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Solicitation of Commentary on Deitel book

 
Dirk Schreckmann
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Does anybody have an opinion to share on the Deitel book "XML How To Program"?
 
Roseanne Zhang
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I've not read this one. However, I used their book for teaching Java, and had glance on some of their other books, and know their style. Dietels' books are extremely good for baby-sitting, (very much in details, lots of exercises, repeating a lot, say the same thing in five different ways, etc.), they are not good fit for computer professionals. You will get bored very very soon.
That is why they are used a lot in schools, but rarely even mentioned by computer professionals. They definitely sell a lot.
Do good on one thing, and on one thing only!
[ September 07, 2002: Message edited by: Roseanne Zhang ]
 
Roseanne Zhang
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That is one receipe for success. Isn't it?
 
Dirk Schreckmann
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Dietels' books are extremely good for baby-sitting, (very much in details, lots of exercises, repeating a lot, say the same thing in five different ways, etc.)
So, that must be why the Deitel books are always 1500 pages long.
 
Roseanne Zhang
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I've never seen one that long, actually, their books are very reasonablly sized. At least, they don't put all the API at the back to make the book really thick as Wrox does. They don't repeat the same code 3-4 times as New Riders books. Students' back bags are heavy enough already. They don't try to contribute to that weight too much. They difinitely put students in mind when they are writing. Don't you think that is a good thing? :roll:
They definitely makes things very easy to learn for beginners, makes both teachers and students life easier. Dietels do a good job in the place they are supposed to be. I'm not criticize them, I think that they are very successful for a good reason.
What I tried to say is their books were not for computer professionals.
[ September 07, 2002: Message edited by: Roseanne Zhang ]
 
Dirk Schreckmann
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'twas hyperbole.
I was just referring to one Deitel book that I saw some time ago (I forget which topic) that appeared to be nice and thick.
I agree. Nice and thick with information (especially information for beginners) is great. Nice and thick with JavaDocs that are available off of the internet (where it's probably easier to navigate and read) wouldn't interest me very much.
 
Mapraputa Is
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At least, they don't put all the API at the back to make the book really thick as Wrox does.
To be honest to Wrox, I checked five fat red books I have and only one has API at the back (Beginning XML), rest have "Appendices" with assorted references. But all five would be fat without any appendices! It's more editorial politics, I think, whether you like it or not. (They have "Early Adopter" series, and those books aren't fat at all).
And if to speak about students' back bags my main pretension as a student to Deitels book was that it was so heavy! What kind of paper do they use? Wrox books of the same thickness are lighter. (Of course, all this is of less importance for computer professionals )
Another consequence of Deitels books targeted at college students audience is that they are so expensive. Not because they are so much better than other books on the market, but because students cannot choose their textbooks.
 
Roseanne Zhang
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1) I guess that I'm not up-to-date of Dietals' books, since I’ve not taught for 2.5 years. You both said they are thick now. When Dirk said that, I actually thought he was sarcastic to my comments, since it was not thick in the past.
2) Wrox now hides APIs in the appendices
3) Students do have a choice on textbooks. The end of semester evaluation will help teacher to decide next textbook. Another thing they can do is complaining to the Dean's office. Students' complaining is very powerful; it could make non-tenure professor/instructor lose their jobs. No kidding!
4) I did heard some scandals about kickbacks on schools' choices on textbooks, in that case, teacher and students both do not have much choices. However, I don't have any evidence.
5) When I used Dietels', it was not my choice. But I did found some good things in their textbook as I described above.
[ September 08, 2002: Message edited by: Roseanne Zhang ]
 
Matt Kidd
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Originally posted by Roseanne Zhang:
3) Students do have a choice on textbooks. The end of semester evaluation will help teacher to decide next textbook. Another thing they can do is complaining to the Dean's office. Students' complaining is very powerful; it could make non-tenure professor/instructor lose their jobs. No kidding!
[ September 08, 2002: Message edited by: Roseanne Zhang ]

I can attest to this last part. Tell me that I "may not be the brightest in the class" and you better believe thats going in the evaluation.
But back to the topic. I eventually plan to learn XML (way this java cert study is going who knows when that will be) and I considered using this book as I used the java deitel book as a refresher and a way to provide practice problems. The 4th edition of that book is not that big at all and if you are willing to put the effort into it I would recommend deitel books if nothing else for the practice problems. If I'm infer the "not for computer professionals" comment correctly then this is also true as it is not the best reference book and does drag things out a bit. But considering how Deitel How-to books are textbooks it would sort of make sense...need to fill a semester or two somehow.
 
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When I said that students cannot choose their textbooks I meant the situation when we were required/advised/something else to buy Deitel's "WWW how to program" for 70 bucks to learn HTML. According to my observations, everybody did and nobody complained. If the students were free to choose a book, I am sure they could find something equally enlightening for less than 70 dollars.
That college textbooks are overpriced is not my opinion, I heart it from my instructor who said she worked in a university bookstore when she was a student and watched how prices on textbooks went up every year.
[ September 09, 2002: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Roseanne Zhang
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Textbooks are over-priced. The inflation rates on textbooks/education/etc. are at least 3-5 times or a lot more steep as national inflation rate.
This is a market economy. Everything is demand and supply. As long as they sale, why not raise the prices again?
It will stay that way until someone figures out a business idea to produce quality textbooks at lower price and still makes money, in other words, a powerful competition!!! That idea must be accepted by both authors and consumers (bookstores/schools/teachers/students/parents). It is really not easy.
You know that Greyhound Bus is not expensive. However, someone figured out a business idea, and started a bus line with about 20% of Greyhound price, and still makes money. It is booming in NJ, NY, PA, and DC area. You probably can guess what will happen next.
[ September 09, 2002: Message edited by: Roseanne Zhang ]
 
Roseanne Zhang
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Do you see the Microsoft, Sun, Marty Hall, IBM, Oracle, etc. etc. 3-5 day training courses are priced around $2000 or up. Do they really worth that much?
Therefore, local training schools are booming, since they produce quality learning courses with about 20% - 40% of the prices, using evenings and weekends, lasting longer time and you learn more and better. You don't need to pay those expensive air tickets and hotels.
That is the market economy!
[ September 09, 2002: Message edited by: Roseanne Zhang ]
 
Ashik Uzzaman
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I have the book but didn't study yet. I'll start it from tonight.
 
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