I’ve had my copy of Mastering XPages (2nd Edition) for a little while. It’s a darn heavy book, but because of that, it’s packed with information. More packed that the 1st Edition? Why, yes, yes it is. Mine is in hard cover and the 1100-plus pages is a little bit daunting to carry around. Nonetheless, there is nothing quite like it.
I’ve always been a guy who learns well from physical books. I like the feel of them. I like the structured approach to learning that they provide. The code examples in the text, along with great images, really provide a lot on insight to what you can do with XPages. I’d say it compares well with reading a variety of blogs because of the depth and structure provided. I can and do read dozens of blogs, but they don’t have any comprehensive structure. For example, I write mostly about the problems that I’ve encountered coding in XPages. While that might teach you a lot about XPages, it’s got no structure at all. If you read Marky’s blog, you’ll learn a lot, and often in a structured manner about the topic he’s dealing with, but it won’t take you from ground zero to XPages developer. Similarly, the extensive XPages library over at Notes in 9 is fantastic (and you ought to be watching all of those videos), but there’s not necessarily a comprehensive plan, nor a logical learning order. I love Paul Della-Nebbia’s video series, Intro to XPages, as it’s a great place to start learning, but you won’t get 21 chapters of knowledge there.
Now, before you start thinking it’s a massive slog of text with only hard-copy code samples, brace yourself. Just like the blogs noted above, you can download sample applications that go along with the examples in the book to help you learn all aspects of XPages.
In the months I’ve owned it, I’ve read several chapters straight through, used one chapter (18 – Internationalization) to add a huge capability to our applications with a mere hour of research and searched through the massive text for little bits and pieces.
This brings me to the electronic version. I’m old. I’ve admitted above to loving books. As I was pondering my review, I thought I needed to try the electronic version. So, using the code supplied in the hard-copy of the book, I added the electronic version to my tablet (Motorola Xoom that’s getting a bit long-in-the-tooth). I searched a little, which definitely beats the heck out of the hard copy’s index, since you can not only find more, but also jump directly to that spot in the text. I sat and read a little — I’ve already established that I’m willing to read books on it with military history — and it’s very nice. When you get into books over a thousand pages, it’s so much easier to tote around an electronic copy in your backpack, or read on the Metro, or pluck it out of your carry-on while flying to MWLUG. I highly recommend the electronic version. Depending on finances, I might not worry about the hard copy next time and simply get my hands on the e-book.
This edition adds in various changes from the release of the 1st edition — over 3 years of changes. It’s written in the irrepressible style that won Marky’s approval. It’s a jam-packed learning experience. If you don’t have it already, do yourself a favor and get a copy today. Try the electronic version. You’ll thank me.