A Reader Responds to: If You Write Programming Books
On ?Friday? I wrote a small rant about how writers of programming books don't tell you where the code is. Dave Gulbran responded with:
I think Dave is definitely right here. And his comment about O'Reilly makes me happy since I'm now an O'Reilly author. But...
Authors have personal home pages. Readers have Google. The intersection of these, for the book I criticized gave me:
And, of course, the obligatory link to the Amazon page. No where on any of these pages could I find a "Here's the Source Code" link. Great ... so I can type in 400 pages of source if I want access to every "recipe" (it was the php developer's cookbook). The shame of this is that it's an awesome book! Well written and clear. But it fails in a huge way for me (and I think lots of others -- it's interesting to me that Amazon has it listed as "out of print").
If the publisher screws it up, doesn't the author have an obligation to his readers to give them a correction?
Dave made the point that O'Reilly does better on this than others and I have to agree here (remember though I am biased). With an O'Reilly book I can always find the code. I might have to grovel a small bit but that's normal. With this book, I groveled, I begged and I asked nicely, all to no avail.
It's never been a surprise to me that year after year O'Reilly continues to be the best overall book company. Sure we may flirt with Wrox or New Riders but it's O'Reilly that every seems to come back to. Short and Simple: O'Reilly Gets It.