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The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications
The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications
by Michal Zalewski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book!, 16 Feb. 2012
The Tangled Web is mostly about web technologies and how insecure they are by nature. The book is a very engaging narrative, full of details and impressive war stories. It focuses on the practical issues of web technologies and not on the theory of security. The book can be very useful for web developers and those interested in security. For example, at the end of each chapter we can find a "Security Engineering Cheat Sheet", which presents us a summary of things to consider/do. These sheets alone make the book worthwhile having. The book is organized in three main parts. In the first one, the author tells us the story of the inception of the web until today and discusses all the important technologies, protocols, etc. The second part focuses on the browser security and the third part on "the things to come". Although the book is not very thick (around 300 pages) it addresses too many important issues to completely absorb them in a single reading.

To conclude, the Tangled Web is a solid book, full of interesting and useful information. For web developers and security experts it should be a must read book. For the rest of us it is an enjoyable reading.

The Art of R Programming: A Tour of Statistical Software Design
The Art of R Programming: A Tour of Statistical Software Design
by Norman Matloff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.52

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only book you need to learn and master R, 17 Nov. 2011
"The Art of R Programming" by Norman Matloff is an excellent book and probably is the only book you need to learn and master R. Master it as a programmer and not just as an occasional user. I was such a user, using R only for some statistical tests and doing some plots. However, Norman's book completely changed the way I approached R. By teaching it as a programming language rather than a statistical tool, it increased immensely my knowledge on R and making it more useful for my research work. The book covers the fundamentals about R (always with a programmer's view) and guides you to advanced and useful topics such as Parallel R, debugging, interface to other languages, etc. The writing style is very concise and clear. The explanations, advices and examples very good. This book convinced me early on to properly learn R and I am sure it is the best book for that. I highly recommend this book to everyone who needs to use R or wants to add it to their toolbox.

The Book of Ruby: A Hands-On Guide for the Adventurous
The Book of Ruby: A Hands-On Guide for the Adventurous
by Huw Collingbourne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice book but probably not the best for a novice, 26 Sept. 2011
Disclaimer: No Starch Press provided me a free copy for review.

Ruby is a programming language that I always liked. When "No Starch Press" offered me the opportunity to review "The Book of Ruby" I was curious because the two previous books I've read from them were simply excellent. I already have four books on Ruby so I was wondering how this one could compare to those but most important, if it would follow the same "fun style" as Land of Lisp and Learn You a Haskell. After reading the book, unfortunately, my feelings are mixed.

The book is well-written, with a good structure, covering beginner topics to advanced ones. It contains 20 chapters (without the introduction) and 4 appendixes. The initial chapters focus on the basics of the Ruby language. The later ones focus on more advanced parts of Ruby and more specific topics, for example, debugging and Ruby on Rails. This is a positive aspect of the book since for someone starting with Ruby can have in a single source access to several important topics. The chapters also have a "Digging Deeper" section at the end, presenting interesting discussions of the topic at hand. Also a nice read was the last chapter since it deals with the dynamic aspects of the language (use of eval, etc).

However, the book has some issues. The most important one is about the coding style, or the lack of it. The book is not consistent, does not follow Ruby conventions and it shows quite easily. I believe this is bad for a novice programmer in the language since it makes examples harder to understand, not to mention other things. Second, the book does not have the same "fun style" as the other No Starch Press books. This is a not problem per se but since the book subtitle is "A hands-on guide for the adventurous", the reader is more or less mislead to think it follows the other books "fun style". Third, the examples are too contrived and a few project ideas are missing. Ruby is a very nice language and with it you can do lots of things without writing lots of lines. So, it is a little disappointing that a book that aims itself for someone that wants to learn the language (but not programming from scratch) is not offered with some pointers in how to expand what is learning.

To conclude, the book is nice but probably is not the best book for a complete novice and not the best ruby book.

Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide
Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide
by Miran Lipovaca
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good first Haskell book, 8 Jun. 2011
I must say I learned a lot and it was fun reading this book! It is very well written and presents a lot of material aimed to true beginners. Although it should be noted that it's not a text for beginners in programming, only for those who don't know Haskell. And the text really focuses on the language and skips unnecessary stuff, which is quite good because you start working with Haskell immediately. Another good thing of the book is the actual pace. The information comes at the right speed! You never feel it's going to fast or too slow, or that suddenly things become too complicated. It builds your knowledge of Haskell in the right amount, especially if you take some time to do some coding of your own. Only the last chapters of the book start to become more hard to grasp at a first reading because it deals with advanced concepts that will need more training from a beginner.

The author has a sense of humor while not filling the text with lots of jokes or provocative humor; it just feels natural. The cartoons that populate the book are not comics and just have a figurative role. I must confess that sometimes they just fill space but others they help making the reading more nice. My only complain with the book is the lack of coding exercises at the end of each chapter. This wouldn't be a complain if the book was more structured around mini-projects that would force you to code something larger than small functions. They exist, e.g., the task list, the calculator, but more would be a nice addition.

Did I learn Haskell with the book? Definitely yes! And it was fun! Naturally I'm still at a beginner's level but if I keep coding more in Haskell, I believe I can consolidate what I've learned and be ready to pass to a more intermediate level. I have not read other Haskell books but if you want to learn the language, have a good grasp of its capabilities and what you can do with it, this is a good book to achieve it and I recommend it without a doubt!

Disclaimer: I was offered by the publisher a free copy for review.

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