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Yakov Fain

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Always buy the latest editions of the programming books

After reading this blog, some of you may say that I was trying to shamelessly promote the book I’m working on, but this was not the goal of this write-up.

Over the years, I’ve authored and co-authored a number of books on programming. In two cases, the publishers asked me to write a second edition. In 2015, the second edition of my Java book was released by Wrox, and this year a second edition of the Angular book is about to be released by Manning.

IMO, the publisher asks the author to write a second edition of a programming book if the following statements are true:

1. The first edition was selling well, and the publisher sees an opportunity for additional revenues
2. A new version of the software has been released, and the first edition became outdated

When I was working on the second edition of my Java book, it became obvious to me that the quality of the materials in the second edition was much better than the first one. Why?

First, while writing a book you spend lots of time researching the subject. The second edition requires more research hence you understand the subject better.

Second, the errors do creep in no matter how many times you and technical editors go through the code samples, there is always something that can be improved or fixed.

Third, the readers of the first edition provide feedback. Some of the feedbacks are just mean (e.g one reader gave me one star on Amazon because the book arrived with scratches), but for the most part, the readers provide constructive criticism, which results in a better quality of the second edition.

Fourth, the more time you try to explain a subject to someone (in the books, blogs, classrooms, or conversations), the better you understand the subject.

Fifth, the readers have different perspectives and the real-world experience. Times and times again, I was saying to myself, “Oh, I didn’t think of it this way!” Re-write!

If you want to understand the subject, write a book about it.

My co-author Anton Moiseev and I are working on the last chapter of the second edition of our Angular book, and both of us are very happy with the results. My hat off to the editors of Manning Publications for nitpicking over tiny details and finding technical errors!

The first edition of this book was recently translated into Polish, Russian, Korean, and Chinese. It’s flattering, but unfortunately, the first edition is already one year old. Too old. Besides, the foreign publisher may hire translators who are not overly familiar with the subject, and the quality of the book suffers. Reading the book in the original language is always better.

If you made it this far, I want to thank you for reading all my ramblings. Check your bookshelf, and place some orders for the latest editions of your favorite software books!

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Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain