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Developer's Reading List

, April 17, 2012 C++ concurrency, web crawlers, Google testing, and more: This month's reading list is packed with great books on interesting topics.
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3D Game Programming with DirectX 11
by Frank Luna

Frank Luna is a well-known writer in game development and especially on DirectX. This volume does credit to his reputation by being a thorough and comprehensive (850 pages) treatment of game development using Microsoft's recent graphics technology. (Note: Some readers have complained that the book is limited to DirectX 11 and does not carry over the new Direct3D 11.1 in Windows 8.)

The book starts with the very basics: vector and matrix algebra. It then progresses to transformations and implementing those transforms in code. The code portion begins with an intro to Direct3D that thoughtfully makes stops along the way to discuss the graphics pipelines — textures, the various kinds of shaders, and so forth. Finally, it breaks into the core topics of mapping, rendering, particle systems, and the like.

For developers who have always wanted to learn how to do graphics for games but found the entry way barred by all kinds of specialized terms and techniques, this is the book that will take you across the threshold and into the land of productive game coding. Recommended.

Machine Learning for Hackers
by Drew Conway and John M. White

Machine learning, as described in this book, is the process of going through large amounts of data for purposes of classification, prediction, optimization, and recommendation. The authors show you how to do these things by introducing the material via lucid explanations of the core algorithms. The book makes very heavy use of the R programming language. If you're not versed in R (you'll need to be far more than passingly familiar with it), this book is not for you. If you're comfortable enough with the language, you'll find treatments on how to predict page views for a site, filter spam, analyze social networks, and other interesting topics that derive from being able to intelligently analyze statistics drawn from large data sets. Recommended.

JQuery: Novice to Ninja, 2nd Edition
by Ealre Casteldine and Craig Sharkie

A hip, to-the-point, handbook on using JQuery and JQueryUI for improve the usability and the look of web pages. Animation, slideshows, menu management, tabs, and panels are all illustrated with well-explained and simple to understand code snippets that guide you quickly to your destination. There is enough text that you gain a sense of how JQuery delivers the magic and how best to use it. In other words, this is not just a cookbook, but a good, instructive resource as well. Recommended.

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