How often do you hear that? At dinner parties, pot luck dinners, Cub Scout events…The asker is not saying “Teach me how to cook”, but instead, based on an existing knowledge of food, spices, etc, is looking for the combination and proportion of ingredients and kitchen appliances will allow them to recreate the dish in question.
As a developer, we quite often find ourselves asking the same question. We just use different words. “Can I see the code for that?”. It’s not a plea for “Teach me how to program”. It’s an acknowledgement that the combination of code and development patterns produces a result that would benefit the inquirer.
There are a lot of books out that will teach you how to program, write unit tests, as well as books that dive into specific frameworks (like WPF, ASP.NET MVC, etc), or specific aspects of programming (like Unit Testing or Test Driven Development). But wouldn’t it be nice to have a book that assumes you know all of that (or know where to look it up), and just listed a sequence of recipes to solve very specific problems?
Enter “Visual C# 2010 Recipes” from Apress. This is the “Recipe” based book that I just finished reading, and I was very impressed. The authors take the approach of listing out a specific problem, describe the high level solution, and then go into the nitty-gritty details of the solution.
Most reference books (even the good ones) require the reader to search around to find something similar to the problem he/she is working on, and then extrapolating the reference material examples into their domain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the reference books. I have a book shelf and my Kindle full of them. It’s just nice to know that when I have a specific issue, I can find a targeted answer.
The authors don’t claim to be the complete reference manual for all issues you might face, but there are a *lot* of problems outlined, and chances are you will find what you need. If you don’t, there are enough that you can find a similar one to your specific domain problem, and work out the details. After all, if the book contained all possible problems, we would be unemployed.