Tag Archive: Book Review

Review: Speaking JavaScript

Book: Speaking JavaScript

By: Dr Axel Rauschmayer

Publisher: O’Reilly Publishing

Thorough book on JavaScript from the very basic to the more advanced with lots of tips and example code along the way.

Contents

  • i. JavaScript Quick Start
  • Basic JavaScript
  • ii. Background
  • Why JavaScript
  • The Nature of JavaScript
  • How JavaScript was Created
  • Standardization: ECMAScript
  • Historical JavaScript Milestones
  • iii. JavaScript in Depth
  • JavaScript’s Syntax
  • Values
  • Operators
  • Booleans
  • Numbers
  • Strings
  • Statements
  • Exception Handling
  • Functions
  • Variables: Scopes, Environments, and Closures
  • Objects and Inheritance
  • Arrays
  • Regular Expressions
  • Dates
  • Math
  • JSON
  • Standard Global Variables
  • Unicode and JavaScript
  • New in ECMAScript 5
  • iv. Tips, Tools, and Libraries
  • A Meta Code Style Guide
  • Language Mechanisms for Debugging
  • Subclassing Built-Ins
  • JSDoc: Generating API Documentation
  • Libraries
  • Module Systems and Package Managers
  • More Tools
  • What To Do Next

This is a very thorough book.  If you’ve had no experience at all with JavaScript, read the first section:  JavaScript Quick Start.  This will give you the basics that you need to get started with JavaScript.  If you’ve been using JavaScript already, then skip ahead.  Personally, I could do without the “Background” section, but I’m sure some readers will find it useful.  Also, I feel a “Why JavaScript” section is a bit useless as I’m probably already convinced of the usage of JavaScript if I’m reading this book, but hey, maybe you can read this section and convince your friends to use JavaScript.  So jumping into the more useful (to me) section of the book, “JavaScript In Depth”:  I liked the included sections for the various categories including:  best practices, tips and tricks, “don’t be clever”, controversial rules, and pitfalls.  Not only are more advanced topics of JavaScript covered, but also practical usage of JavaScript (and how to avoid trouble).  Use cases are included, as well as my favorite “format” for demonstrating code including: “bad”, “better”, and “best” examples.

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

Review: Mobile Design Pattern Gallery – UI Patterns for Mobile Applications – OReilly Publishing

Mobile Design Pattern Gallery – UI Patterns for Mobile Applications – 2nd Edition
by Theresa Neil
Publisher: O’Reilly

A device-agnostic look at design patterns.  This well-done book covers the gamut of design patterns and gives thoughtful explanations on what works and what does not work.

Content

Navigation
Forms
Tables
Search, Sort & Filter
Tools
Charts
Tutorials & Invitations
Social Patterns
Feedback & Affordance
Help
Anti-Patterns

Mobile Design Pattern Gallery, 2nd Edition is not yet available.  The expected publication date is May 22, 2014.

This updated edition is chock full of great design patterns and why they work.  The book says it targets developers and it hits the mark.  Each section of the book covers the full range of the topic.  For example, the Navigation section covers the topics of permanent and transient navigation within mobile applications including navigation patterns like springboards, dashboards, galleries, tab menus, etc.  Side drawers, toggle menus, page swiping, and more are all explained.  Based on title alone, I had to read “Oceans of Buttons” in the anti-patterns chapter.  Just one of the gems in that section is where the author compares an older version of an application to a newer version, where they’ve actually gotten worse.  To quote the author, “now with more buttons!”.

This is a well-written book with tons of examples for mobile design.

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

Review: iOS7 Programming Fundamentals by Matt Neuburg, OReilly Publishing

iOS7 Programming Fundamentals

by Matt Neuburg

Publisher: OReilly

Everything you need to know to get started with programming for iOS7.

Contents

Language

Object-Based Programming

Objective-C Objects and Messages

Objective-C Classes

Objective-C Instances

IDE

Nib Management

Documentation

Life Cycle of a Project

Cocoa

Cocoa Events

Accessors and Memory Management

Communication Between Objects

You can’t say this book isn’t thorough.  This book really and truly covers the fundamentals of programming for iOS7.  However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile for those who already know some iOS programming.  The book is broken up into several parts.  Part I introduces Objective-C.  Maybe you already know some Objective-C?  Then skip ahead to part II, which turns to Xcode.  Part III covers Objective-C and Cocoa.

In addition to providing what you need to know on Objective-C and programming for iOS7, techniques are of course provided on general programming and iOS (regardless of version).

Each chapter is well laid out and progressive in nature, i.e. basic knowledge is given first and built upon in each successive chapter.  This is invaluable for someone just learning, but also allows the more experienced developer to skip ahead to the sections they need to learn.

iOS7 Programming Fundamentals will give you the information you need to begin creating applications for iOS7 and if it just isn’t enough for you, there is a “sequel” of sorts, “Programming iOS7”.  The update from 6 to 7 required the author to split the content into two separate books, but make no mistake this book  stands alone and is incredibly thorough in its content.

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

Review: Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun, OReilly Media Publishing

Confessions of a Public Speaker
By Scott Berkun
Publisher: O’Reilly Media

I’ve never seen Scott Berkun speak, so I have no idea if he is a good public speaker or not.  I can tell you that he has some of the best advice I’ve ever read if you are thinking about (or already do) public speaking.

“Confessions of a Public Speaker” is not just a book of advice for speaking. In fact, it isn’t really that at all — that is just a nice bi-product.  It is, instead, anecdotes from Scott Berkun’s own experience.  Real and honest anecdotes from his experience.  I don’t mean “real and honest” because I vetted the factuality of the stories, I mean that he isn’t afraid to embarrass himself.  He puts his mistakes up for review and makes the reader laugh about them, as well as learn from them.

From tackling fear, to preparation, to dealing with difficult audiences, he covers it all, including “what to do if your talk sucks”.  He covers hecklers and all the horrible things that can go wrong during a public speaking session.

I’ve spoken at quite a few conferences around the world and I know I learned a thing or 15 from this book.

Confessions of a Public Speaker

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

Review – The Art of iPhone Photography by Bob Weil, Nicki Fitz-Gerald – O’Reilly Publishing

The Art of iPhone Photography
by Bob Weil, Nicki Fitz-Gerald
Publisher: O’Reilly Media

This book goes way beyond snapping photos with your phone.  In a simple and easy-to-follow manner, you can see how to create art with your iPhone*.

Contents

1. Tutorials – Part 1: Photography and 2. Tutorials – Part 2:  Illustration and Fine Art

Each of the two sections of the book contain several subsections.  Each subsection covers a category, such as Landscape or People & Portraits.  45 different “iPhoneographers” contribute a study.  Each of the studies is by a particular photographer, based on a specific photo and covers: What You’ll Learn, What You’ll Need, Back Story, The Process, My Favorite Apps, and a Summary. A photo is shown in each study and the details of how it was created, including the photographers decisions in setup and editing, are discussed.

The studies make it easy to follow along, as well as skipping around the book to the photographs that interest you.  The book is great if nothing else than for the many iPhone app suggestions.  After reading just a couple of the studies, I downloaded a couple of apps and tried out some of the suggested techniques.  I was very happy with the resulting photo.  The cases go way beyond the usual concepts of framing and cropping and go much farther into the art aspect with saturation, and blurring, and artistic additions of light (via editing) and dark.

While I am a huge fan of photography, I could never get into the deeply technical aspects of F stops and apertures.  That’s one of the many reasons I like smartphone photography.  This book is for people like me, looking to get the most out of their iPhone photos without delving into technical jargon.

*The authors do admit that many of the techniques and applications used to take and edit photos are not strictly limited to iPhones.


The Art of iPhone Photography

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

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