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Daniel Bryant "Software developer and full-stack generalist (@danielbryantuk)" (Guildford, UK)

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Java 8 Lambdas
Java 8 Lambdas
by Richard Warburton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A soon to be classic in the essential list of Java books!, 23 April 2014
This review is from: Java 8 Lambdas (Paperback)
In a nutshell: If you are looking for a concise and high-impact guide to the core features of Java 8, then you've found the right book! Whether you're just getting started with Java, or are a seasoned programmer, this book will help you get to grips with the new JDK 8 essentials such as Lambdas and Streams

I'm sure many people browsing this book will have heard about the recent (March '14) release of Java JDK 8 and all of the associated excitement about 'the biggest language changes' since JDK 5, and no doubt you are looking to see if any of the current JDK 8 books are worth an addition to your programming bookshelf. My answer to that question for this book is a definite yes.

The book starts with a whistle-stop tour of the influences for the new language additions, such as Lambdas and Streams (with a nod to the much-vaunted 'functional programming'), and then launches into explaining and demonstrating these key features in a well-paced and logical fashion. The stand-out chapters for me are 3, 4 and 5, in which you get to see many practical examples of where and how the new syntax (and new way of thinking) can save a lot of boilerplate typing and can also lead to much more expressive code.

As a relatively seasoned Java programmer, the examples and associated explanations had me up-and-running with the new features over the course of a weekend, and left me plenty of room (and motivation) to start experimenting in my own time with my new-found knowledge.

Data parallelism is covered well in Chapter 6, and the essential topic of testing (and a few associated gotchas with the new Lambda-driven approach) is covered nicely in the following chapter. Another excellent chapter is 'Design and Architectural Principles', which walks through some of the well-known design patterns and demonstrates to you that all of your current pattern knowledge doesn't have to be thrown away when using a functional style of coding. There is also a great section in this chapter discussing how the new language features relate to Uncle Bob's SOLID principles, and if you get chance I would also recommend searching for a companion talk by Richard on the Skillsmatter website.

Personally I think this book will end up alongside the classic Java books that I recommend to anyone looking to truly master the language, and this list includes such classics as 'Effective Java', 'Java Concurrency In Practice', 'Java Generics and Collections' and 'The Well-grounded Java Developer'. Richard has done a great job of distilling the key elements of the new JDK 8 language feature, and presented them in a concise tour-de-force without skimping on detail. A job well done!

Disclaimer: I know Richard personally from his good work within the London Java Community, and was also a reviewer for an early version of this book. I have endeavoured to write an unbiased review, and would be happy to discuss any of my thoughts listed here via the review comments section below, or via personal communication. Anyone who has seen Richard present, or had the pleasure of pair-programming with him, will know he is very much the 'real deal' when it comes to Java wizardry, and so I whole-heartedly support his first foray into the world of publishing!


Data Science for Business: What you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinking
Data Science for Business: What you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinking
by Foster Provost
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.67

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect introduction to the data science, which helped me fully understand and pull-together lots of related concepts, 16 Jan 2014
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In a nutshell: If you are looking for a simple (but not simplistic) introduction to nearly all of the underlying data science fundamentals then look no further, because this is the book for you!

I work primarily as a software developer, and like to consider that I have good general knowledge and experience of what data science ('data analytics', 'big data' etc.) is through College/Uni education and also the modern press and blog posts etc. However, I often struggled at times to fully understand, and perhaps more importantly knit together and apply, the core fundamentals of the topic. This book has provided exactly the explanations and 'glue' that I required, in that it delivers a very well structured (and paced) introduction and overview of data science, and also how to think in a 'data-analytics' manner.

If you preview the book with the 'look inside' feature then what you see in the table of contents is exactly what you get. Every chapter delivers upon its title (and promised 'fundamental concepts'), and frequently builds superbly upon topics introduced in early chapters. You'll move seamlessly from understanding how to frame data science questions, to learning about correlation and segmentation, to model fitting and overfitting, and on to similarity and clustering. With a brief pause to discuss exactly 'what is a good model' you'll then be thrust back into learning about visualising model performance, evidence and probabilities and then how to explore mining text.

The concluding chapters draw upon and summarise how to practically choose and apply the techniques you've learnt, and provide great discussion on how to solve business problems through 'analytical engineering'. There is also some bonus discussion on other tools and techniques that build upon earlier concepts which you might find useful, data science and business strategy, and some general thinking points around topics such as the need to human intervention in data analysis and privacy and ethics.

The book is superbly written and reads very easily, which for the potentially dry topic of data science is worthy of praise alone. The majority of chapters took me each approximately an hour to read, and then another couple of hours to re-read and ponder upon (and sometimes looking at other provided references) to fully understand some of the more complex topics and how everything related together. Each chapter also provided plenty of pointers and experimentation ideas if I wanted to go away and practically explore the topic further (say, with the Mahout framework, or R, or scikit-learn/Pandas etc.). The book could probably be read by dipping in and out of chapters, but I think you'll get a whole lot more from a cover-to-cover reading.

In summary, this is a superb book for those looking for a solid and comprehensive introduction to data science and data analytics for business, and I'm sure will that even the more experienced practitioners of the art will find something useful here. The book introduces topics in a perfect order, superbly builds your knowledge chapter after chapter, and constantly relates and reinforces the various techniques and tools your learning as it progresses. I wish more text/learning books were written this well!


NEW TWEED COUNTRY FLAT CAP 6 SIZES AVAILABLE
NEW TWEED COUNTRY FLAT CAP 6 SIZES AVAILABLE
Offered by AB hats-accessories
Price: £5.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Great product! Simply by wearing this cap my country street cred (field cred?) instantly increased by 10 points, 15 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this cap for a 'Goodwood Revival' themed party, and it nicely augmented the country gent outfit I had managed to assemble from my regular wardrobe.

The cap is constructed of top quality fabric, and made a perfect first base for an impromptu game of rounders (and even survived being stomped on several times!)


ElasticSearch Server
ElasticSearch Server
Price: £17.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're using ElasticSearch in production (or considering it), then you need this book!, 14 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In a nutshell: If you are experimenting with or considering using ElasticSearch in production then I would strongly recommend that you buy this book. As mentioned by another reviewer, there are plenty of bad (and out of date) ElasticSearch tutorials floating around the web, but this single book presents a well-paced and logical introduction to ElasticSearch, and also an excellent guide of how to configure it and use it within a production deployment.

The book begins by discussing the basic search concepts and how ElasticSearch implements them. As the book progresses so does the level of complexity, but it is easy to pick and choose the information required. The chapters on the advanced topics are worth the price of the book alone, and it is hard to find the same quality of coverage on the web in relation to topics such as percolation, troubleshooting or administrating a cluster.

One of the authors, Rafal Kuc, is an authority in full-text searching and indexing, and he has written several successful books on Solr (the other popular open source search engine), which have been very useful to me as I have used search engines more and more over the past year in my daily work as a software developer. Rafal has a gift for providing exactly what a developer requires in order to understand the key concepts of search, and also provides excellent instruction in how to implement this effectively in the real world.

In summary, this book comes highly recommended for learning about the up and coming ElasticSearch!


Practical Unit Testing with JUnit and Mockito
Practical Unit Testing with JUnit and Mockito
by Tomek Kaczanowski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to the why and how of Unit Testing and TDD (and check out the TestNG-focused flavour of this book!), 14 July 2013
In a nutshell: This is an essential book on Unit Testing for both novice and experienced Java developer alike. Practical Unit Testing provides a well-paced and logical introduction into the world of Unit Testing, and also offers the more experienced practitioners a discussion on topics such as defining what to test and verify, how to write high-quality and maintainable tests, and also when (shock horror!) not to test. This book provides a plethora of examples and is extremely pragmatic in it's delivery of how to test in the real world. For anyone who is already a JUnit expert then I would recommend the sister book to this, Practical Unit Testing with TestNG and Mockito, which focuses on testing with TestNG (which IMHO is a genuine competitor to JUnit)

Practical Unit testing is divided into five primary sections: 'Developer's Tests', 'Writing Test', 'Hints and Discussion', 'Listen and Organise' and 'Make them better'. Section 1, 'Developer's Tests', begins by discussing motivations and the core methodology behind testing in general. Unit testing is then defined and the basic concepts introduced to the reader. Section 2 begins by getting the reader to write their first tests, and introduces key concepts such as assertions and parameterised tests.

Section 2 of the book continues with Chapter 4, which introduces the reader to Test Driven Development (TDD), and IMHO this chapter should be read by all Java developers. The author presents an excellent discussion on when to write tests, the 'rhythm' of TDD and the benefits offered, and also provides concrete examples. This chapter even covers when not to use TDD, which I know can be heresy to some advocates, but as a long time practitioner of TDD I can relate to points made by the author in this chapter. As with any technique (or philosophy) as powerful as TDD it is easy to become dogmatic about the subject, and ultimately forgot that not every problem can be solved with a single approach or solution. Paraphrasing the author, he suggests problem areas with applying TDD can include not having a good knowledge of the problem domain, not understanding the technologies, and when working on legacy code. In my experience, I have made several mistakes with applying TDD in the areas identified, and so the author's cautions should be well received (on a related topic, I can highly recommend Working Effectively with Legacy Code (Robert C. Martin) when dealing with testing legacy code)

Next is very useful discussion Mocks, Stubs and Spies, which is obviously focused on Mockito (which is currently my Mocking framework of choice). As with all the concepts discussed in this book, the example code provided is very useful and of high quality. On a related topic, I would definitely recommend a read of the Mockito website in addition to the this chapter, as the website includes a vast array of examples, and is also updated often.

Section 3 of the book kicks off with Chapter 6, 'Things You Should Know', and this chapter is again essential reading. In fact I would go so far to say that this part of the book is worth the entry fee alone - it covers a lot very interesting topics, such as knowing what to test, isolating code under test, making tests timely, using external data and dealing with concurrency. It also discusses what the author refers to as 'points of controversy', such as limiting multiple assertions per test (the logical assertions debate) and private method testing.

The remaining two sections of the book focus on getting feedback from tests (and what to do with it), how to organise your tests, and also how to write maintainable high-quality tests. This was an often overlooked topic in a lot of the earlier TDD books, and the often (unspoken) implication was that test code doesn't have to be as high-quality as 'production' code, which is obviously a complete fallacy. In my experience poorly written (and brittle) tests can often slow development down considerably, and this ultimately leads to tests being either removed or ignored...

In summary, this is an essential purchase for any Java developer serious about testing and TDD. For some reason, this book appears to be under the radar to a lot of TDD advocates, and I'm not sure why. The current favourite TDD book, of which I am also a huge fan of, is Effective Unit Testing: A guide for Java developers, and I believe this book is a great complement to the JUnit-focused work presented in Effective Unit Testing. If you are keen to test using the TestNG framework then I would recommend that you buy the sister book to this, Practical Unit Testing with TestNG and Mockito, which focuses on using TestNG instead of JUnit. Practical Unit Testing provides a great introduction for developers new to TDD, and also offers experienced TDDers plenty to think about. The book is well-paced and logical in it's approach, and provides a comprehensive approach to writing useful, high-quality and maintainable tests.


Practical Unit Testing with TestNG and Mockito
Practical Unit Testing with TestNG and Mockito
by Tomek Kaczanowski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to the why and how of Unit Testing and TDD, which provides a thorough grounding in writing high-quality tests, 14 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In a nutshell: This is an essential book on Unit Testing for both novice and experienced Java developer alike. Practical Unit Testing provides a well-paced and logical introduction into the world of Unit Testing, and also offers the more experienced practitioners a discussion on topics such as defining what to test and verify, how to write high-quality and maintainable tests, and also when (shock horror!) not to test. This book provides a plethora of examples and is extremely pragmatic in it's delivery of testing in the real world. I would also strongly recommend this book to any JUnit fans that haven't experimented with TestNG lately - you might be surprised what this framework now offers!

Practical Unit testing is divided into five primary sections: 'Developer's Tests', 'Writing Test', 'Hints and Discussion', 'Listen and Organise' and 'Make them better'. It's worth mentioning here that this flavour of the book strongly focuses on using TestNG and Mockito (there is a JUnit flavoured version, Practical Unit Testing with JUnit and Mockito). As mentioned above, if you haven't played with TestNG lately, I would recommend that you do (with this book by you side), as the framework has developed rapidly over the past few years into a genuine competitor against JUnit.

Section 1, 'Developer's Tests', begins by discussing motivations and the core methodology behind testing in general. Unit testing is then defined and the basic concepts introduced to the reader. Section 2 begins by getting the reader to write their first tests, and introduces key concepts such as assertions and parameterised tests.

Section 2 of the book continues with Chapter 4, which introduces the reader to Test Driven Development (TDD), and IMHO this chapter should be read by all Java developers. The author presents an excellent discussion on when to write tests, the 'rhythm' of TDD and the benefits offered, and also provides concrete examples. This chapter even covers when not to use TDD, which I know can be heresy to some advocates, but as a long time practitioner of TDD I can relate to points made by the author in this chapter. As with any technique (or philosophy) as powerful as TDD it is easy to become dogmatic about the subject, and ultimately forgot that not every problem can be solved with a single approach or solution. Paraphrasing the author, he suggests problem areas with applying TDD can include not having a good knowledge of the problem domain, not understanding the technologies, and when working on legacy code. In my experience, I have made several mistakes with applying TDD in the areas identified, and so the author's cautions should be well received (on a related topic, I can highly recommend Working Effectively with Legacy Code (Robert C. Martin) when dealing with testing legacy code)

Next is very useful discussion Mocks, Stubs and Spies, which is obviously focused on Mockito (which is currently my Mocking framework of choice). As with all the concepts discussed in this book, the example code provided is very useful and of high quality. On a related topic, I would definitely recommend a read of the Mockito website in addition to the this chapter, as the website includes a vast array of examples, and is also updated often.

Section 3 of the book kicks off with Chapter 6, 'Things You Should Know', and this chapter is again essential reading. In fact I would go so far to say that this part of the book is worth the entry fee alone - it covers a lot very interesting topics, such as knowing what to test, isolating code under test, making tests timely, using external data and dealing with concurrency. It also discusses what the author refers to as 'points of controversy', such as limiting multiple assertions per test (the logical assertions debate) and private method testing.

The remaining two sections of the book focus on getting feedback from tests (and what to do with it), how to organise your tests, and also how to write maintainable high-quality tests. This was an often overlooked topic in a lot of the earlier TDD books, and the often (unspoken) implication was that test code doesn't have to be as high-quality as 'production' code, which is obviously a complete fallacy. In my experience poorly written (and brittle) tests can often slow development down considerably, and this ultimately leads to tests being either removed or ignored...

In summary, this is an essential purchase for any Java developer serious about testing and TDD. For some reason, this book appears to be under the radar to a lot of TDD advocates, and I'm not sure why. The current favourite TDD book, of which I am also a huge fan of, is Effective Unit Testing: A guide for Java developers, and I believe this TestNG-focused book is a great complement to the JUnit-focused work presented in Effective Unit Testing. Practical Unit Testing provides a great introduction for developers new to TDD, and also offers experienced TDDers plenty to think about. The book is well-paced and logical in it's approach, and provides a comprehensive approach to writing useful, high-quality and maintainable tests.


Spring Data
Spring Data
by Mark Pollack
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'tour de force' of the Spring Data framework, and this should be on every Spring developer's bookshelf, 28 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Spring Data (Paperback)
In a nutshell: If you are working with Spring Data on a daily basis and want a complete and thorough overview of the framework then this book is all you will need. It covers all aspects of Spring Data without being overly verbose, and even if you have used Spring Data quite a lot already (like me), then I still believe you'll discover something useful from this book. You will also find bonus chapters in context with Spring Data on Spring Roo, the REST repo exporter (very cool!), 'Big Data' via Hadoop, Pig, Hive and Spring Batch/Integration, and also coverage of GemFire.

I've been working professionally with Spring Data for quite some time now, both for 'old skool' RDBMS and also a lot of NoSQL (primarily MongoDB and Redis). The company I was working for at the time the Spring Data projects were approaching release were somewhat early-adopters, and in combination with the fact that their applications were firmly rooted in Spring made the decision to use this framework an easy choice. After some initial problems, which should be expected with a new technology (such as config issues and incompatibly between libraries bundled in JARs etc), Spring Data has provided a massive boost to productivity, and it is now my de facto choice when implementing persistence within Spring.

About the book itself: The first few chapters provide a great introduction to Spring Data, and describe the key motivations and techniques behind the framework. If you are simply modifying an already configured Spring Data app then this is all you need (but please do keep reading to learn more!). The next few chapters cover integration with an RDBMS, and also the popular NoSQL implementations - MongoDB, Neo4j and Redis. If you are working in one specific technology then reading the corresponding chapter will get you up and running quickly. Although Spring Data provides a common abstraction layer, it allows datastore-specific functionality to bleed through the interfaces (which is a good thing in my opinion, as it allows you to leverage specific features and strengths of the underlying technology), and this book will provide an excellent grounding and explanation of key concepts within each underlying datastore technology so that you can become productive quickly. Of course, you can also head over to the Spring Source website to learn the really advanced stuff (if you want to).

Part 4 of the book covers several interesting advanced features of the framework, such as using Spring Roo to auto-generate repository code, and also a brief guide on how to use the REST Repository Exporter. Metaprogamming and RAD tools like Spring Roo (and web-frameworks such as Grails and Play) are becoming increasingly popular in the industry, and so this chapter is a nice addition to the book. The REST exporter is also a very cool feature, and essentially allows you to expose CRUD functionality on your repositories via a REST interface. For anyone building a SOA-based app (or using micro-services etc) then encapsulating datastores and exposing simply functionality via a well defined HTTP-based API is very cool.

The final two parts of the book provide detailed coverage of using Spring Data to work with 'Big Data' through the use of Apache Hadoop, Spring Batch, Spring Integration and GemFire. Although this content wasn't relevant to my initial decision to buy the book the chapters are a complete bonus in my opinion, and upon reading them I was even more happy with my purchase. The content provided is obviously quite high-level (as Big Data is a huge topic, no pun intended :)), but has enough detail to get you up and running with some Hadoop Jobs and Hive and Pig etc, which is a great skill to add to your CV.

I chose this book over the only other real competition for Spring Data coverage, Petri Kainulainen's Spring Data, purely because this book offered more content. Obviously the book under review has more pages, ~280 vs ~160, but more importantly it covers a greater amount of topics, and Petri's book focuses primarily on Redis (for which I was already familiar with). My main motivation for buying a Spring Data book was to learn about the 'tips and tricks', and I think either book would have met this need, but the coverage of other NoSQL technologies in the book under review, and the bonus chapters on Big Data technologies swayed my final decision. Now that I've read the book I am very happy with the decision.

In summary: This book will be all you need to master Spring Data, from key concepts to advanced usage. You'll learn all of the 'tips and tricks' along the way, and also become familiar with Spring Roo, the REST repo exporter and fundamental techniques within Spring Data's 'Big Data' processing (Hadoop, Spring Batch/Integration etc). I would recommend the book to any Spring developer, even one like myself who is happy learning about Spring from the excellent Spring Source website This book is a little more 'polished' than the Spring Source docs, and also provides concepts in well-structured and bit-sized chunks of information.


Spring in Practice
Spring in Practice
by Willie Wheeler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to advanced usage of Spring, and essential reading for 'Spring In Action' fans looking to level-up!, 2 Jun 2013
This review is from: Spring in Practice (Paperback)
In a nutshell: This is an excellent and comprehensive guide to advanced usage of the Spring framework. For anyone who is looking to further their knowledge gained from several years of Spring development in the trenches, this book will pay dividends. Although a Spring novice may be able to learn about Spring from this book, I would recommend picking up a copy of Spring in Action first, as the 'In practice' books can be quite fast paced!

As a seasoned Java developer I have been working with the Spring framework for many years now. One of the first Spring books I read was Spring in Action, and in combination with Java Persistence with Hibernate this book has helped me complete many successful projects (I seriously owe the authors a few beers!). From the grounding provided in these book, and in combination with the excellent Spring Source website, I have been able to explore and develop my skills as the Spring framework has expanded - for example, the Spring Data project is now my go-to framework for all things NoSQL related. However, I always enjoy learning from advanced Spring practitioners and also from reading stories about real-world use and abuse of the framework, and I have yet to find a good book that meets this need - until now. 'Spring in Practice' satisfies this gap in the market perfectly.

The book is ~500 pages, and it manages to cram in a lot of content. Advanced usage of all the main Spring components is covered, and covered well. The first nine chapters provide a great grounding and advanced look at topics such as data persistence (ORM), Spring MVC, Web Flow and Security. The remaining chapters deep-dive into topics such as Integration Testing and Enterprise Integration (REST, RabbitMQ and IMAP integration etc), and really focus on how to write good (high-quality) code for the common but difficult tasks.

As the title suggests, the book's focus is very much about practical usage of Spring. It's not quite in the 'cookbook' style you may have seen with other books, but IMHO, this book is better organised for general learning (i.e. reading the book from cover to cover). The obvious advantage with a cookbook style reference is that it's easy to cherry-pick solutions to problems, but I find that cookbooks can be difficult to read through if you simply want to learn. 'Spring in Practice' is logically structured, the book is nicely paced for the advanced developer, and the discussions of real-world problems and the related code sample solutions seek to further your knowledge and encourage exploration of Spring.

As mentioned above, I have worked with Spring for several years, but this book has taught me lot of new tricks - there's nothing like finding a section of the book that leads to a 'no way, Spring does that?' moment :) The author's clearly have their own style of developing in Spring, and I personally would chose to do some things differently (e.g. I code the production of XML/JSON differently), but I can't argue that what they've done isn't best practice, and with a framework as large and wide-scoped as Spring, there is bound to be many approaches to do the same thing.

In summary, this is an excellent book, and one that should be on the bookshelf of any serious Spring developer. It will help deepen knowledge gained from 'Spring in Action', and also help to augment skills honed from time in the development trenches. I can almost guarantee that anyone who picks up a copy of this book, no matter how advanced they are, will learn something new. As you've no doubt guessed by now, I highly recommend this book, and I would like to offer my congratulations to the authors and Manning for writing a book which has long been needed by advanced Spring practitioners!


Instant Apache Cassandra for Developers Starter
Instant Apache Cassandra for Developers Starter
by Vivek Mishra
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good up-and-running guide to Cassandra for the 'money rich, time poor' crowd, but heavily focused on JPA/Kundera data access, 2 Jun 2013
In a nutshell: Like many of the PacktPub 'Instant' series this book provides a great primer for the chosen topic, but IMHO is over-priced (especially the printed version), and you can often find the same information on the web if you don't mind searching around. This book is also biased toward 'Kundera', an open-source JPA-based method of accessing Cassandra of which this book's author is also the primary committer, and although this will get you up and running quickly, it may hide some of the lower-level details of Cassandra from you.

As a Java architect/developer I constantly strive to keep myself up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends, and it has been impossible to ignore the NoSQL movement over the last year. In my daily work I've used many key-value stores (Redis, memcached etc), document-oriented databases (MongoDB in particular), but I haven't experimented as much as I would have liked with Column-oriented datastores such as HBase and Cassandra. Hence I've started playing with these technologies in my spare time. Learning HBase was well-covered by HBase in Action, and for learning Cassandra I bought Cassandra High Performance Cookbook. Although the cookbook is excellent (and I highly recommend it when you've mastered the key concepts of Cassandra), the recipe format can be a little off-putting when you're first playing with a technology, and so I decided to also purchase the book currently under review.

This book offers a great introduction to Cassandra and the key concepts behind the columnar approach to storing data. However, the author only focuses on using Kundera for accessing Cassandra via the Java platform. Kundera is an open source JPA-based framework that allows access to a myriad of NoSQL technologies, of which the primary author of the corresponding GitHub project also happens to be the author of this book. In general the Kundera framework is an awesome tool for abstracting away the details of a particular NoSQL technology, and instead mapping the respective data access concepts onto JPA. This allows any developer familiar with JPA to get up and running very fast, but it does hide some of the key concepts of each particular datastore. This can limit the developer's understanding of the underlying NoSQL store, and also (anecdotally) limit appropriate entity/schema design and performance.

<general_rant_against_the_instant_series>Excuse my general rant here, but having bought a few of the PacktPub 'Instant' series I am becoming less and less impressed. The authors typically do a great job with the content, but I can't help feeling that PacktPub are rushing out these books in a hope of cashing in on the next big thing. Other publishers obviously do it as well (see my review of Apress' latest DevOps for Developers book), but it's something I believe the purchasing public should not encourage. How can PacktPub justify £12 for a printed book with less than 40 pages of real content, when the typical Manning 'In Action' book is marginally more than twice the price and often contains 10 times more content? </general_rant_against_the_instant_series>

In summary, this is a good book to buy if you want to get up and running with Cassandra under Java, but you won't walk away a Cassandra expert and you may even miss some of the key concepts within Cassandra, as you will only be learning about accessing data via Kundera and JPA. I also can't recommend the printed copy, as at £12 it doesn't offer good value, but the kindle version offers a (slightly) better deal.


Instant Chef Starter
Instant Chef Starter
by John Ewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good introductory guide to Chef, but the Opscode website docs are arguably better (and cheaper!), 27 May 2013
This review is from: Instant Chef Starter (Paperback)
In a nutshell: If you are looking for a rapid introduction to Chef, and haven't got the time (or inclination) to look around the web then this book will meet your needs. However (and it's a fairly big however), you can get the same information from the excellent Opscode (Chef creators) website. The Opscode website is also kept up-to-date with the rapidly changing Chef framework and has many hands-on tutorials and experiments, which in my opinion are essential for understanding Chef. At £12 I can't recommend the printed version of this book, but the Kindle version is more reasonably priced if you are desperate to have a one-stop-shop style introduction to the key concepts.

Anyone active within the so-called DevOps space will have heard of tools like Chef, Puppet, CFEngine and Saltstack. These provisioning tools are arguably the backbone on which the modern DevOps movement is based, and in combination with Cloud-based programmable infrastructure (like AWS) they are the driving force in automating configuration and application deployment. Understandably everyone is keen to write books on what is rapidly becoming the next big thing, and in my opinion this does lead to rushed output. This output is often useful to a limited degree, but the same information can often be gleaned (freely) from the interweb, and (perhaps more importantly) tools and techniques on the bleeding edge often evolve so fast that any printed media can become outdated quite quickly. I believe 'Instant Chef Starter' book fits into this category.

If you are looking for a book to read on the commute home, which details the key concepts and motivations behind Chef, then you can't go wrong with getting the Kindle version of this book. However, you will definitely need to supplement your reading by checking the Opscode website for latest developments, and you will also need to start experimenting with the tool to fully understand the benefits it offers. Trust me, when you start spinning up Chef-driven servers and other resource with just a couple of commands via the CLI you are going to be blown away at how easy this stuff is. Your mind will be further blown when you realise that what you've just done is massively repeatable and scales very easily (in comparison to older techniques).

In summary, the Kindle version is worth a look if you're looking for a fast-paced and concise introduction to Chef, and you don't want to invest time in looking around the Opscode website or other provisioning websites just yet. I can't recommend the printed book, because at £12 this doesn't offer good value.


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