March 27, 2003

Go on a Safari

User group leaders were recently given a chance to test-drive the O'Reilly Network Safari Bookshelf in order to report their experiences to their members. After taking a spin, Safari proved to be a smooth ride. Read the rest of the review to learn more. The O'Reilly Network Safari Bookshelf, is an electronic reference library for developers and IT professionals in general. With Safari, you can access over 1,300 technical books from the top technical book publishers--O'Reilly (of course), Addison-Wesley, Microsoft Press, and more. When evaluating an ebook library, the main requirements that I look for is easy navigation, powerful search, a wide selection of books, and speed. Not only does Safari meet these requirements, but it blows by the competition. The categories are extremely organized and you can get as specific as you want. I went to the "Programming -> Java -> J2EE" section and had 14 books to choose from. A search for "Web services" came back with 144 books! Definitely enough to keep a Web services junkie busy. My favorite feature is Safari's search capability that allows you to search through all the books. They even have an advanced code search that returns results based on code examples. If you are tired of sifting through Google results trying to find code examples, then you will find this feature extremely useful. I was recently doing some Web services programming with Apache Axis and did a code search for the main package name of the Axis API (org.apache.axis) and Safari found 26 sections in 6 books that matched my search. You can even get down to the class name by searching for terms such as "javax.xml.rpc.Service"! Instant access to code has to be one of the most useful resources for the serious programmer. Even if you are anti-ebooks and must have paper books, Safari still proves to be the best and most cost-effective way to review books before you buy. There is an introductory program just for user group members. If you sign up for a Safari 14-day free trial and send an email with comments, or tips and tricks for how you used Safari, you can win some prizes. Every week someone will be chosen from the tips or comments submitted to receive a prize from O'Reilly (T-shirts, book bags, other surprises). If a member of your the group is selected, the entire group will receive a free gift, too. One lucky group will be selected for an onsite speaking visit from Tim O'ReillyPosted by Nasseam Elkarra at March 27, 2003 12:58 AM