ICL Services
4 April 2019


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Is it worth studying old books on programming?

There are many new books on programming, but they are not always of high quality. Moreover, the training goes on-line very quickly. Is it worth spending time studying old books on programming (for instance, those published before 2010)? If so, what books should we pay attention to? Tproger journalists decided to find out the opinions of experts, one of them was Danil Yusupov, ICL Services Software Engineer.

"I believe that it is not necessary to renounce all the books that are outdated. I think it all depends on what exactly we want to study.

If this is something fundamental, such as «Algorithms and data structures», then why not. The first thing that appears when requested by Google is a book written by Niklaus Wirth in 1976. Yes, it is still popular!

Also, books written on design patterns and some common areas of programming do not become outdated. Of course, I do not argue that the more recent books may cover a specific area more extensively, taking into account current trends, problems and experiences.

But if we want to learn something more specialised in programming, then reading old books is not a good idea. Here everything becomes obsolete pretty quickly. I will explain it by my own example. I decided to somehow study the React library in JavaScript. Bought a book «React and Redux. Functional Web Development», written by Alex Banks and Eva Porcello. When buying, I looked whether the year of publication coincided with the current year (I bought it in 2018). While reading the book, I found out that a part of the code presented there was simply non-working. It turned out that the React library has been updated for a long time and some of its functions were «deprecated». And it turned out that the book was published by O’Reilly in 2017, and translated and released by domestic Piter Publishing House only in 2018. So here you need to be careful", said Danil.


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