Category Archives: Reviews
Node book done well
Web Development with Node and Express is the third book I’ve read about Node since 2012. Last two books were mediocre and I had quite high expectations this time.
The core of this book is building fictional website for Meadowlark Travel, a company offering services for people visiting the great state of Oregon. First two chapters cover basics about Express and Node, then in third chapter starts development of Meadowlark Travel web application. I started project from scratch and I was adding features according with material presented in consecutive chapters. I was typing most of the JS code provided in book. This way I run into some issues with typos but I had also some problems with newer versions of libraries used in book. I’m familiar with managing dependencies in Node, so I figured out which libraries I needed to downgrade. Book may contain some typos so be watchful and check errata.
At first order of chapters seemed to me a little bit chaotic, but after reading all of them they are good chunks of bigger picture. Chapters: 4 & 5 introduce good practices like version control system & quality assurance. Later, chapter after chapter, are introduced other topics like: template engine (handlebars), cookies, sessions, middleware, sending email, REST API and many more. It’s worth noting that most of the topics appears in daily work.
To sum up, Ethan Brown did good job in writing Web Development with Node and Express. He covered many topics & provided solutions to real-life developer’s problems.
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Manual for beginners
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At first I was struggling to grasp the idea how jQuery Deferreds work but explanations provided by author helped me understand this.
I solved some of challenges in Chapter 3. It’s nice that they tackle many different problems in different contexts but I didn’t find them very engaging.
In general it’s good to get familiar with idea of deferreds and this book is good with explaining with that concept.
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I have to admit that I browsed Chapter 8 because it is documentation with some examples for methods.
Actually after all those chapters, the most intriguing are appendices: A (Awful Parts), B (Bad Parts). Most of them I am already familiar with, but it is good to be reminded.
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Books consists of 2 „parts”. First 6 chapters are mostly introductory. They are answers for following question: what is design pattern? when should I use patterns? what is good structure of design pattern? when and how should I write my own patterns? what can I learn from anti-patterns? Then, there is part about design patterns. I really like Addy’s approach in book: every pattern has diagram (to visualize concept), code (to see real implementation), more examples (when pattern has some „flavours”), references (to read more), discussion (about advantages and disadvantages).
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Be more security-aware developer/user
As a web developer I learned many things about security in the day-to-day practice. I admit that Hacking Web Apps is very good overview of different ways to hack web app with useful examples. Every chapter covers specific group of hacks (e.g. XSS, CSRF, SQL injection, logic attacks and so on) and countermeasures for them. Examples are pretty useful, ready to check on existing websites (of course those you own ;-)). No matter if you are developer or user, after reading this book you’ll be much more aware of security and privacy issues.
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Good reference book
In my current project I use JSON heavily as representation when „talking to” servers. I decided to read that book and possibly get some insights how design better APIs.
First three chapters are reminder how HTTP works, its semantics a protocol and what exactly REST stands for. As an example authors use simple microblog service. Consecutive chapters cover hypermedia, the collection pattern, the design procedure and much more.
From my perspective the most interesting part (& most useful) were chapter devoted to the collection pattern and discussion about minimising semantic gap. From my developer’s point of view: using consistent, well-defined structure for JSON responses can simplify parsing and it’s easier to manage.
What I miss in this book are more complex „real-life” examples. I like academic discussions but I like practical examples more 🙂
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Cook your iOS apps
I like cookbooks and iOS6 Programming Cookbook is no exception. Author covers a lot of practical knowledge: basics of Objective-C, UI solutions, Xcode features (e.g. Interface Builder, Storyboards), concurrency, gestures, maps, networking, graphics, motion and many more.
Vandad presents material clearly, solutions contains screenshots, schemes, references and code to understand and implement it.
iOS6 Programming Cookbook is good reference book and I can recommend it to every iOS developer/hobbyist.
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Perl from the ground up
Learning Perl Video is almost 11 hours long lectures covering Perl from the ground up. Randal Schwartz presents concepts and quirks in Perl step by step. Videos are nicely divided by topics. Every video is shorter than 1 hours, so it’s optimal to pay attention to presented material and take break between videos.
Randal presents material clearly, tells some anecdotes but there are not too many examples. Hands-on experience seems to me vital when learning programming language and I checked many code snippets when I watched those lectures.
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Scala in examples
Scala Cookbook is very practical book. Author presents every small example as problem to solve and possible solutions with discussion. I learned syntax for some concepts (like pattern matching, auxiliary constructors, executing external commands, lazy collections) I’ve seen in other programming languages. The book helped me better understand how implicits work.
Moreover, there are available bonus chapters providing recipes about XML, XPath, testing, debugging and Play framework.
Scala Cookbook is comprehensive book. It provides practical solution for typical developer’s problem and I recommend this book everybody interested in Scala.
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