14 Replies - 1144 Views - Last Post: 28 August 2012 - 06:37 PM

#1 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Old network programming textbook?

Posted 06 August 2012 - 04:54 PM

My introduction to networks course next semester requires this book, which is the 5th edition.

However it says that I can buy the 4th edition instead, which is pretty old but really cheap. So my question is - how outdated is the material? Has network programming not changed much? Why would the professor tell us to buy a 12 year old book?

Thanks.

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#2 blackcompe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:29 PM

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Why would the professor tell us to buy a 12 year old book?


I guess the older edition has everything needed to teach the class. And he's trying to save you some money.

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Has network programming not changed much?


Sure, but the same foundations are taught year after year. By the looks of things, the 4th edition of your book contains exactly what would be covered in an undergraduate networking course. Hell, I got a lot of my information from books dating back to the 70s.

The 5th edition has new chapters with sections on VOIP, congestion control protocols, etc. You're not going to cover that in an introduction to networks. Look at your syllabus. And I bet the chapters on the internals of the network stack are mostly the same as in the 4th edition.

This post has been edited by blackcompe: 06 August 2012 - 05:32 PM

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#3 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:55 PM

Okay, just making sure because some technologies go obsolete within just a few years.
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:00 PM

How long has he been teaching the class? If it's been a few years, he's probably not going to change his course just because there's a new edition of the text.
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#5 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:22 PM

It's a woman, and she's been there for quite a while. She's kind of famous apparently.

How hard is the material? Say compared to data structures. Would like to know because I'm taking two physics courses next semester and don't want to get overwhelmed.

I guess I'll get the book for $5 to get a preview. I really have no idea what TCP/IP is all about.

This post has been edited by carnivroar: 06 August 2012 - 06:22 PM

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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:54 PM

View Postcarnivroar, on 06 August 2012 - 08:22 PM, said:

It's a woman, and she's been there for quite a while. She's kind of famous apparently.


My bad. In any case, the facts of networking change much more slowly than the textbooks. The reason for this is left as an exercise for the student.
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#7 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:13 PM

Realistically as long as it covers the basic materials, technology doesn't change nearly as much as people would lead you to believe.

The same concepts are still present in programming now as they were in the 60s (inherited from LISP, but still...) It's all a matter of modern phrasing and syntax.

So far I've yet to find a book that's been printed in the last 5-10 years that is really all that out of date. You just have to compensate by reading up on the current events of the given field.
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#8 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 13 August 2012 - 05:18 PM

The professor said it's the same material, so great.

Is network programming more CS or CIS? I'm still not sure if I should take it.

This post has been edited by carnivroar: 13 August 2012 - 05:18 PM

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#9 GWatt  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 13 August 2012 - 06:30 PM

You should take the course if you think network programming is something in which you are interested. Whether it's a more CS or more CIS course shouldn't really factor into your decision.
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#10 blackcompe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 13 August 2012 - 07:08 PM

Networks are so ubiquitous that IMO every CS graduate should have some idea of how network stacks work, both conceptually and practically. It's incorrect to say a networking course is more CS or more CIS, but I know what you mean. If anything, it's both. It really depends on the program, but typically in a CS variant, you'd dive pretty deeply into the details of the network stack and write a few programs. You might write a proxy/web/chat server or maybe even implement a TCP/IP layer. Sounds cool right? :w00t:

I guarantee you'll run into a situation where you need to communicate across a network. If you haven't already, your not coding enough. Seriously, half of DIC posts are about network programming. Do yourself a favor and learn it while you're still motivated to.

On the other hand, your college time is precious and should be spent doing what you want to do. There are equally cool (or even better) upper-level courses that are available for you to take. Networking is one of the easier courses (conceptually), and high-level languages (Java, C#) provide great abstractions that make network programming a cinch. So perhaps it's something you can learn in your free time. It's all up to you.

If you're interested in some getting gritty in networking, Stanford's VNS has some good assignments. Many schools use their framework to teach networking.

This post has been edited by blackcompe: 13 August 2012 - 07:17 PM

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#11 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 13 August 2012 - 07:31 PM

View Postblackcompe, on 13 August 2012 - 07:08 PM, said:

Networks are so ubiquitous that IMO every CS graduate should have some idea of how network stacks work, both conceptually and practically. It's incorrect to say a networking course is more CS or more CIS, but I know what you mean. If anything, it's both. It really depends on the program, but typically in a CS variant, you'd dive pretty deeply into the details of the network stack and write a few programs. You might write a proxy/web/chat server or maybe even implement a TCP/IP layer. Sounds cool right? :w00t:

I guarantee you'll run into a situation where you need to communicate across a network. If you haven't already, your not coding enough. Seriously, half of DIC posts are about network programming. Do yourself a favor and learn it while you're still motivated to.

On the other hand, your college time is precious and should be spent doing what you want to do. There are equally cool (or even better) upper-level courses that are available for you to take. Networking is one of the easier courses (conceptually), and high-level languages (Java, C#) provide great abstractions that make network programming a cinch. So perhaps it's something you can learn in your free time. It's all up to you.

If you're interested in some getting gritty in networking, Stanford's VNS has some good assignments. Many schools use their framework to teach networking.


Sounds great! I guess I had the wrong idea about network programming. I have never come across it before so I was unsure about how useful it would be for me. Thanks for the detailed answer. :^:
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#12 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 13 August 2012 - 10:12 PM

Even if you make a run for Ops land, far out of the reach of the Dev crowd, it will find you.

SSH, Telnet, SFTP, NIS, NFS, Samba, AR, LDAP, the entirety of Ops is connection on networks. If its not one thing it's another. It's an inevitability, it really is. Computers were meant to communicate with each other, so skipping that step is a pretty large gaff in a school/professional career.
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#13 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:11 PM

So first day of class today... apparently we are not going to be doing any network programming at all. Just "theory". Hmmm... for someone who is looking for an internship and needs things to put on his portfolio/resume, am I better off taking Introduction to Enterprise Computing (lots of Java stuff here)?
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#14 blackcompe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:55 PM

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So first day of class today... apparently we are not going to be doing any network programming at all. Just "theory". Hmmm... for someone who is looking for an internship and needs things to put on his portfolio/resume, am I better off taking Introduction to Enterprise Computing (lots of Java stuff here)?


If you plan to apply for an applications programmer position, a course in Enterprise Computing is definitely a wise thing, but nevertheless you should enroll in what you find interesting. That goes to say that: Of course it's smart to prepare yourself in hopes of getting a better shot at the job, but don't deny yourself the opportunity to apply, just because you didn't take that class. After all, you could spend time outside of class building a small web system to showcase your competency. Employers are much more impressed by what you've actually done, rather than what you've learned in school. The advantage of taking the course, however, is that you now have a nice base to work off when (and if) it comes time to show what you've done.

From what I've heard, many hiring managers (in larger enterprises) aren't even technically literate, so just having a degree with a good GPA should cover the question of "Can he do the job?" On the contrary, a hiring manager who is also a lead developer won't doubt your ability to write CRUD applications after hearing how you wrote this incredible application to make robots play soccer, despite your reluctance to take a course in enterprise computing. The only downside is the initial training period, which is why it's nice to be prepared and could ultimately be the determining factor of whether you get an offer.

What if you take another course, and 5 years later as an application developer you're able to apply what you learned in that course to greatly improve your application? Frankly, this is more of an opinionated issue. I see college as a way to explore, so you know of all the awesomeness out there. If you're sure of what you want to do, then by all means, gear your coursework towards that.

As I stated before, I think every CS graduate should understand network infrastructure to some degree (just the basics), even if that means doing work outside school to learn it. On the programming end, it may suffice to at least understand how to use sockets and perhaps TLS/SSL. It's pretty simple stuff. Perhaps you could ask the professor if it's OK to sit in on the lectures as a non-credit student, or you could just follow along with the class on the course site.

My advice is to take the course if you foresee yourself needing to use what you'll learn, but also to never restrict your education for any particular job.

This post has been edited by blackcompe: 28 August 2012 - 01:01 PM

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#15 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Old network programming textbook?

Posted 28 August 2012 - 06:37 PM

Sounds good, tomorrow I will ask the professor if I can sit in without getting credit for it (and sign up for the enterprise class instead).

Don't get me wrong, the networks class seems really fun, it's like a lab. But as someone who has been looking at internships and has been through two interviews (needless to say I did not get the internships), I realize that I need to improve my skills. Short-term, networks wouldn't be very helpful.

Also I just asked the professor about his enterprise course, and he said we will learn some mySQL. I had always wanted to learn it, so great.

Thanks a lot for your answers in this thread.
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