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Monday, April 6, 2015

Getting Started with Julia by Ivo Balbaert, Packt Publishing Book Review


An awesome book on an awesome language conceived by brilliant MIT computer scientists!
The author clearly a technically savvy, mature professional who understands Julia very well.
Besides, the language itself beats everything I have ever seen to date (e.g. Python, C, and more).
It beats every language because it is simple, friendly and elegant, and it is not built to be a data manipulation language only, but a replacement to just any programming language. How you can do the 21st century programming using GPU, parallel processing, streams and more is both astonishing and easy. The language has the type system which is very flexible and the language can call other languages or its own code or libraries or be even embedded. Database connectivity is via ODBC though looks like only.
Julia is very worth starting learning.
I anticipate the release 0.4 as stated by the author in the book to be even better.
The book allows to set your development shop on any OS (even though using Linux implies) and smooth sailing through numerous topics and examples of high quality and code on the web for grabs. The book covers enough to start developing about any programs. Where you need to do some home work is probably in finding relevant to the task at hand libraries (that grow in number weekly).
5 out of 5, a winning combination of a superb language, good book, and author!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

R High Performance Programming by Aloysius Lim, William Tjhi, Packt Publishing Book Review


R High Performance Programming is probably a unique book in terms of the material covered, I just have not see yet to date a book that is dedicated to increasing the computational capacity of the R language.

And I need to state frankly, since R has left the academic circles a long time ago and now is being used more and more in applications involving the Big Data calibre of projects a developer or an R user needs to understand its limitations and perhaps even be able to shrug off some misconceptions that surface on and off about the R’s Big Data suitability.

This book will make you prepared to cope with those who encroach on R’s capability to process petabytes of data. Bedsides, since the authors have a very broad outlook on the technologies and succeeded to cover very difficult topics in simple terms this book actually is of an asset to any software developer, using any language on any platform

What do you need for this book: preferably a *NIX based 64 bit machine capable enough to run a Virtual Machine with an NVIDIA GPU. An Amazon EWS account. Eclipse R Add on (R Studio was cited as storing object state). A Windows user will be able to learn as much, but some of the libraries covered in the book (just a few) were not ported to Windows at the time of my reading.

Aloysius and William cover the code execution benchmarking techniques at the beginning very well and then make you embark on wonderful journey to exploring an array of CRAN packages, third party tools and frameworks, the book includes the use of Hadoop, PostgreSQL, MonetDB (vertical data store), Pivotal SciDB, and more so you will not be limited to a narrow subset of tools to use under your belt, it will be something like dirking from the firehose!

I read this book in one breath, it is was just that a fascinating journey. I now think I need to come back, and read several chapters of immense interest to me: code pre-compilation (just so easy to take advantage of), the FF, dplyr and BigMemory package (just take advantage of somebody giving you a hand). I will experiment with at least one database, perhaps MonetDB as being at fingertips reach.

If I had a small complaint that would be for the absence of the statistical visualizations code – I just would like to benchmark my own improvements.

All in all, it is a fantastic book, thank you Aloysius and William! A very timely release Packt!

My verdict, is it a superb reading!

Monday, February 16, 2015

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Responsive Web Design by Example by Thoriq Firdaus, Packt Publishing Book Review


As a data practitioner and BI person I am always looking for ways to present my data more visually appealing and yet easy to share. With the advance of the internet technologies and the introduction of the HTML5 standard in particular it became increasingly easier to create sophisticated,professionally looking single page websites rich in content delivering insights in realtime.

Responsive Web Design by Example book met my expectations in my attempts to grasp with and build some foundation to delivering 21st Century web experience to my users. This relatively long book for beginners is actually covering a lot of ground. From setting your web development shop tools to embarking on enterprise grade Foundation Framework which is used by the most prominent companies, to using Koala and compiled CSS.

The journey though was not without some small hiccups where bower would not function on my Ubuntu (https://github.com/joyent/node/issues/3911 provides the workaround), nevertheless, going through the book was pure fun. Thoriq does provide excellent support to his readers. The tools selection was tasteful and carefully chosen. The reader will build several stunning websites the author calls simple (well for me it was pure art).

The most important aspects of the book I realize are the old IE polyfills and the use of Koala, the second most important item would be minimized/compressed JavaScript libraries and then LESS (CSS enhancers). The book also covers all the needed nuances to when it comes to building portable/mobile device friendly web sites, this is a must nowadays to account for small viewports. Bower, NodeJS are covered, but I would take courage to say not deep enough, but hey it is a beginner’s book, besides, Packt has a number of books on the latter. Let me stress that out: I suggest extra reading on NodeJS because it is the cornerstone of many single page web applications.

The book does not stop at implementing the basics, but shows how to extend a framework. I suggest the reader should concentrate on the Foundation Framework the most because out of all it looks like being the most likely used at your next project or be in demand on the market.

Good book for those starting in the enterprise web development.

Excellent job Thoriq and Packt Publishing, I am giving this book a 5 out of 5!

 

 

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