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John Walker (UK)

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The Bell System Technical Journal July-August 1978, vol 57 no 6 pt 2 , UNIX Time-sharing System
The Bell System Technical Journal July-August 1978, vol 57 no 6 pt 2 , UNIX Time-sharing System

5.0 out of 5 stars In this journal, the people who invented Unix explain ..., 30 April 2017
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In this journal, the people who invented Unix explain themselves. So, imagine a world that has never had Unix, Linux or Mac and then try and explain how those systems work. This is the seminal work that introduced it to the masses. Worth a read, because why read derivative works when you can go to the 'horses mouth'.


Jump Start CSS
Jump Start CSS
by Louis Lazaris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.45

5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book. The best book on CSS that I have read., 25 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Jump Start CSS (Paperback)
I love this book. This is the best book on CSS that I have read. It is incredibly well thought out and well written.

The brevity of the book is testament to the skill of the author and publishers who have obviously slaved and slaved over the structure to hone it into it's petite shape whilst ensuring it comprehensively covers all the topics that one needs to get started with CSS.

I have read many books on CSS and they are often long, dry and throw so many caveats about browser discrepancies that it almost puts you off CSS for good.

This book, on other hand, has a very readable style of prose and only introduces complicated browser hacks and confusion after prescribing one (or, at the most, 2 'best' solutions). This means you can quickly get started building and fixing 99.9% of web pages and offers pointers to more information for the times when rare edge-cases arise.

Whether you are new to CSS or, like me, have been doing CSS since the stone age and need, short, simple and modern refresher, this book will be a joy to read.


Drupal 7 Themes
Drupal 7 Themes
by Ric Shreves
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Glad that I read this book but it was a bit of a tiring process to read., 21 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Drupal 7 Themes (Paperback)
I am glad that I read this book but it was a bit of a tiring process to read. It seems like the publishers had a plan for the outline of the book but refused to rethink that outline when it became clear that there was a lot of repetition. For example, there is a whole chapter on Customising a Theme (and sub-theming) which is followed by another chapter on Creating a New Theme yet, a large part of which involves sub-theming. I feel like we went over the same conceptual building blocks again and again even though an average reader would have understood them quite quickly.

There far were more spelling and grammatical mistakes than the average book on software. I stumbled upon two mistakes on page 2, then two more mistakes on page 3 - so the writing was a little clumsy.

There was quite a lot of missing information. By page 70 I was wondering when we were going to discover how the output was escaped in Drupal. There was no mention of this basic security practice at all in the book. I also felt like the author skipped over discussing aspects of the Drupal API that were pertinent to theming.

Having said all of that, the book is still worth reading. I hope the publishers make a follow-up called Drupal 8 Themes in which they have de-duplicated the repeated concepts.


Software Project Survival Guide (Developer Best Practices)
Software Project Survival Guide (Developer Best Practices)
by Steve McConnell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. This has explained a lot about the process of building software., 29 May 2015
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I would love to get everyone who I work with to read this book. I lost my other copy and could not do without it. It is so good, I bought it twice.


Using Drupal
Using Drupal
by Angela Byron
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book. But in 2015, buy the latter edition unless you really need to work with Drupal 6., 29 May 2015
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This review is from: Using Drupal (Paperback)
This is a great book. But, in 2015, it would be silly to buy this edition. The book's source code requires Drupal 6 and Drupal 6 requires an ancient version of PHP (5.2). That ancient version of PHP is not particularly easy to install (compared to current versions). For example, it is quite hard to get hold of a copy of PHP 5.2 from within modern Ubuntu aptitude repositories. So, it is not plain sailing to get the book's source code running and, since Drupal 8 is due to be released soon, it is hardly worthwhile to start learning Drupal 6 when it will soon be 'end of lifed'.

I would highly recommend the 2nd Edition of this book. For some reason, Amazon does not make that easy to find at a reasonable price. But, when you do find it, it is a great introduction to Drupal 7 that can save many hours of head scratching.


Programmer's Guide to Drupal
Programmer's Guide to Drupal
by Jennifer Hodgdon
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book taking you on a tour of Drupal 'under the hood'., 29 May 2015
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I am experienced LAMP web developer about to build two Drupal 7 sites. I knew that it is possible to make some horrible mistakes if you hack away at Drupal and so decided to take some time to learn about it in a structured way before I got myself into a mess.

Before picking any book up, I read the "Understanding Drupal" section of Drupal.org's online documentation. Then, I read the first 3 chapters of Using Drupal, 2nd Edition (2012), by Byron et al and practiced the hands-on exercises on described within. Only then did I read this book, Programmer's Guide to Drupal (2012). I am glad that I learnt things in that order. Had I dived into this book too early, I may have felt a little out of depth.

I was very impressed with this book. Jennifer Hodgdon, its author, has answered most of my questions about programming writing custom themes, modules and plugins for a Drupal website in a beautifully succinct manner.

The author has spent a lot of time carefully pruning the content down to just 97 pages whilst conveying a huge amount of information.

I would have given this book 5 stars, but gave it 4 because the book lacked an Index. I can imagine refering to this book many times in the future and therefore would have found an index to be really handy.

Also, I would have liked to have seen a little bit of information about how Drupal fits into development workflow that uses Version Control and Continuous Integration. But, that would have a been a bonus and the book provides enough knowledge to let me work that kind of stuff out for myself. (A great page on such a topic is at: http://dcycleproject.org/blog/46/continuous-deployment-drupal-style )
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 23, 2015 5:57 PM GMT


jQuery in Action, Second Edition
jQuery in Action, Second Edition
by Bear Bibeault
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.70

5.0 out of 5 stars The book also 'spoke my language' in terms of IT best practice in the real world, 11 Sept. 2014
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I had experimented with jQuery but really wanted to get to know it well. This book helped me do just that.

It is the first book that I have read by these publishers, (Manning), and I am kicking myself that I have not read any of their 'In Action' series sooner.

The book anticipatated almost every question that I had about the jQuery library and answered them clearly. The authors have clearly spent a lot of time listening to their readers and editing the book in response to their feedback.

The book also 'spoke my language' in terms of IT best practice in the real world. I have read many other books where the author seems to be expert in their field but their code examples scream with 'coding horrors'. This book, however, chimed with my own beliefs about how good code should be written. So, that was nice.


The Serious Guide to Joke Writing: How To Say Something Funny About Anything
The Serious Guide to Joke Writing: How To Say Something Funny About Anything
by Sally Holloway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Hits the spot., 31 Aug. 2014
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This is such a brilliant book. I love it.

It answered so many of the questions that I had about writing comedy. I now feel confident in my ability to write jokes and have already written a few good ones. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to 'pull back the curtain' to learn some tried and tested techniques for writing jokes whatever the medium. (It is good for those wishing to write sitcoms, cartoons, stand-up comedy, best man speeches etc).

The book is well structured and chapters are divided into 'practical' or 'theory'. This shows the author's great respect to the reader. She doesn't stop you in your tracks and spring an exercise on you when you are reading in 'lean back mode' (theory). And, when reading the practical chapters, you can be prepared to get into 'lean forward mode' and roll up your sleeves and do some work. This simple division of 'practice and theory' meant that I actually did 'do' the practicals and got the most possible out of the book.

The book is nice 'n short and so didn't take very long to read. It is written in such a friendly style that reading it was a joy. I have read a lot of non-fiction books and this really is one of the best out there. Buy it. Read it. Share it.


Schaum's Outline of Principles of Computer Science (Schaum's Outline Series)
Schaum's Outline of Principles of Computer Science (Schaum's Outline Series)
by Paul Tymann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but beware, it's riddled with mistakes., 26 Jun. 2014
I did not study Computer Science at university and so this book gave me a broad insight into the kind of knowledge I'd have gained had I done so. On the most part, it's an easy read. The programme of topics are well chosen and I am glad that I have covered them.

However, I would only recommend this book to others for as long as I am unable to find an alternative book that covers the same subjects.

I gave this a low Amazon Review score because I get the impression that the publishers of this book (McGraw-Hill) have been resting on their laurels since it's first publication and needed a kick up the backside.

I don't think anyone at McGraw-Hill has actually read it. Nor, it seems have the authors read it all the way through. Some parts of the book are very sloppy. It feels like no one in charge of this book really cares about it any more.

I am glad that I had read around many of the subjects enough to be able to spot some errors but am left wondering how much misinformation I have absorbed in the areas that were new to me. The fact that the book's cover states that it is 'trusted by more than 40 million students' worries me. Hopefully they have the support of their peers and teachers when they get confused by some of the typos.


Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code (Object Technology Series)
Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code (Object Technology Series)
by Martin Fowler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £30.63

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If your code has turned into a monster, this book is the light at the end of the tunnel., 5 Dec. 2013
This is one of my all time favourite books.

It has helped me out on numerous occasions.

If your code has turned into a monster, this book is the light at the end of the tunnel.


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