After tech-reviewing a few books and coauthoring Exchange Server 2007: The Complete Reference, I’ve shied away from writing another technical book. It’s an intense effort, and much more time-consuming than one can possibly imagine without actually having done it. And if you’re a fanatic about technical accuracy, and strive to provide more technical depth than other sources of information, it’s difficult to let chapters go.
Over the years, we’ve seen the quality of Microsoft’s own product documentation for Exchange Server (and most other products) rapidly improve in the breadth and depth of their technical content and presentation. Additionally, there are more sources of information online than you can possibly ever get to, including blogs, wikis, e-books, videos, et al. We’ve also witnessed a shift in information consumption patterns over these past few years, fueled by the same online content, resulting in most of us IT pros, and the world at large, now being conditioned to consume information in smaller bytes. We search for and consume information on an as-needed basis (for example, we search for “Exchange Server” AND “certificate” AND “renew” to reach Exchange Server 2007: Renewing the self-signed certificate, generally after the certificate has expired… :-).
It’s no surprise that the thought of reading a thick technical book and actually consuming the hundreds of pages that a book about a product as broad and feature-packed as Exchange Server can be daunting.
Exchange guru Paul Robichaux recently posted about the effort involved in writing, tech-reviewing, and copy editing Tony Redmond’s new book, Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out. Tony’s latest tome on Exchange Server is published by Microsoft Press. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed reading (studying would probably be a more accurate description) Tony’s books, previously published by Digital Press, and also Paul’s excellent books on Exchange.
Reflecting on whether technical books still matter — if you value your time, and want to master a subject, good technical books from great authors certainly do! They bring together the collective knowledge and experience of experts, in this case Tony Redmond and Paul Robichaux, spanning over a decade and many versions of Exchange Server. The knowledge they share from a long period of real-world Exchange Server deployments of all shapes and sizes is invaluable. It saves you from having to scour different corners of the web for information. You can be assured the information you find will be as accurate as possible and authoritative, with a great consistent presentation! Bottomline, less time wasted looking for information from hundreds of sources, more time invested in quickly going under the hood of Exchange Server 2010 and learning what’s important.
After what seems like a rather long time, I’m excited about reading a technical book packed with hundreds of pages of invaluable information on my favorite subject — Exchange Server. I like books — the ones printed on paper (sorry planet!), simply because I like to highlight important stuff as I read along. It’s a habit I’m trying to change, and this one will be consumed electronically. I may devour it on my new Windows Phone (given the excellent screen on the Samsung Focus, it’s a real possibility), a Kindle or a Nook or an iPad. Without having read it completely, I can readily recommend Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out to all folks interested in Exchange Server 2010.