Archive for the 'Books' Category

High Performance JavaScript: Build Faster Web Application Interfaces

While many people praise Douglas Crockford’s (a.k.a. Javascripts adoptive parent) JavaScript: The Good Parts on a daily basis, some without even having read the book, I think that the book I am about to review is more adequate to many Javascript developers and enthusiasts.

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HTTP: The Definitive Guide

Early this week the book HTTP: The Definitive Guide has finally arrived. I’ve put on hold all my side projects and gave it a read, and have written this post to share my opinion about it.
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Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software is one of the books that you highly anticipate to read, given all the positive feedback in all the book reviews it’s listed. But I beg to differ.

I can not complain about how the book is structured and the case study it starts with. But from that point onward it’s going straight downhill. As I and other colleagues have come to realize after reading it, no sense of gratification is fulfilled, like other good technical books we’ve read. Basically I have finished the book with the same knowledge I’ve dived into it.

The book is too technically verbose, and lacks a simple way to describe the problems that the patterns solve.

If I weren’t familiar with most of the patterns provided in the book, I don’t think I would have managed to make sense of most of them while at the first read, and that is the excuse the book has to offer. The more you read it, the clearer it gets. Unfortunately that is not an excuse, especially for a book… and that is why I clearly wouldn’t make this book a recommendation for any fellow developer. It may have been da funk when it was first published, but it’s content does not shine that much in current days when we all are already used with design patterns, and do not see them as things that mystically solve problems.

Baseline: the easiest way to learn design patterns, is by facing the problems they solve on a daily basis; through programming.

sed & awk

sed & awk (2nd Edition) by Dale Dougherty and Arnorld Robbins is one of those books that deserves it’s special place on the bookshelf of any developer, system administrator or Unix enthusiast.

Initially I have bought the book to enrich my knowledge on text/stream/input parsing and reporting, a field where before I have used Perl or other scripting languages to accomplish the task. The main reason I decided to make the switch is because in most cases I have to accomplish a specific parsing/reporting task just one time, where using Perl would have been an overhead.

Aside from the main topics of the books, I did find very useful the special chapter dedicated to regular expressions. Prior to reading the book I used only PCRE and always had a bad time when grep was not compiled with support for them. But not anymore, because as I said the book has an entire chapter on them describing the POSIX regular expression and the extended regular expression set.

As the rest of the book goes, it is easy to read and follow diminishing the time I needed to assimilate the content of it to two days.

Of course in those two days I have neglected the last chapter where the full potential of awk is unleashed, because to be frank I don’t think I’ll be in the situation to do such applications in these languages.

Altogether a great book, well written, with succinct examples that will kick-start your way of parsing text from the point you read it onward.

Search Patterns: Design for Discovery

Last month I have bought the book Search Patterns: Design for Discovery by Peter Morville and Jeffrey Callender and today I’m here to share some words about it.

The book does not have any insight on how to build search boxes, implement searches or what technology to use; instead it helps you discover how, why and where people search. It is a book that is both inspirational and eye opener. The book goes through the most common problems users bump into when searching, filtering, navigating and ways these problems can be solved, or are solved currently to a level of degree.

The examples in the book are based on real world examples, and while they show good practices (and in most cases Amazon is presented as the most serious UX provider) by various websites and mobile applications, in a follow up edition (if any) I think Thunderbird 3 would merit it’s place in there, given the way the developers have improved it’s searching interface.

Bottom line: it is a book I would recommend to anybody who uses the internet.

The patterns, diagrams and the first chapter as well can be found the books official website.