What I'm Reading - Lynda.com
Lynda.com isn't exactly what I'm reading, but this site's collection of training videos and sample code is a learning resource that is worth checking out. Lynda.com covers a wide range of development topics and software products, including most Adobe products. They are an interesting alternative to sitting through days of not-always-suitably-paced classroom training, or reading technical books.I discovered lynda.com when I was gripping to Patti Sokol how I had missed an opportunity to get into a Flash training class. Patti is a first class trainer that Adobe uses for teaching Adobe employees their own products. She whispered to me to check out lynda.com. I subsequently watched a disk for ActionScript 3.0 in Flex Builder Essential Training and was sold.
Lynda.com's courses are current, interesting and nicely divided into small Quicktime movie files, allowing you to absorb a few movies at a time, whenever you have a spare few minutes. They make the first few movies of most courses available on their web site for free, which is great for trying before you buy.You can buy individual full courses for a few hundred dollars. A better alternative is their subscription model of $25/month, or $250/year. Lynda.com's products are well suited to a subscription model because software technologies are changing every year, and so every year there are new courses that you need to take. Having the freedom to go in and cherry pick a lesson on a particular subject (eg. using library elements in Dreamweaver) is also quite useful.
Here are comments on a few of the titles that I've gone through so far:
- ActionScript 3.0 in Flex Builder Essential Training, with Joey Lott. Joey is great, and so is this course.
- Dreamweaver CS3 Essential Training, with Garrick Chow. Garrick is great, and so is this course.
- Dreamweaver CS3 Dynamic Development, with David Gassner. I've just done a bit of this course, but it looks good so far.
- XHTML Essential Training and HTML Essential Training, with William E. Weinman. I have been using these to brush up on specific sub topics, rather then taking the full course. That's a good thing, because the narrator is pretty monotonous to listen to. But this does show the power of being a subscriber and having the ability to cherry pick lessons.
Something that I don't like about the subscription model is that you can only view lessons online. This is an issue for me because most of my spare learning time is when I am not sitting at a desktop and connected. For example when using Caltrain, or at Peet's, or in the late evening in bed where my wireless doesn't reach. You can get around this by copying the .mov files out of your browser cache, or running ethernet to your bedroom (which I subsequently have done). Copying the files feels a bit dishonest, but if I couldn't do this, I don't think the site would suit my needs. Getting files out of your cache is made an easier operation by the Firefox CacheViewer addon.