Some tips for Safari Flow

Safari Books Online offers access to a large library of technology and business books and videos for a monthly fee. I’ve always thought this was a cool idea, and since it debuted (2001) I’ve signed signed up several times. I’ve always abandoned it a few months later, though, after a predictable cycle of interest and neglect.

The newer Safari Flow seems to actually be sticking, though: It works great on every screen I use regularly (laptop, tablet, smartphone). I’ll turn to it during the workday when I need to learn about a specific technology. I’ll flip through a recommended chapter while standing on the train. While rocking the baby to sleep Sunday night, I started watching Doug Crockford’s Javascript Masterclass.

In short, Safari Flow suits me more than the original service ever did.

I’ve gathered a few tips I’ve been sharing when I tell other people about Flow:

  • They hide the ability to search for books by title– I think this is to differentiate Flow from the main Safari service (Flow puts the emphasis on individual chapters, instead of whole books). You can search by title, though by prepending “title:” to your search. For example, if you search for just “backbone”, Developing Backbone.js Applications is on the second page of results. Search for “title:backbone”, and it comes up on the first page.
  • Their library is much deeper than what you’ll see in the “topics” system, there are MANY books you can only find through search.

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