Product Review

Safari Learning Paths New Interface

I really like the new Safari Learning Path interface.

It is a bunch of small things – specially the time marker on the top and the section time on the right.

The clean design is nice too, and the video player works well.

One thing that still didn't change is that a whole lot of stuff in Safari (including a lot of conferences videos) have no closed captions. Given how many AI services support this, I'm little surprised that this didn't change…

My full review of Safari.


Course Review

Learning Path: Java Professional Developer – Course Review

Learning Path: Java Professional Developer is a Learning Path in Safari. These usually have sets of book chapters or videos from different sources.

This one is from Paul J. Deitel Java video courses, alone. It covers a lot of Java, from the basics to Swing, some JDBC and the start of Java FX.

I felt it was interesting, but the absence of closed captions/transcripts, and the overall slow approach meant that I did a whole lot of skipping (even at 1.75 speed). A clickable transcript like some of MOOCs would be wonderful here – you can just read along for most of it, skipping to any parts where the visuals are important.

A lot of the video is given to explaining code. Sometimes this useful, but most of the time for me, the code was pretty clear and I had to skip around to not waste a lot of time.

The coverage seems good. Having a single part of Java FX was reasonable, as it gives you a taste of it without wasting too much time. Personally, I was a bit interested, but support in IntelliJ seems a bit primitive compared to WPF/UWP or even old Delphi, and I constantly hit on annoying bugs (such as disappearing sections on the in IDE version of Scene Builder).

It seems silly to mention it, but all the code in the repository worked and matched the one in the video. Sadly, that is not always the case.

Overall, interesting, and good coverage, but a little too slow.

As a mildly funny tidbit, while reviewing the course I noticed that a paul.deitel user gave the course 5 stars. Well, it makes sense that he'd like it…

Book Review

The Single Founder Handbook – Book Review

The Single Founder Handbook, by Mike Taber,  is an interesting book focused on simple startups, not the kind where you try to get funding. It is also mostly about software developers.

I've been selling software online for 20 years (see my site for most of my software), and this was still full of interesting ideas.

In particular, I liked this version of how to generate and validate product ideas, and the chapter on how to outsource.

I also thought there were some useful insights in Routine Maintenance section, about how health, personal retreats, mastermind groups and the like.

I got the simplest version – just the ebook. I didn't see the other assets as particularly useful for the price.

Overall, pretty good, and I can recommend the basic version.

Book Review

WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us – Book Review

WTF? What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us, by Tim O'Reilly, is a book about how things are today, and how they can be, in several important areas.

It also has a lot of memories of the author in major events in technology, which I felt were quite interesting to read about (not sure how much interest younger people will have in those – being there probably makes a difference!).

There were a lot of important insights, that I wish leaders in all areas would read. I highlight every interesting idea I see, so in the end huge areas of the book were yellow.

I particularly like the reflections on why services like Uber work, and how we could make better regulations.

Overall, strongly recommended.

As usual (and since the author is the owner, not surprising) I read the book on Safari Books.





Book Review

NeuroWisdom – Book Review

I've just read NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness and Success, by Mark Robert Waldman and Chris Manning.

The book covers current neuroscience on how to be happier and more successful, usually with simple techniques you can use every day that were proven to work on actual research.

I can't say I got around to trying most of the ideas yet, but I certainly intend to, and several I have heard from several sources.

Overall, seems well worth the time reading and applying.

Read from Safari Books. Formatting was fine (I just saw a single book that had some formatting problems this year).

Update: It was removed from Safari.

Book Review

Kotlin in Action – Book Review

Kotlin in Action, by Dmitry Jemerov and Svetlana Isakova covers the language basics of Kotlin.

Kotlin is a wonderful language that borrows from many languages, including Java, C#, and functional languages to make a very interesting, terse and highly productive language. Currently it supports compiling to the JVM, Javascript and native on several systems.

The book is supposed to be for experienced Java developers, but I have very limited Java experience and I was able to follow all of it.

I have to say I really like Kotlin, and how the language is made so that your code can be as short as possible. Even when your IDE can fill in most of the code for you, it is still a problem as you get tons of useless code to check all the time.

Overall, strongly recommended if you are interested in Kotlin.




Book Review

Visual Studio 2015 Unleashed – Book Review

Visual Studio 2015 Unleashed is a long book (1320 pages) that covers a lot of Visual Studio's capabilities and usage.

As you might expect, anything covering the whole surface of a system as large as VS must be shallow at places. Nevertheless, I feel that is well enough to give an useful overview of many of the technologies involved, such as WinForms, WPF, UWP, Apache Cordova, Xamarin, creating Office add-ins, writing VS extensions and many more.

Obviously it doesn't cover the latest version (2017) but most of the changes are not important enough to matter.




Book Review

Hidden WPF – Book Review

Hidden WPF: Secrets for Creating Great Applications in WPF by Alessandro Del Sole covers some less know things in WPF.

While there are a few non-obvious items, if you read something like WPF 4.5 Unleashed you are unlikely to learn something now.

Might be worth checking out in Safari, as it is quite short. Most examples are in VB, though.



Product Review

.NET Micro ORMs – Course Review

Just finished .NET Micro ORMs, by Steve Michelotti, on PluralSight.

This course covers a few Micro ORMs for .NET – including Dapper, OrmLite, Massive, PetaPoco and Simple.Data.

It was very interesting to see how easy they are to use, and how fast they are, compared to Entity Framework.

From my very limited experience, the best for me seems to be OrmLite – which is not surprisingly a paid product (although it has a free version for up to 10 tables in a project, which can work in some situations).

All the others seem very interesting, though.



Book Review

Exercises for Programmers – Book Review

Exercises for Programmers is a very interesting book with exercises you can use as you are learning a new language.

I found the exercises to be useful, and to really help while learning C# and WPF.

Well worth the time reading and coding, and challenging enough (for a new language/framework) to help learn without being annoying.

Not all exercises are relevant to all platforms/frameworks, of course.