The Working Programmer’s library

I like programming books. I daresay I’m obsessed with them. I collect them, they adorn my shelves and workspace as if they were trophies of the knowledge contained within them. The battles they fought are hidden in their dog-earred pages, marred by late nights and tossing them to and fro as I research them, commanding them to reveal their secrets.

On command, they relent to the pressure, spilling their secrets and marching back to my bookshelf, available at my beck and call. They are my fellowship, our common quest is to make me the best programmer I can be. This knowledge takes many forms, but the dead-tree book is the most basic.

It is strange then that I should recommend Safari Books Online. A virtual library available at your fingertips, so long as you are connected to the Internet.  This presents a problem, vis-a-vis being disconnected from the ‘net. Sacriledge, I know. Bear with me.

Safari Books solves the ‘OMG my boss needs me to write code in a language I’ve never seen before’ which usually happens at just the wrong time. I know Perl, but since our build servers don’t have Perl installed (gasp) I’m writing the script in Powershell.  Except that I’ve never written Powershell before.  Enter Safari books. Within minutes I was able to pull down Powershell in Action and Windows Powershell Cookbook immediately. Within ten minutes, I had the script written. 

It’s not the right tool for every job, but Safari Books Online is an indispensible part of your toolkit. Use it.

Leave a Reply