Tag Archive: Book Review

Review: Head First C#

Head First C#
OReilly Publishing
By: Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene


Start Building with C#

It’s all Just Code

Objects: Get Oriented!

Types and References

C# Lab: A Day at the Races

C# Lab: The Quest

C# Lab Invaders

I love Head First books.  I know, it’s crazy to say you love a technical book, right? But I really do. The format just works for me. They’ve done a great job of analyzing how people learn, and writing a technical book that can actually stimulate and interest the reader.

I think my first and only regret with this is that I got the eBook version. There are exercises in the book and there’s something about the format (lots of visuals) that lends itself really well to an actual in real life book.

The book has a lab to create your very own space invaders game. Do you really need to know any more than that? These guys really know how we learn, how to get the material across, how to keep the reader interested, and how to motivate the reader to do the exercises. But don’t worry, you don’t just thrown into creating your own video game, the book starts with the basics and builds up.

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

Review: If Hemingway Wrote Javascript

If Hemingway Wrote JavaScript
Angus Croll
No Starch Press

I’m not going to lie to you and say that you’ll learn JavaScript from this book.  It is, however, incredibly entertaining.  The author takes 25 “literary luminaries” and presents 5 different JavaScript assignments as though completed by the luminaries.  Also included are four poems, such as “The Variable” ‘by’ Edgar Allen Poe.

The assignments include things like writing a function to show the first n numbers in the Fibonacci sequence and writing a chainable function to accept one word per call, but play back all the previously passed in words in order. The authors include Hemingway (of course), Shakespeare, Kafka, JK Rowling, and more.

It’s a very clever book, very well written. Showing different authors tackling the same JavaScript assignments is just genius. Hemingway, for example has zero comments in his code. Shakespeare has more comments than code, and they’re of course written in iambic pentameter.

My only complaint is that the Kindle version seems to be images, rather than text, and some of the images didn’t transfer well to eBook format. Get yourself the paperback version.

Obtained From: Book store
Payment: $13

Review: User Story Mapping – OReilly Publishing

User Story Mapping
By Jeff Patton
O’Reilly Publishing


The Big Picture

Plan to Build Less

Plan to Learn Faster

Plan to Finish on Time

You Already Know How

The Real Story About Stories

Telling Better Stories

It’s Not All on the Card

The Card Is Just the Beginning

Bake Stories Like Cake

Rock Breaking

Rock Breakers

Start with Opportunities

Using Discovery to Build Shared Understanding

Using Discovery for Validated Learning

Refine, Define, and Build

Stories Are Actually Like Asteroids

Learn from Everything You Build

First off, I am definitely not the book’s target audience. The book states it is for product managers and user experience practitioners, product owners, business analysts, and project managers, or agile and lean process coaches. So that being said, I still think that user stories are important and I was hoping to learn something about improving them and using them for my job as a software developer and consultant.

As far as a book on user story mapping, this book is well-written, the author seems to have a lot of experience, and the book is written with humor.

However, for my own use, I don’t think I will realistically be employing any of these techniques as they are a bit involved and over the top.  Clearly the techniques in the book are written for people for whom user story mapping is a full time job.  No one else would ever have the time to devote to all of this.  Again, I wasn’t the target audience and that’s my own fault, however there wasn’t really anything I could glean and apply to myself, unfortunately.

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

Review: Java Cookbook

Java Cookbook
by Ian F. Darwin
Publisher: O’Reilly Publishing


  1. Getting Started: Compiling, Running, and Debugging
  2. Interacting with the Environment
  3. Strings and Things
  4. Pattern Matching with Regular Expressions
  5. Numbers
  6. Dates and Times – New API
  7. Structuring Data with Java
  8. Object-Oriented Techniques
  9. Functional Programming Techniques: Functional Interfaces, Streams, Parallel Collections
  10. Input and Output
  11. Directory and Filesystem Operations
  12. Media: Graphics, Audio, Video
  13. Network Clients
  14. Graphical User Interfaces
  15. Internationalization and Localization
  16. Server-Side Java
  17. Java and Electronic Mail
  18. Database Access
  19. Processing JSON Data
  20. Processing XML
  21. Packages and Packaging
  22. Threaded Java
  23. Reflection, or “A Class Named Class”
  24. Using Java with Other Languages

There are over 800 pages in this third edition of the Java Cookbook. The book states that it is not for beginners, and that is correct.  While some basics of Java are covered in order to move on to other topics, this is not a book for learning Java. Incidentally, the book includes a great resources section including many books for learning Java and general programming.

As you can see from the table of contents, this is a very thorough book covering many topics. I liked the format of “Problem”, “Solution”, and “Discussion”, however, it doesn’t “read” like a book. These are “recipes” lumped together by topic, but not necessarily sequential.  It made it hard for me to either browse the book or find any one particular problem.

The Java Cookbook is filled with loads of examples and sample code. There are tons of solutions to be found. I found it incredibly thorough, but very dry and a bit difficult to navigate.

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

Review: Hands On Sencha Touch 2

Hands-On Sencha Touch 2
By: Lee Boonstra
O’Reilly Publishing

Right off the bat, I like the comparison to Sencha Touch versus jQuery Mobile, Appcelerator Titanium, and Kendo UI Mobile.  (Although a bit biased, perhaps, as the author is employed by Sencha, but still useful).  The book targets beginner to intermediate programmers, experienced with JavaScript, JSON, CSS3, and HTML5.


  1. Introduction to Sencha Touch
  2. Installation
  3. The Fundamentals
  4. The Class System
  5. The Layout System
  6. Structured Code
  7. Data Models
  8. Remote Connections (Server Proxies)
  9. Data Stores
  10. Offline Storage (Client Proxies)
  11. View Components
  12. Forms
  13. Themes and Styles
  14. Builds

“With the Sencha Touch framework, developers can create native-like mobile app experiences by building an HTML5 web application.”  Using the “FindACab” application, this book seeks to help you do just that.  While possibly necessary to know, the mention of Sencha products feels a bit heavy-handed.

I appreciate the Installation chapter, as all too often instructions or demos just assume you have every IDE and software installed.  Not only does the author list what you will need, but also how to install it, as well as some pitfalls along the way.

This is a well thought out book that hits the target of beginner to intermediate programmers.  Lots of sample code is included in the book, as well as downloadable code for the reader’s use.

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

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