Good Intentions with Tutorials

You have to give credit to all those individuals that take time out to create tutorials that help others overcome obstacles they run into when trying to implement something new. I’ll be the first to bow down to those individuals, they’ve saved me from dissaster time and time again.

Today’s blog isn’t about those people though, it’s about those that create tutorials that are so hard to follow and so full of errors you wish they had not done the tutorial in the first place. You know who I’m talking about, the ones that write tutorials for Facebook using an API that is 3 versions old and no longer supported by Facebook.

Or maybe its the one that writes a tutorial on how to create a Facebook application using asp.net and mvc that does not work, does not have a forum you can go to for help and when it does gets you no replies unless you are prasing the writer. Yeap, that’s the one I’m talking about today.

Why do people engage in such a practice? Are the emails and forum postings not enough to tell them that their writing sucks?

I just spent a whole week trying to find tutorials that would help me create a Facebook application. I found several that, at first glance, looked promissing. I downloaded the sample code, reviewed it, and found it to be a complete waste of my time. Others I downloaded the sample code and found it to be very well written so I proceeded to walk through the tutorial only to find out that the sample app did not work at all. What a waste of a good week!

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2 thoughts on “Good Intentions with Tutorials

  1. Nice writeup. Yes, the web is full of ridiculous tutorials but quality tutorials are there as well.

    With particular reference to facebook, well they keep on changing their infrastructure too much. So before you dig up a tutorial it is better to visit facebook site first and check what is their latest API and then search for tutorials (based on date, if possible).

    When FB first came out with their CONNECT technology, I did a 7 part video series on it including how to send direct REST REQUESTS for video upload without using a helper library. 6 months down the road, Mr. Zuckerburg announces that CONNECT is deprecated and now there is GRAPH API.

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  2. To continue from previous comment, they keep on experimenting too often and their API’s are very buggy as a result. For example, if you search FB developer forums you would find a lot of Graph API issues where the GRAPH API returns resultset intermittently, whereas sending out blank JSON at other times.

    I understand bugs are a fact of life. But they should concentrate on making existing platforms better, rather than just doing away with something entirely.

    This involves a lot of learning curve for most developers because, frankly speaking, there really isnt much money to be made just working on facebook API. Developers are working at different stuff and they take up facebook API as a side project – as a hobby. But, with FB changing their platform so much, it seems that FB wants the developers to just volunteer our time to learning their stuff.

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