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Real World Haskell
Real World Haskell
by John Goerzen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £38.50

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better, 16 Jun 2009
This review is from: Real World Haskell (Paperback)
I agree with the other readers who say they just got frustrated by the author's inability to illustrate his point through simple, atomic and self explanatory examples. I enjoyed the first few chapters, because the author had not yet built up a critical mass of backward references, but after that I wanted to skip a whole load of stuff that wasn't relevant to me. However skipping ahead to chapters on things like Monads, I find it referring back to previous chapters, which in turn refer back to previous chapters and so on. I tried to read the whole thing linearly, but the examples are too specialised for me to bothered by them. I just can't bring myself to care about bar code reading programs, no matter how much I try - and there is a whole chapter on this!
The book isn't all bad, the early chapters are good, and I some Haskell concepts did `click' for me from reading this book. The author's style when steered away from examples that run into pages is clear and good.
The problem is its combination of being rather long, and that it *really* has to be read in a linear fashion.

You can pick up the language just as well using online tutorials and the user mail list is pretty helpful if you get lost on concepts like Monads. I think there are far better tutorials on Monads on the net now than this book, although I accept there are a whole load more terrible explanations on the net, and you'll need to read 10 bad ones to find 1 good one - bit it is the quickest way to learn the concept.

What Haskell needs is author capable of producing a book like the "Effective C++" series. It assumes fairly basic knowledge of the language (you can pick that up from anywhere). What it does is in very small, autonomous bite-sized chunks, it addresses 1-per-small-chapter points on style and implementation. The examples are kept so very simple (although often interesting) they can be explained sometimes in a paragraph - the code is never more than a few lines, yet the author manages to convey very complex ideas very elegantly.
The trick is to use absolutely numpty higher concepts as examples - strip away *everything* but the problem itself; we'll think of our own complex examples relevant to our own use once we've cracked the framework of the concept.


Expert Python Programming
Expert Python Programming
by Tarek Ziadé
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.59

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent enough attempt at covering more advanced Python techniques, 2 Nov 2008
I read the other review on this site which wasn't very positive, but bought the book anyway - after all AFAIK this is currently the only one-stop-shop book covering Python's more advanced techniques.
I must say that whilst there are occasional places where the author's English is less than brilliant it does not detract from the vast majority of the book and IMHO 1/5 is not a fair review. I read whole book in 2 days and perhaps had to reread 3 or 4 sentences, and even then I got what he was trying to say, even if it wasn't the most elegant English ever. I agree however that the publisher really, really should have spotted these - but don't write the book off because of this!
The book covered almost everything I expected and a few things I didn't. The great thing about it is that most of my advanced Python knowledge has been cobbled together from blogs, PEPs, and Python.org; it is great to have most of these topics in one book from one author who knows his stuff.
My main criticisms of the book are not the English. The thing that bugged me was that quite a few of the worked examples are over elaborate. With advanced techniques I'd expect the vehicle for demonstrating the technique to be as numpty as possible. However, often these examples are over complex, eg one example uses SQLAnalyser to demonstrate a technique - this is totally superfluous to the topic and you end up missing the wood because of the trees. I'm not a DB guy so I was annoyed I had to plod through DB code to peice together a technique I was interested in. Other authors (eg Scott Myers C++ examples) really strip down examples so you focus entirely on what is trying to be conveyed and not window-dressing-code in an attempt to make the example useful. It should be up to the reader to make the examples useful - espically at an advanced level - we don't need hand holding!

Technically the only glaring omission from the book I can think of is a section on using callable objects to implement decorators. I find this method of implementing decorators more pythonic, intutitive and less complex than the function-wrapped-in-a-function (wrapped-in-a-function and so on) method explained herein. This could be argued as personal coding taste/style, but both methods should have been included for completness.

My only other bugbear is I'd have liked to see more pages on pure python code techniques and less on building/maintaining/developing python - although other people may find this more interesting than I did, it was still an interesting read.

Summary: If you already know python but are yet to play with some of the more advanced techniques, or you want to brush up on what you've cobbled together from umpteen sites you found on Google - this book is the only one that will meet your requirements, and it does a decent, if not brilliant, attempt at conveying these ideas.


Gentlemen
Gentlemen
Price: £8.41

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most eclectic and interesting albums I've heard!, 17 July 2001
This review is from: Gentlemen (Audio CD)
This album is a must for all rock / guitar based music fans. The album is a botched DIY job of angry discordant grunge and "wallow in self pity" blues. The drums and bass are tight and solid - providing the ideal canvas for singer / guitarist Greg Dulli to construct some of the most inventive, discordant and ingeniously fractured guitar work I've ever heard. Lyrically the album painstakingly documents the weeker and darker side of Greg's (or probably any other mans!) life, with the songs fitting one after the next in an almost storybook telltale of a doomed relationship. Probably the best album I have. Simply buy it now!


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