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A. Williams (South East England)

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Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers)
Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers)
by Bruce A. Tate
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.35

64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for anyone interested in programming languages, 20 Jan 2011
Okay, I've given this 5 stars which is high praise but needs some qualification: probably best just to say what this book is NOT, first, and then what it IS and why it succeeds so well.

Firstly, I would take the "Seven weeks" with a pinch of salt: this isn't really a "learn Mython in 21 days" type book - with little lessons that lead at the end to being able to program in Mython. If you want to learn, say, Haskell, there are better books for that available from this very web site. And therefore you certainly won't be an expert in SEVEN languages when you've worked through this book either (i deliberately say "work through" as this is a very hands-on book).

So without out the way, I'll say what the book is and why i love it so much.
This is a book that is good if you want to more than dip your toes into a language - as Mr Tate says "I won't make you an expert, but I'll teach you more than 'Hello World' ". The amount of effort put into this tome seems phenomenal: ("This is the most demanding book I have ever written."). Not satisfied with teaching you loads about the languages (and some of these were not the author's area of expertise, he had to learn the languages himself!) he somehow found time to look into the history of the languages (an interesting subject in itself) and ALSO interview many of the key people involved in creating the languages!. The "why did you make this language" interviews are fascinating reading.

I also love Mr Tate's style- it's quite 'light' (but not as light as the "Head First" style)- you don't feel like you're reading a textbook at all, and despite the fact that some of it can get very technical, this book never feels like heavy reading: part of it is due to the fact that he has a tv/movie theme running through each language: for Ruby, the theme is Mary Poppins, and for Erlang it's The Matrix- he uses these themes to highlight the different characters of the languages, and I've never seen it done anywhere else (not to this extent anyway) but it does work, and I found the connections really amusing.

"So it's a pleasant to read, deeply researched book, but what about the languages?", I hear you ask.
Okay, in the 309 jam-packed pages Mr Tate will introduce you to, and see you through a converstion with:
Ruby, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, Clojure, and Haskell.
It's a fairly steep learning curve: this is NOT a "how to program" or "how to install" software book; but it does get you doing some fairly intense stuff fairly quickly - even if you don't do all the examples you come away knowing enough about each language to know if you want to explore it further.
Also, even if like me you're aware of some of the languages (i already knew about Haskell and Prolog) and don't want to read those parts, there's so much about the other languages, that it's still worth the money, but I would say that: it's after using this book I am now in love with Ruby, Clojure and Scala - otherwise I might not have come across those for ages - so of course I am biased: this book quite literally changed my coding life!

So to summarise: if you're interested in programming languages per se, rather than just programming in general, and getting bored with Java/C and want more than a superficial look at some other fascinating languages out there then this is an excellent book to start your coding adventure.

Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook 2009-2010
Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook 2009-2010
by Carolyn George
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An informative and clearly written book, 4 Jan 2010
Whether you are an advisor, a potential, or actual, claimant or just someone wanting a clear view of our extremely complex benefit system, then this is the book for you. I use it at work as a claims processor and it has more than paid for itself already in terms of saving time trying to make sense of our in-house guidance.

Whoever writes our 'official' guidance should look to this book to see how clarity AND detail CAN be achieved at the same time. Not only does it cover in a text-book type way all the social security benefits, such as Jobseekers allowance, but it covers housing and council tax benefits and also tax credits. And it doesn't merely just say what the law is, but gives you the legislation and also case citations, so you can always look up more if you want to. And as well as the 1500+ pages of text, it has 13 appendices which give information such as useful contact addresses, useful publications, various tables (including a very useful one listing women's pension ages), and more besides.

I am happy to recommend this superb book to anyone who needs to understand our complex benefit legislation.

Ex-Store Non-Iron Single Cuff Long Sleeve Shirt (1002W) White
Ex-Store Non-Iron Single Cuff Long Sleeve Shirt (1002W) White

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great bargain, 31 Dec 2009
For 9 quid (+ P&P) this shirt is excellent VFM - lovely material, and SUPERB delivery - was delivered within a very few days even over the xmas/new year.
And its not a cheap knock-off either- even though label has been cut-off I can tell it is from a top store.

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