Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
One of the reasons I love cookbooks, of all kinds, is because cookbooks have a clarity and simplicity of purpose. Whether it’s a cookbook for code geeks or for food geeks, its raison d’etre is the same: the “cook” has a job to do, and not a lot of time to do it. If a home chef wants to whip up a nice dinner for guests, he don’t want to have to understand the entire history of French cooking; he just wants a simple, well-written recipe for coq au vin. Similarly, if a sysadmin wants to receive an hourly email with a list of zombie processes on the new test server down the hall, she probably wants to hack together a quick bash script, and she doesn’t want to read the collected works of Grady Booch to do it.
Therefore, for me, the best benchmark of a code cookbook is how effectively I can go from the idea, “I need a script to do ‘foo’,” to having a script that does “foo” effectively. It was with this purpose in mind that I set O’Reilly’s new bash cookbook down next to me.