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Tutorial Doctor

Programming Textbook?

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So, last night I started what I intended to be a short but sweet book on the basics of programming. However, it was too short to be called a book, and soon my ideas started to expand and that short "book" idea became a long "textbook" idea.

I am far from qualified to make a textbook, but I think it is a very good idea. Thing is, this textbook would serve to keep things very simple as well with useful and thoughtful examples. I was using iBooks Author so that I can add interactivity.

Once again, my ideas get too big for my ability, and another idea is wasted.

So I thought, if only I knew some cool people who knew all of this heavy stuff, and who could relate to my necessity for simplicity and collaborate with me to make an awesome book.

Then I thought of GameDev.

Here is the question, does anyone know of any excellent programming textbooks? I am not looking for a book for a certain language, but an entire textbook. Any you can recall from school that were actually useful as a reference and not just a waste of $150?

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Everyone likes to think of creating a book to cover the things that the standard book is not covering.  This problem causes even the simple plans to write a simple "Tell All" tutorial to become massive.  The best "Self-Teaching" guide to programming book I ever used was written in the Mid 1980s covering the then Pascal Language.

I do not recall the title but it covered Turbo Pascal 5.5.  To me, it was the Layout of the book that allowed it to be concise and useful.

It was laid out like a dictionary/reference book.  Each Keyword had it own little section in alphabetical order in the book.  Words Like Private and Public were in separate sections entitled Private and Public.  Although Similar their purposes are different.  After reading about 1 the reader was directed to the next logical step in learning the Language.

  Once it was time to learn about graphics, the reader was then directed to each section in progression to learn all the graphical commands

Again the book was laid out as a reference book, so anytime the reader need a refresher they could simply turn to the section Titled Graphics or Put, Get, Class or any other command for a quick refresher.

  this format also seem to cut out allot of the un-needed author conversation and did present straight forward code demonstrating the Command in use.


Maybe try this approach

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Great response! These are the very things I was thinking!

I began to see how important layout is in such a book, or even any reference book. I decided to use color coding for section types.

And the progression is in a logical order too. It was a little hard to place the topics, and I had only one chapter worth of content (which was going to be the whole book initially.)

The progression is:

Chapter 1: The Basics

Flow Control
Conditional Statements
Data Types

Chapter 2: History
Chapter 3: Tools
Chapter 4: The Languages
Chapter 5: A little math review
Chapter 6: Let's program!

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Show a little appreciation smile.png biggrin.png LOL!!    -   If your book is to be about Basics of programming, then Save your Chapters 2 through 5 for another book,  Every other author seems to want to cover these subjects in their books, thus wasting a lot of pages.  Those items would be good for a college 1-2 day seminar, and when I am wanting to learn a language, I skip those subjects anyway. ( However - Chapter 3 Tools could be a good Chapter 1 in your book ONLY if those items covered pertained directly to your language and Samples)

  A little food for thought, organize your book in 2 parts.  Part 1 > Cover items such as algorithms and syntax etc., Part 2 Cover Coding Keywords Such as Function and Class.

I think you will find this to be more concise and an effective method for bestowing your knowledge unto others.

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Theres like, a gazillion Learn to Program books that follow approximately the format you've described, including numerous "For Dummies" for different domains.

Edited by Aardvajk

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Thanks poigahn! Great suggestions! I am going to keep it simple then.

Haha Aardvajk, I guess that might be so, but personally I don't like the for dummies books, as they are not easy enough to understand. I am thinking of making it an iBook, as well as ePub for people who don't like or have iOS. I think an interactive book is a better way to present programming.

I am also thinking of making a udemy course, and making the short book a prerequisite, then using the course to go I to how to actually apply the things learned, instead of putting it all in the book.

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Thanks Gerretke. I am getting more ideas now after a message someone sent me. 


I like the idea of the Wiki. It is a collaborate way to present information. If I could start a wiki, then all sorts of people can contribute to it. All I would have to do is set guidelines and formats for the wiki beforehand. I would also want the wiki to be downloadable as either .mobi or .epub. 


Hmm, now I might be changing direction. We will see. 

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Initially, i liked when they tried to make a conversation but now, i don't.
Currently, i've used 5 programming books. The worst being Programming Practice and Principles Using C++ (i know). It's supposed to be THE beginners book but it's more like a book that expects you to know programming from my pov.
One minute, it's teaching loops and the next it's teaching vectors and then jumps to something else before it goes back to complete vectors. A 1100+ page book of confusing confusion :).
(1) Jumping into c++, (2) Beginning c++ programming with game dev, third edition, (3) the cplusplus.com pdf (not happy with it because it doesn't have exercises) and (4) the very brief tutorialspoint pdf (it's more like a very incomplete dictionary with no excercises).
Right now, i'm reading (1).

I'm tired of getting books and being disappointed by them and then post ideas here and repeat these steps. I wish i could find a book that teaches me c++ well enough so i could start implementing my dreamy ideas :(.

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I used to like the dictionary-style books, but that was before you could just google a keyword to figure out what it does.


The only other books I can think of that were useful for a while were Effective C++. It's been a while, but I think the basic structure of that book was each chapter taught a single concept and why it is a useful concept to learn and apply as quickly and succinctly as possible.


The learn a language or whatever types of books seem far worse than following interactive tutorials online (or even non-interactive ones), so I'm not sure there is any way to make such a book not be a waste of money. Those books always seem to be a generation behind (teaching C++0x when C++11 is out, DX9 when DX11 is out, etc.) anyways.

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