Monthly Archives: August 2011

Getting Started with GEO, CouchDB, and Node.js By Mick Thompson

I’m more and more enjoying the O’Reilly Getting Started guides. They provide a good introduction to cutting edge topics, and this one is no exception. I’ve been interested in learning about noSQL datastores, and learning more about CouchDB is always good. The book starts by introducing each of the topics in it’s title, giving a short informative chapter to each. Informative enough to be useful if you don’t know much about the tool, but not too long as to bore someone who knows a lot about it. The book then includes hooking them all together walking through a couple of practical examples.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the topics in the title. Essentially it does what it says on the tin.

Redis Cookbook By Tiago Macedo, Fred Oliveira

I’ve been interested in redis having seen it recently in a couple of rails based systems, and heard it described as the magic caching data structure. I grabbed a copy of the Redis Cookbook in order to get a better understanding of Redis to use it with existing systems and to see how it might fit into new systems.

The Cookbook format gave some good insights into how to use red is in different situations, and I learnt how to use the APIs by seeing how they are used in the examples. Depending on your point of view the thin size of the book can be a strength or a weakness. I was able to get through it in a few hours while traveling. For a technical reader with some exposure to key value systems the Redis Cookbook makes for a good educational read that I’d highly recommend.

Functional Programming for Java Developers By Dean Wampler

It was with eagerness and anticipation that I picked up a copy of “Functional Programming for Java Developers”. I’d heard about it on twitter, and conversations with my resident functional guru (Tony Morris) got me excited about the potential for this book.

In the end it made for a quick read. Having spent many hours working through functional exercises with Tony meant that I’d already been introduced to the majority of the ideas covered in the book, and so I fell outside the main target audience of java developers who haven’t done functional programming, but are interested. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t done functional programming, and is interested, but not to people who’ve already had exposure.

As the target audience for the book is for that group of people, I think it gets it spot on, and anyone in that group should grab a copy.  The coverage of functional programming using Java is good, and the bibliography and list of next steps is great.

The Book of Ruby By Huw Collingbourne

The Book of Ruby constantly had me torn. I love the simple and clear examples. The explanation of the core of the ruby language is very solid and well done. It’s a readable book…. but the code isn’t as clear as I would hope. In trying to point the reader to what the author views as the important things to learn, he often deliberately goes against the normal ruby coding style.

The code is simple and clear,yet there are too many times where it grates against me. There is perhaps a case to saying that it is simply my own personal biases that are getting in the way, and I can live with that, but I like to think that I’ve built up these biases and thought from experience, and that they count for something.

So in reviewing this book, I am, as I said torn. It is quite clear. It’s well written with quite good coding examples. I did manage to read it from end to end, which speaks of it’s readability. It’s sold as a gentler introduction than the classic pick-axe, but I don’t know who I’d recommend it to over the pick-axe. I give this book a 3 out of 5. It’s faults won’t let me rate it higher, but aren’t significant enough to rate it any lower.