Learning: Tutorials vs. Documentations
Watching tutorials or reading documents..?! That's the question. Let's figure it out.
4 min read
I've seen so many people being biased toward this subject. Believe me, that's not how it works. You're willing to learn something. Of course, how you desire learning matters, but let's keep it in the hush-hush. Documents or tutorials?! Which one is better?! Follow and read more about this cliche struggle.
That's highly recommended we find an accurate explanation for the words and topics we want to describe throughout this article. That's why, we start with the definitions. Hopefully, it gives you a nice clean shape of meanings.
Documentations (sometimes called "docs") are quick short booklets that describe the structures, and tool's components such as classes, methods, constant variables, and so on.
You may find some docs that have some sort of a learning phase like how you can make an object from the class
X properly. That said, they usually come with examples for each reusable component, and a piece of detailed information about attributes, variables, methods, interfaces and etc.
Note: Keep in mind that it's not common for documentation to get released with examples. It mainly describes the codebase plus some critical information.
Docs are made up of DocStrings. Java boys call them JavaDoc for example. There might be implementations for your desired language. Like in Python, they're still called "DocStrings" and we use tools and mechanisms like SphinX for gathering, structuring, shaping, and formatting them and making them ready for deployment based on some specifications and conventions. You can even export them in PDF, ePub, or even HTML formats.
Tip: For Python dudes, you can use SphinX and deploy your docs on readthedocs.io for free.
When I Use Docs for Learning
I usually get my hands on docs when I need to know about some entities, how a component actually works, or what other options and attributes it has.
We all know what a tutorial looks like. I'm talking about a video-cast course, not anything text-based. They're made up of tens of episodes collected as playlists.
A good example of a tutorial is YouTube playlists where you get introduced to the subjects and sections in a flash. They're even made for introducing the audiences to the topic or giving them a deep knowledge of that thing.
Most of the tutorials are project-oriented, meaning you get into things by watching somebody implementing a scenario step by step which is quite helpful. This has made tutorials more enjoyable than docs. Don't forget to implement the examples as you move forward in a tutorial learning process.
Tutorials and short introduction videos are quite interesting choices when you're about to learn something new. They are even awesome when it comes to learning complicated topics.
Tutorials might also save you a tremendous amount of time. If you want to learn something new, always make sure you watch a quick short introduction video about it. It might change your mind about learning that specific tool or technology. That's way better than learning a topic for months and finding out that it does not suit your case.
When I Use Tutorials for Learning
Generally, I watch tutorials when I'm dealing with a tough topic and it takes someone to teach me for the sake of better understanding. If you want to get a deep knowledge of something, you better hesitate a little bit on watching its tutorials maybe.
Docs or Tutorials
You're the one who makes the choice. There are different types of people out there. A person is more of a hearing guy, meaning he can learn better by hearing. Another person might be alright with watching and illustrating. The first step is to find your type and learn that way.
An author is not limited by his words. If he runs out of ink, he gets a new pen. If he runs out of space for his words, he starts the second volume. That's why, books are perfect sources of learning because every tiny little subject is either already included or will be there in further editions.
Don't consider my words as tutorials are useless. There are benefits to tutorials as we talked about earlier. Maybe their worst disadvantage is that they are limited compared to books and text-based learning sources.
An author puts years of effort into a book whereas an average content creator might be just a few months. We have lots of amazing experienced content creators with tons of valuable videos and videocasts out there though. Don't get me wrong, please.
Hopefully, you've found this article useful and found your learning type. Being greedy in the sea of knowledge is the key to success.