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View Poll Results: Learning new languages or programming theory:
Mostly books 2 4.55%
Mostly online sources 26 59.09%
Books and online sources evenly 14 31.82%
Other 2 4.55%
Voters: 44. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-17-2012, 05:14 PM   #1
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Default Do you learn new programming languages / theory online, in books, or both?

I wonder if books are widely used to learn new programming languages or theory, or if online documentation is enough for most programmers. What do you use?
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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Books when I was first learning everything. Now I only read reference material online.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:07 PM   #3
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Books tend not to go too far enough for my purposes.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:20 PM   #4
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Books in college for theory, and later as references for languages and APIs.

I haven't bought any new language books in the last 3-5 years though, now I just use the internet.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:49 PM   #5
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I use online sources more, but will read a good book if I really need to have a wide variety of coverage on knowledge for a language.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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Books were nice when I was learning to program for the first time. It was nice to be able to sit down and work through complete examples. Once I started knowing stuff, I found books to be slow and tedious. I find it more useful to Google for what I need to know.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:10 AM   #7
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used books back then, but that's just cause the web wasnt where the web is today.
If i'd had the online resources back then ... damn.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by degibson View Post
Books tend not to go too far enough for my purposes.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:26 PM   #9
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I still read books, although having read several hundred technical books I find that I get less and less out of them. I find these days some of my quickest learning is from videos actually, rather than blogs or other sources.
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:42 PM   #10
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Best way to learn a new language is by doing.

I like to start with sample projects, and either modify them, or use them as reference while build my own.

A tutorial can come in handy for certain steps, like setting up an all new IDE environment on a particlar platform you are not comfortable with.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:57 AM   #11
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Online and books.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:56 PM   #12
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I pick a small project, then look up some example code/code reference to get the general idea of how the language is structured.

I know I need a loop, class, conditional, etc. I just need to see an example of how it's done in X language.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:22 PM   #13
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Learned all languages I currently know via college courses, least that's how I started.

Books/Classes for instruction/learning a new language, internet for technical reference/obscure problems.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:35 AM   #14
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No college courses for me, but I had to pick up programming in grad school on the side for course work and thesis. Books are by far the best way to start off due to them having a natural flow and structure that online sources lack. However, once you wrap your head around a language it is just about looking up syntax/documentation and going through packages to not reinvent the wheel.

Best way, IMO, is to dive right in.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:26 PM   #15
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When taking a class - books - there is usually no deviation from the material which makes it a lot easier for the instructor.

When learning on my own - everything is online. However, I've found that "programming styles" tend to differ slightly depending upon where you look.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:19 PM   #16
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I only learn by practice. I only use those other things for reference.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:36 PM   #17
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Free internet content was always good for quick reference. Now with genuinely high quality blogs, articles, video lectures and free e-books popping up, it's starting to replace books.

I'm still likely to grab a book when I want to systematically learn about a subject and gain insight into it. Already maybe 50% of the time that book will be an e-book.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:51 AM   #18
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Started on the book, and it's sometimes still used as a reference. Since getting dual monitors, I'd been using the web almost exclusively.

The way I learned how headers (and linking) worked was trying to get an OpenGL application to compile and run. Even though it wasn't my own code, I did learn a good bit just by doing something random (included some minor debugging as well), and I was successful after a couple nights. So, I learn by looking through samples of what I'm interested in, hand copy it down several times over while studying how each piece works, and modify and eventually, apply it to my own ends.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:27 AM   #19
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I used books in the start. The A to B to C to D approach created an easy learning curve and i could follow what was going on. There are nice courses online, but a book it just a nice way to get into programming.

Once you are more self sufficient then online resources become an easier option as you usually know what you're after.
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