The above photo is my stack of geek books from last Christmas. Yes, I love books — I love the way they smell, thumbing through the pages and oh yes, the wisdom they bestow. I admit, often times I don’t make it through the entire book. Sometimes just a handful of chapters. But every now and then you come across some great books that are gems. So I thought I would share a few of my favorite books from this year.
Head First C#
Each morning before work I stop and enjoy a latte or cappuccino. This is my book of choice to read while sipping down my caffeine kick-start. That’s because it’s not like your typical code book which can be pretty dry. This book is very visual, full of pictures and diagrams that help to illustrate and drive home key points. Often times it finishes the chapter with a crossword puzzle helping you to retain the points of the chapter. In fact those crossword puzzles inspired this post. It’s a great read for beginners and advanced users alike.
Object-Oriented ActionScript 3.0
If you are just starting to learn Flash or Flex or ActionScript then this is the book for you. Actually, even if you are a seasoned pro this is still the book for you. Why? Because it teaches you the correct way to do things. It teaches you true object oriented programming in ActionScript. With topics like: Encapsulation, Classes, Inheritance, Polymorphism, Interfaces, and Design Patterns you will not only learn ActionScript, but also principles of OOP. If you wish to learn proper Flash/Flex development then this book is for you.
The ASP.NET Anthology
This book takes a problem solving approach to a handful of common everyday ASP.NET developer needs. Things like: form validation, membership and access control, working with email, rendering binary content, Ajax, handling errors and more. Sitepoint says this about the book, which I agree with: “Solve specific ASP.NET problems fast — without wading through mountains of reference material — and rest assured your code follows current best practices. For the serious ASP.NET coder, this book is a must-have.”
The Ultimate CSS Reference
Perhaps the last CSS book you’ll ever need. Written by our very own Paul O’Brien whom regulars to Search-This will know does an amazing job making sense of often tricky, finicky or strange CSS behaviors. Almost every web site created today is built using CSS, which is why a thorough knowledge of this technology is mandatory for every web designer. There are plenty of good resources to help you learn the basics, but if you’re ready to truly master the intricacies of CSS, this is the book you need.
ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed
Make no mistake about it, this is a reference book at almost 2,000 pages. But it may be the best ASP.NET reference book on the market. It covers everything: LINQ to SQL, ASP.NET AJAX, ListView and DataPager data access controls and all the rest. What’s especially nice is that you can tell the author, Stephen Walther, has spent time in the trenches. He knows best practices, like using CSS for all his layout work and having well-formed cross-browser friendly code all the while teaching you ASP.NET 3.5. This is a must-have book for all ASP.NET developers.
Well there you have it, five of my favorite geek books of 2008. Do you have a book that you read this year that you thought was a gem?