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Developer Reading List

The Book of Ruby: A Hands-On Guide for the Adventurous
by Huw Collingbourne

Conventional wisdom has suggested that the principal Ruby tutorial, the so-called "Pick-Axe Book" (Programming Ruby by Dave Thomas) is so good that there is no room for other options. Much as I like Thomas tome (and at 820 pages, that term is accurate), I prefer Collingbourne's book in which I have spent considerable time. The Book of Ruby is a clear, easy read that lacks Thomas's formality and profusion of reference material. At 350 pages, Collinbourne's book can be worked through in several sittings, with the end result of having good working knowledge of Ruby — both of the syntax and semantics and what is happening under the hood. As a practitioner, Colllingbourne also inserts frequent tips, apt observations about OO programming in the large and with Ruby, and he brings the reader along for first looks at Ruby tools such as YAML, Rails, and RubyDoc. Recommended for established developers new to Ruby. — Andrew Binstock

A Beginner's Guide to Setting Up a Dedicated Server, 2nd Ed. Linux Edition
by Isaac Goldstand

The more I use the cloud, especially services like Rackspace, which provide only a bare VM, the more I have to spend time configuring the instance with infrastructure and tools I'm not used to dealing with in detail. While I can install Linux, installing Apache, configuring DNS, FTP, email services, and setting up the log files, take me into areas where my knowledge is scant. This books is exactly what the doctor ordered. All the information is there so that I can quickly look up what I need and figure out how to get it configured the way I want.The information is at exactly the right level: Not too basic, not too advanced. Just a quick explanation, followed by the step-by-step instructions, which are filled out with copious screen shots. I found it easy to follow along and get things done.

The book is self-published and available at: http://www.thededicatedserverhandbook.com The author provides a 14-day money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied. But at $39.95, this books is a keeper and likely to find lots of use as a handbook for all developers doing basic administrative set up. Recommended. — Andrew Binstock

Effective Time Management: Using Microsoft Outlook to organize your work and personal life.
Lothat Seiwer and Holger Woeltje

I like time management books because I sense that every new technique I learn and adopt gives me more time to work on design, coding, debugging of apps. And much as I'd rather stay in my IDE, I know that much of my visibility and work rely outside its friendly confines, specifically in Microsoft Outlook. So a book on time management and Outlook is potentially a valuable resource.

Having read other titles on time management, I was hoping this book would deliver the blend so rarely found: useful suggestions and made concrete by showing their implementation in Outlook. My hopes were not met in this book. The volume's design is flawed in several conspicuous ways. The first is that the authors present no overarching framework for their approach to time management. As a result, it becomes more of a series of pointers on using Outlook, which are then clumped together unconvincingly into chapters. What the authors do do well, however, is reveal and explain some of the lesser-known and lesser-used features of Outlook. Already some of those tips have helped me.

A second, persistent design flaw in this book is how the authors handled the fact that Outlook 2003, 2008, and 2010 frequently have divergent menus and options. The expected way might be to explain the process with, say, Outlook 2010 and then have a box with the steps broken out for each of the older versions of Outlook, so that you can find or skip over this information depending on your version. The authors, however, chose to write all the instructions with all their variations in the running text of the book. So, the only way to find out how to do X with your version of Outlook is to read through discussions of all the other versions until the authors get to yours. Since these directions are in no way demarcated, the reader has no way to jump over irrelevant ones. The upshot is that after a few hours, you begin to skim, and finally to throw the book against the wall. This book could have been done far better with more thought and better design. Not recommended. — Andrew Binstock

Other books we've received

Summaries by Deirdre Blake

Agile Software Engineering with Visual Studio
by Sam Guckenheimer and Neno Loje
This book is a definitive guide to the application of agile development with Scrum and modern software engineering practices using Visual Studio 2010. It covers how to use Visual Studio 2010 to empower and engage multidisciplinary, self-managing teams and provide the transparency they need to maximize productivity. The authors also cover overcoming every major impediment that leads to stakeholder dissatisfaction — from mismatched schedules to poor quality, blocked builds to irreproducible bugs, and technology silos to geographic silos.

12 Essential Skills for Software Architects
by Dave Hendricksen
In this volume, author Dave Hendricksen helps software professionals to develop and further sharpen their relationship, personal and business skills to enable a successful career as an architect. In today's agile environments, these "soft" skills have grown even more crucial to success as an architect. For many developers, however, these skills don't come naturally — and they're rarely addressed in formal training. This book aims to rectify that situation.

The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java
by Fred Lon, Dhruv Mohindra, Robert C. Seacord, Dean F. Sutherland, and David Svoboda
This book provides rules designed to eliminate insecure coding practices that can lead to exploitable vulnerabilities. The standard provides secure coding rules for the Java SE 6 Platform including the Java programming language and libraries, and also addresses new features of the Java SE 7 Platform.

SQL Server MVP Deep Dives, Volume 2
edited by Kalen Delaney, Louis Davidson, Greg Low, Brad McGehee, Paul Nielsen, Paul Randal, and Kimberly Tripp
This book picks up where the first volume leaves off, with completely new content on topics ranging from testing and policy management to integration services, reporting, and performance optimization. The chapters fall into five parts: Architecture and Design, Database Administration, Database Development, Performance Tuning and Optimization, and Business Intelligence.

Learning HTML5 Game Programming: Build Online Games with Canvas, SVG, and WebGL
by James Williams
This book combines detailed explanations of HTML5's key innovations with examples, including two case study applications that address the entire development process for game programming. It covers setting up a state-of-the-art HTML5 development environment; making the most of HTML5's canvas tag, SVG vector graphics, and WebGL 3D; and targeting diverse mobile and social platforms.

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