Tuesday, 03 May 2011


Given the hype you might be forgiven for mistaking HTML5 as the 2nd coming. But all joking aside this is a significant step for the web but what does it really offer web developers? Well this is a question that I feel is answered in HTML5 Up and Running.

First thing to point out is that this book at just under 200 pages, is not an in-depth coverage of all the new features coming with HTML5. But if you're like me and only want a quick overview to catch-up with current developments in HTML5 this could be the book for you.

I found this book written and presented in a very clear and friendly manner that made reading the book enjoyable. The author Mark Pilgrim and there is a little IE bashing but nothing over the top. While reading it is important to remember that many aspects of HTML5 are still in development and are therefore subject to change. Having said this I still think this book is useful. One criticism that I did have is I felt there was rather too much coverage of the media aspects such as audio and video, this criticism could be attributed to the type of apps that I find myself building most often.

Personally I enjoyed the coverage on Microdata and felt it gave me a nice introduction to get up and running with this feature. Other useful chapters included the new forms input types and the new tags such as <header>, <article> and <footer>. Other topics were interesting and well covered.

HTML5 is still evolving but this is a book that could help you catch up quickly but rather than just taking my word for it you can read the book online for free at: http://diveintohtml5.org/

posted on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 21:18:50 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Friday, 29 April 2011

Pirates of Silicon ValleyPirates of Silicon Valley is quiet an old film now but I've got to see recently. It tells the early story of Apple and Microsoft as they create the PC industry. First thing to point out is that this film does not have the same level of production as The Social Network had and as a result at times may feel like a TV movie. However if you're a geek you'll find this entertaining given the portrayals of the key characters. I particularly enjoyed John Di Maggio's performance of Steve Ballmer.

Checkout the trailer:

posted on Friday, 29 April 2011 17:35:22 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Wednesday, 27 April 2011

calibre-logoSince getting my Kindle I've amassed more and more eBooks and one of the best tools I've found to manage all these books in Calibre. This is a free and open-source tool that helps you manage your library of eBooks and best of all it's available to Windows, Mac and Linux users.

Calibre is rather like iTunes for your eBook, it allows you to define metadata for your books such as tags that allow you later to search for books. Alongside helping you to manage your collection calibre also allows you to convert books to different formats such as PDF to MOBI. Although the Kindle does support PDF I tend to prefer converting the PDF to MOBI before dropping it onto my kindle. All of which is very easily achieved using Calibre.

If you have any eBooks I highly recommend that you check out Calibre. More information and the latest version can be obtained from: http://calibre-ebook.com

posted on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 19:40:20 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Tuesday, 15 March 2011


I'm a fan of the effective series of books (Effective Java, Effective C# etc.)and was therefore looking forward to this book hoping to pick u a few gems I'd yet to discover. To be blunt I was disappointed. The book is well written and concise, however having done considerable Java development I found this book more of a nostalgic reminder of the advances Java had given us when it first appeared in the late nineteen nineties.

I think this book might be of use to somebody newer to the Java language who has already gotten to grips with the basics of the language as it does cover many of the topics I found I had already learnt with a combination of playing with the language and reading during my early days programming Java. However for those more experienced I think Effective Java would be a better investment of your time as I feel any reasonably experienced Java developer will find very little new information in this book.

posted on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 18:04:01 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Sunday, 13 March 2011

51uSFVY7zjL._SS500_ Following on from "97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know" and the less heard of "97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know" is this book full of 97 things we programmers should know. Born from the same community process this book contains insight from many of today's best developers cutting code day after day.

Like the other books in this series this book is extremely well written and presented in a very digestible format as each of the 97 points has a maximum of two pages. This has lead to a book that is very easy to pick up and read cover to cover while community to work or even reading one or two points while waiting for a build to complete.

Alongside being a really easy to read book it is also an excellent reference book and thanks to the well laid out table of contents which can be flicked through very quickly this is a book that can be used easily to help resolve the occasional cubical dispute.

Some of the topics will seem blatantly obvious while other topics were thought provoking and will maybe bring things more to your attention that you were subconsciously doing. The book isn't as hard core as other classic titles such as The Pragmatic Programmer, Code Complete and the Art of Computer Programming, I still feel that this is a book that every programmer should have a go at reading. It isn't that expensive and it's a very easy read so it won't take up too much of you time and you'll probably pick up a few things to think about will knocking out code.

posted on Sunday, 13 March 2011 15:37:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]