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Daniel Jebaraj on Succinctly ebooks

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Syncfusion has published a series of free ebooks under the series Succinctly, which provides concise information about the topic in less than 100 pages. Each succinctly ebook includes comprehensive explanation of the content along with source codes and relevant screenshots. The books can be downloaded after a simple registration process and are available in both Amazon Kindle and PDF formats.

Succinctly ebooks are available for download for GIS, Data Structures, Objective-C, F#, Knockout.js, C++, ASP.NET MVC 4 Mobile Websites, LightSwitch, JavaScript, HTTP, PDF, Git and jQuery.

In an exclusive talk with InfoQ, Daniel Jebaraj, Vice President, Syncfusion shared his views on Succinctly ebook series.

InfoQ: Can you share with us the main purpose/motivation behind the release of the Succinctly series?

The Succinctly series originated from one key frustration - finding key technical information on a new topic is often like looking for a needle in a haystack. Information is certainly plentiful but harder to digest. You have to read several 500+ page books or scour the web for relevant blog posts and other articles.

Just think about the many times we start to read a 500 or 1000 page treatise. Just how many times have we given up after a couple of hundred pages? I certainly have done so many, many times. Quite frustrating, especially if you consider that the bulk of the information presented can be done away with if you define your target audience pretty well.

Our books primarily target developers working on the Microsoft platform. We firmly believe, given the background knowledge such developers have, that most topics can be translated into books that are about 100 pages.

InfoQ: Do you think a book of less than 100 pages of content will be sufficient for learning the concept?

Absolutely. This works great even for new material.

Take Objective C Succinctly for example. Objective C is a relatively new topic for most of us working on the Microsoft platform. If you read through the book and work with the samples, you will be surprised at how much you can learn. Certainly, there are a few advanced concepts that are not covered but you will be able to read, write Objective C and follow along with any Apple provided documentation. All this can be accomplished in the 100 pages or so that the book contains.

Larger books often contain tons of material that is only of peripheral interest to the topic being covered. Our goal is to eliminate such content, keeping descriptions and samples concise. This formula works really well.

Larger technical books have a role but primarily as reference material. Books that cover key concepts should not be 500+ pages.

InfoQ: We saw that you have released an e-book on LightSwitch. Do you think it is a demanding topic among developers?

Yes, it is definitely an up-and-coming area. Many typical line-of-business applications can be implemented quicker using LightSwitch and I believe that more and more people are realizing this as they start exploring the product.

InfoQ: Which e-book has been downloaded the most number of times?

Our JavaScript related titles have been the most popular, but then they have been out the longest. Every title published so far has had great reception.

InfoQ: How will you access the requirement for the release of an e-book?

We receive suggestions on topics by email from users of the Succinctly series. Many times, we internally analyze and decide on topics to cover.

InfoQ: Does Syncfusion provide any kind of support for those who download e-books?

Yes, users can certainly contact us through normal support channels available on our website.

InfoQ: We saw that there is a separate request form for downloading each e-book. Do you have any plan to provide access to all e-books in a single location?

Yes, this is in the works. We will make the download experience simpler in the next few weeks.

InfoQ: Do you think F# is a higher-demanding topic than C# and VB?

F# is not harder. It is just different. It requires a paradigm shift from more traditional procedural thinking to functional thinking. Once you make that transition, it is not really harder or easier than any other mainstream language.

InfoQ: Can you share with us the marketing strategy for the Succinctly series?

Our goal is to get these books into the hands of every single Microsoft platform developer on the planet. We have not worked with college/university students on this directly yet, but we do get a fair number of downloads from students.

InfoQ: Do you have any plan to release print versions of the Succinctly series?

Not in the short team at least.

InfoQ: Can you disclose about the upcoming new releases in 2013?

We have books coming on Windows 8 development, Unit Testing, Node.js and much more.

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