Tag Archive: Review

Review: Getting Started with VMware Fusion, by Michael Roy – Packt Publishing

Getting Started with VMware Fusion
By Michael Roy
Publisher: Packt Publishing

This 74-page quick-start guide to help you get up and running with VMware Fusion.

Content

Installing Windows 7 and upgrading to Windows 8

Keeping your old PC alive

Much ado about snapshots

Keeping Your VM and Your Data safe

Printing from Windows

Network Adapters – what’s the difference?

Connecting peripherals to Windows

Dedicating an external keyboard exclusively to Windows

“I’m stuck, now what?”

Summary

I use a Mac. I love my Mac. However, I’m a Domino developer and Designer runs on Windows, so I have to have Windows. My solution? VMware Fusion. Even though I’m not “getting started”, this was still a worthwhile book.

The first thing I liked was that each section was labelled with “Simple”, “Intermediate”, or “Advanced”. What I didn’t like, as an experienced Fusion user, was that some of these topics seemed rather random, or at least not things I needed to learn right away to get started with VMware Fusion. For example, “dedicating an external keyboard exclusively to Windows”.  I mean really? Do I really need or want that? And do I really need that as I’m getting started?

What I appreciated was a simple, concise, and easy-to-understand explanation of snapshots and network adapters, both important concepts to understand to really get the most out of Fusion, but also easily misunderstood.

All in all, this is a short, but helpful book if you are getting started with VMware Fusion. Think of it as an extended quick start guide, or a scaled-down manual.

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: Killer UX Design

Killer UX Design
by Jodie Moule
Publisher: SitePoint Pty, Ltd.

A basic, but thorough book on UX design, but probably not aimed at developers or other non-UX designers.

Contents

  1. You Are Not Your User
  2. Understand the Business Problem
  3. Understand the User Context
  4. Making Sense of What You’ve Found
  5. Sketching to Explore the Design Concept
  6. Prototype the Solution
  7. Test, Learn, Tweak. Iterate
  8. Launch to Learn about Behavior

The book itself “aims to be an introduction to user experience design”.  It starts out very basic, including a pretty detailed description of what UX design even means.

As a developer, I like to “test early and often”. The author advocates testing your design early and often with actual users. It makes sense, for the same reason I test my code early, it’s cheaper to fix early in the process than it is later.  A good tip, but nothing groundbreaking.

She advocates knowing your user. Know the user’s business, not just the problem you are solving. Again, these are definitely musts for UX design, but nothing Earth-shattering.

With words like “stakeholders” and “ideating” througout the book, it was a bit too buzzwordy for me.

I was confused by the target audience for this book.  It is clearly set up for the reader to learn how to create an in-depth plan for UX design, i.e., it seems to be targeting people who do UX for a living, in which case, why would the reader be reading a beginner level book? However, it’s far too in-depth for someone who is just looking to incorporate better design into their regular job, i.e., a developer or programmer.

And I completely lost all respect for this book when I read “I chose to use PowerPoint for my wireframes”.  Maybe that’s what designers use, but as a developer I prefer something like Balsamiq (which to be fair, the author does mention).  But PowerPoint? Really?!

If you really feel you are missing the basics of UX design or have a lot of time to devote to the full UX design process (or are changing careers to be a UX designer?) then this book may be worth a read.

Review: Head First HTML5 Programming by Eric Freeman & Elisabeth Robson – O’Reilly Media

Head First HTML5 Programming
Building Web Apps With Javascript
by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson
Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Another excellent Head First book for HTML5 programming.  Really? It’s Head First, you can’t go wrong.

Contents

1. Getting to Know HTML5: Welcome to Webville, 2. Introducing JavaScript ad the DOM: A Little Code, 3. Events, Handlers and All That Jazz: A Little Interaction, 4. JavaScript Functions and Objects: Serious JavaScript, 5. Making Your HTML Location Aware: Geolocation, 6. Talking to The Web: Extroverted Apps, 7. Bringing Out Your Inner Artist: The Canvas, 8. Not Your Father’s TV: Video…With Special Guest Star “Canvas”, 9. Storing Things Locally: Web Storage, 10. Putting JavaScript to Work: Web Workers

Per the authors, this book is targeted to anyone willing to learn and who is not “completely new” to writing web pages.  Don’t be fooled, that doesn’t mean if you’ve been writing web pages for years that you will be bored.  This is a Head First book, I’ve never been bored with any Head First book I’ve ever read.

If you aren’t familiar with the style, the Head First books take a different approach to helping you learn.  There are puzzles, and brain teasers, and graphics, and LOTS of humor, all with the goal of helping you better absorb what you are reading.

This book jumps right in demonstrating a quick “makeover” from some HTML4 to HTML5 code.  Not to sound like a broken record, but I really like the style of Head First books where they start you at the introductory level, teach you the basics, move you along to move advanced topics, all without boring me, losing me, OR sounding condescending.  Lots of fun topics from HTML5 covered in this book including geolocation, video, and drawing, in order to keep the reader engaged and excited about learning HTML5.

Head First HTML5 Programming

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free