaw, author of NancyFX Succinctly, CSS3 Succinctly, ReSharper Succinctly, Twitter Bootstrap 3 Succinctly, Twitter Bootstrap Succinctly, Postgres Succinctly, and GIS Succinctly.

“In my case I’ve received various emails from readers that have found e-books like the Succinctly series very useful. It has helped them in their careers, jobs, and even in some cases as a way to easily learn new technologies. Some have even said that reading the Succinctly series is a part-time hobby. Overall great reception I'd say, so I do think based on this that they are making a very huge and positive impact on the development community.”

Ed Freitas, author of Twilio with C# Succinctly, Customer Success for C# Developers Succinctly, and Data Capture and Extraction with C# Succinctly.

“E-books bring books into the realities of the digital age, and help to keep books relevant with the rapid pace of technological changes. Writing a book is tough enough without having to add additional delays of printing and distribution. These are extra steps that can avoided with e-books. This means that e-books can be brought to market faster than traditional books, even with slow authors. Also, the lifespan of technical books is shrinking. New books are not relevant nearly as long as they once were. Second editions come out much faster than they used to. With e-books, not only can you have an immense library at your disposal whenever and wherever you need, your bookshelf is not littered with outdated copies of once beloved tomes.”

Nick Harrison, author of SQL Queries Succinctly, T4 Succinctly, and ASP.NET MVC Succinctly.

“E-books are great tools for developers’ professional growth. They are a source for learning about any development topic at a glance. Also, because they are carried on a mobile device, developers can read an e-book almost everywhere and any time they want. Besides, if e-book content is presented as in Syncfusion's Succinctly series, developers can take advantage of easy-to-understand and focused information regarding a particular software development topic.”

José Roberto Olivas Mendoza, author of Camtasia Succinctly, Ubuntu Server Succinctly, and Developing Windows Services Succinctly.

“A book is the most useful and helpful tool to really learn a new language or a new technology, and its electronic version has the advantage of being available everywhere and every time it’s needed. People read them during their commute, during their lunch break, and while waiting for the bus or the train. To this we can add the fact that writing a book is becoming affordable for everyone, so the community can have more books, and the quality of these books is usually very high compared to other sources. E-books are very useful in helping the developer community spread the newest technologies and in helping newcomers become better developers.”

Emanuele Del Bono, author of Node.js Succinctly and ASP.NET Web API Succinctly.

“Personally, I think e-books are, for now, the only logical advancement for regular books. We need written words to go forward as a species. In the case of developers, we need written words to advance in our careers. No one has the shelf space for all those physical books though, and most of them will be obsolete next year anyway. A blog post is always nice to get started on some technology, but books are a better format to really learn a technology. E-books offer the best of both worlds, lots of readily available knowledge at the expense of a few MBs, and the cost of the book if you're not reading Syncfusion’s Succinctly series.”

Sander Rossel, author of SQL Server for C# Developers Succinctly and Object-Oriented Programming in C# Succinctly.

Thanks to all the authors who helped us with this blog!

If you’d like to share your thoughts on how e-books are affecting the development community, let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter and Facebook. And happy World Book Day!