At the Forge - 2010 Book Roundup
It's nice to work with languages that you already know, but there's a lot to be said for learning and working with new languages as well. Each language teaches you something new and (I would argue) improves your understanding of other languages you already know. So, I was pleased to discover Seven Languages in Seven Weeks by Bruce Tate, published by the Pragmatic Programmers. The book reviews (as you might expect) seven programming languages, each quite different from the others: Ruby, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, Clojure and Haskell.
Another popular language, although we might not think of it as such, is SQL, the query language used in all relational database systems. Just as there are books and tutorials about “design patterns”, examples of how you can and should structure your code, a growing number of articles and books talk about “antipatterns”, examples of how you should not structure your code. The book SQL Antipatterns by Bill Karwin, published by the Pragmatic Programmers, introduces a number of ways people should not use SQL and relational databases, and then it shows ways in which database tools can and should be used. I was very happy to see that he recommended against using the “float” type, against searching through textual columns with patterns like '%target%', and against storing multiple values in a single column. I have seen these (and more!) on many projects, and it's nice to have a checklist for what to avoid. I largely disagree with the author's argument in favor of putting images and other large binary objects inside BLOB columns. That said, he made a fairly convincing argument for his case and acknowledged that this is a subject of great controversy. Especially if you're fairly new to database and query design, this book might well come in handy.
When Steve Jobs publicly announced that there would be no support for Flash on iPhones and iPads, many people wondered what the alternatives were. Jobs told everyone that HTML5 offers most or all of the same capabilities. My response was, “Hmm, I guess HTML5 is further along than I thought—I'd better check it out.” I've since been reading up on the various parts of the emerging HTML5 standard, and I must admit that it seems very compelling, at least at this stage.
My main source of information is Mark Pilgrim's Dive into HTML5, published both for free on-line and also as a book from O'Reilly. I have long found Pilgrim's writing to be clear and entertaining, and I was not disappointed by his description of HTML5. The Web version of his book has the advantage of being able to demonstrate the features alongside the description, letting you see what your browser can do, with graphical depictions of what other browsers would show instead. If you are a Web developer of any sort, you should read Pilgrim's book, and then bookmark it as a reference to which you will turn many times during the coming years.
A surprisingly interesting book, also published by O'Reilly, is Web Reputation Systems by Randy Farmer and Bryce Glass. My dissertation software includes a rating system, so I was interested in what these authors had to say on the subject. I didn't expect there would be enough to fill an entire book, but I found that they provided interesting food for thought, as well as practical considerations for the implementation and incorporation of rating systems into a Web site. If you're considering the inclusion of such a rating system into your Web application, this book is worth at least a look.
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SourceClear Open
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script