Book Review: RabbitMQ Essentials by David Dossot

I have been working on integrating with RabbitMQ to implement the messaging architecture. All the time I made use of the basic tutorials available on RabbitMQ site to wade through understanding different concepts around AMQP and RabbitMQ.RabbitMQ Essentials

Yesterday I got to read the RabbitMQ Essentials by David Dossot. Its a pretty short and totally hands on book. The good things about the book:

  • It picks a fictitious company and its requirements to develop a messaging feature. The author builds up the features very elegantly.
  • Author explicitly focuses on good practices, performance in the examples presented in the book
  • Also touches upon how messaging architecture can integrate heterogenous software systems with software pieces written in Ruby, Python, Java.
  • Liberal use of diagrams to explain the architecture and flow of messages

I already had familiarity with communication constructs of RabbitMQ and didn’t find it difficult to understand the content and intent of the author. It also helped me to understand few intricate aspects like Dead letter queue and how to handle them, handling mandatory messages, setting ttl on the messages, different exchange types like direct, topic and fanout.

I feel the book is good read for anyone who has started using RabbitMQ and has worked on integrating with the client API. This book will help you correct your implementation and also understand few gotchas which one would encounter in real life projects.

Book Review: Peopleware

Peopleware is a must read for Managers who want to explore and learn about different managerial responsibilities and learn about what not to be done while executing those responsibilities. The content is presented with a touch of humour so you need not be surprised if you are found laughing while you are reading. The authors have penned in their experience and what the have seen and learnt about managing people over the years. The book deals identifying right metrics to enable efficient management of IT projects citing the major factor deciding the fate of IT Projects is the people involved in it and not much due to the technological factors.

If you are not a manager yet- you will find some of the chapters/sections of the book interesting and helps you to know how things work at a managerial level. But there are other chapters which make you feel bored like the section on arranging office furniture.

There are lot of one liners through out the book which are really catchy. Few of which I have noted in the first few chapters of the book are:

The main reason we tend to focus on the technical rather than the human side of the work is not because it’s more crucial, but because it’s easier to do.

People under time pressure don’t work better- they just work faster.

Quality is free, but only to those who are willing to pay heavily for it.

To conclude Peopleware is a MUST read for IT Project Managers and I will recommend this along with another great book: “The Mythical Man month“.

Book Review: Head First HTML5 Programming by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson published by O’Reilly Media

We all have enjoyed reading the Head First series of books and this book i.e Head First HTML5 Programming is no different. The authors Eric Freeman and Elisabeth Robson have kept the content in the book as much practical as possible which means that your are more of coding than reading. Not all the features of HTML 5 have been covered and the few which were not covered, the authors have mentioned them in the Appendices. But the authors have covered quite a few important and tough to understand features.

HTML5 relies more on Javascript and you need not worry if you are not familiar with Javascript as the authors have good 3 chapters covering Javascript. And let me tell you even I was not well versed with Javascript when I started to read the book.

The examples explaning the video and web worker features have used complicated examples which might pose some problems for few but then those examples show the power of those features.

This book is very different from Head First HTML and CSS and the title contains the word “Programming” which is quite a clear indication that HTML5 involves programming using Javascript. And you need not worry about the CSS used in the examples of the book as they can be downloaded from the Book website.

I would recommend anyone who wants to explore HTML5 to pick this book and not get turned off by the number of pages.

Buy this book from Flipkart
Buy this book from O’Reilly site.

Book review: Fitness for Geeks

Fitness for Geeks is a book for gadget/app freaks who want to calculate and track each of their actions. This book is loaded with nutritional information which will take some time to settle into the brains of the geeks. You shouldn’t expect this book to show you different exercises for different muscle groups nor list out different fitness regimes you can follow. Apart from a detailed coverage on nutrition, this book also digs into different applications available for each aspect of fitness like identifying nutritional information about the food, tracking the workouts, learning different exercises. Each chapter has a lot of references which will help you gather lots of information. Also the author has included the real life experiences of athletes.

This book goes into such depth about nutrition that it explains about different macro-nutrients like Proteins, Fats, Carbs and different micro-nutrients like Vitamins, Minerals. Not only does this book cover about food, it also covers aspects related to how to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. The book then finishes with chapters discussions about working out in gym i.e resistance training the importance of resistance training.

I did enjoy certain chapters of the book. But at lot of places I was lost trying to process the numerical data thrown at you. So you must be prepared to digest a lot of numbers especially in the chapters dealing with nutrition. I found the chapters covering workouts in gym and resistance training pretty useful. And there are lot of technical terms used so you must keep some reference handy to quickly look through the meaning of the terms.

The bottom line is: apart from the apps listed and a mention of APIs, code here and there this book is not much specific to a geek. I would recommend some books which do tell about nutrition but not in this detail. The other problem with food/nutrition is that its very specific to the region where you are. So from a food/nutrition perspective I would recommend buying a book by the regional expert authors.

Book review: Core Java, Volume II–Advanc‚Äčed Features (9th Edition)
I always liked the approach Cay S. Horstmann takes in the examples in his Core Java books. He tries to follow good practices in all his examples which includes better naming convention, documentation and comments, identifying right classes. This book, Core Java Volume-2, is no different. You find examples which are in themselves mini applications. You dont find toy programs which illustrate the feature and do some printing on the console. Instead the examples themselves include different concepts across Java.

There are very interesting topics covered in this book like: Streams and Files, XML processing, JDBC, Network Programming, Scripting and Annotations, Security, JNI, Advanced Swing and AWT. I see that few chapters which were originally in Volume-2 have been moved to volume-1 namely multi-threading and collections. I see a very exhaustive coverage on Swing and AWT, what I feel missing is the coverage of JavaFX features for which I think a chapter would suffice. Not to forget this book covers the Java 7 features as well.

Otherwise this book covers lot of stuff and I would recommend to use it as a reference to pick chapters as and when you want to explore those features. Reading end-to-end may not be necessary because most likely we would not be using all of those features in one place together. Reading end-to-end might be an overkill as well owing to the number of pages.

Bottom line: Highly recommend book in your bookshelf of Java references.

Note: this book was review on behalf of Coderanch.

Book review: The Object-Oriented Thought Process

If you were to ask me a book to understand the Object oriented concepts in a practical way- I will surely recommend “The Object Oriented Thought process”.

These are some of the good things I found:

  • the author tries to be independent of the programming language while explaining the concepts. You can see few Java examples to make things more clear, few C# examples and a mention of Objective C here and there.
  • there has been use of UML class diagrams in a simple way and a dedicated chapter to understand UML class diagrams.
  • in the first part of the book i.e upto around chapter 10 the code examples are fairly simple.
  • some introduction to few advanced concepts in OOP like serialization, persistance, client-server, design patterns.
  • the author tries to explain any new concepts right at the place where they were introduced.
  • the author uses simple language to explain concepts.

These are some of the not so good things:

  • the code examples in the application chapters are a bit overdose. They are a bit complicated for a newbie in Java, but the stress is not on the code but on the concepts.
  • illustrations in few places were not required.
  • code exmaples in XML chapters are not so clear and at few places the code is not indented correctly.

Bottom line is: Recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a good understanding of basic OOP concepts without much intervention of a programming language. Not much recommended to someone who’s already been doing OOP development for quite sometime.

Buy it now from Flipkart or Amazon.

Note: this review was written on behalf of Coderanch.

Book review: Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

Who among us has never feared speaking in front of a crowd- no matter how large the crowd be? We all have felt the fear, few of us overcome the fear to emerge as great speakers and few of us under Confessions of a public Speakerperform due to the fear and remain as mediocre speakers. Lot of us have attended workshops on public speaking, read numerous books on the same but yet we struggle each time we are asked to speak. Public speaking need not be limited to speaking at a conference to a crowd in hundreds, but it also includes the presentations we give to our team at work, the talks we give in our local user group meets and the teaching activities we undertake. Not only its a mighty task for the speaker, but also a mightier task for the audience listening if the speaker turns out to be a bad speaker.

I have seen some of the best lectures and also the worst lectures. I know how a speaker feels when he has delivered an outstanding talk or when the audience are bored to death. Each one of us is in some way or the other are involved in public speaking and we all want to be remembered for our great talks and we want to see lecture halls overflowing with people to listen to our talks. There are numerous books out there which deal with this subject, but I happened to read this wonderful book by Scott Berkun titled “Confessions of a Public Speaker“.

If I were asked to review this in one sentence, I would say: “A must read book for any one aspiring to crack the art of public speaking“. The book is so beautifully written that you feel as if the author is narrating a story in which the main actor is the author himself. The book is filled with interesting anecdotes, illustrations which will keep you glued to the book until you finish it. As you read the book you might be relating the situations to something which might have happened with you during your public speaking stint.

The complete content can be divided into:

  • What to do before your talk – includes preparation of the content, practising the talk, getting the presentation gear ready, planning the travel to the venue.
  • What to do and what not to do during the talk– includes presentation approach, keeping the audience involved, getting familiar with the lecture hall, AV systems, talking to the audience before the the start of the talk.
  • What to do after the talk– includes collecting feedback from the hosts and audience, trying to self-evaluate with the help of the feedback, staying back for few additional questions from the audience.

The book also contains real life experiences from other speakers, references to other interesting material and related material and also a list of things which a public speaker should avoid and how to go about preventing those things from your talk.

To summarize:

  • a short book with great content which can be finished in a one or two sitting
  • very useful advice from a professional speaker and trainer
  • material covers all forms of public speaking with a focus on teaching as well
  • the book is filled with examples to help us understand better
  • good amount of references for curious readers
  • author lists what to read next

The other books by the same author:

So what are you waiting for, go grab your copy today from Flipkart or from Amazon.

Buy from O’Reilly site.