Book Review: Learning SPARQL

Front cover of book

I've been experimenting with SPARQL for some time and was lucky enough to have had some training at work on it, but on several occasions when reading Bob DuCharme's Learning SPARQL I found out something that this very powerful language could do that was new to me. The book provides quite a detailed overview of the capabilities of the language and takes the reader right from their first steps in constructing a query through to using it as a data source for programs. The capabilities of both SPARQL 1.0 and 1.1 are covered, with warnings when commands only work in 1.1. If you are looking to take your first steps in learning SPARQL, or maybe you are someone who can already write queries and would like to enhance your skillset, perhaps exploring topics such as creating, updating and validating data then you may well find this book very useful.

Book Review: Building Web Apps for Google TV or "Why I read this book even though I don't have Google TV"

Book cover

I don't own a Google TV device and I live in the UK (at the time of writing Google TV boxes are only available in the US) so why, you might wonder, would somebody in my position want to read a book about how to build apps for it? Thanks to the magic of web technologies it turns out that in the context of this book not owning a Google TV device doesn't matter all that much. In fact if you have a computer that runs Google Chrome then this book can still work very well as a primer on how to develop for the TV web and the issues involved. If you already have web development or design skills and want to start developing for TVs this book could be for you as it will tell you not just about the technology involved but also how to create an experience for the user that will work in the living room.

An App Inventor for Android book and my first time as a Technical Editor

App Inventor for Android book coverIf you would like to take your first steps in mobile app development then a book worth a look is App Inventor for Android by Jason Tyler. It is aimed at people starting out in programming and those who want to know how to get the most out of Google's innovative app creation platform of the same name. The book takes you from the basics to some surprisingly advanced applications. For me it it is a significant book too as I worked on it as the Technical Editor, my first time in such a role.

Book review: Drupal 7 First Look

Front cover of Drupal 7 First LookThe release of Drupal 7 was a long time in coming and is a major upgrade from and means major changes for anybody used to working with Drupal, the popular content management system and web application framework. Every major version number means lots of new features, but also breaking changes making upgrading possibly tricky depending on how your site is set up. It also means that you need to know what the benefits are of the new version before deploying Drupal. In an attempt to address this need Packt Publishing have released Drupal 7 First Look by Mark Noble and were kind enough to send me an electronic review copy.

Book review: Drupal 6 Performance Tips

Book front cover

Most books on Drupal cover various aspects of developing websites using this versatile platform. After reading one of these you might find that you have done a rather good job of it and your site is attracting an increasing amount of traffic. This is great until the point where your site starts to struggle to keep up with demand. Left unchecked this could result in your site becoming slow to use and people becoming impatient and looking elsewhere. At this point you might be tempted to throw money at the problem, maybe an expensive new server or an upgrade to your hosting account. Before you do though it might be worth reading “Drupal 6 Performance Tips” by T.J. Holowaychuk and Trevor James that explains strategies and technologies that might help out.

Book Review: Drupal 6 Social Networking

There was once a time when the computer industry was not really people orientated, instead the focus was on pushing data around and worrying about nothing but algorithms. Those days ended with the arrival of Web 2.0, the web changed forever, the model of top-down publishing of content was revolutionised by the idea of users generating content and maintaining connections with each other through social networks. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have brought the web alive as a social space, but what if you want to implement some of these ideas on your own site? This is where Michael Peacock's new book Drupal 6 Social Networking may come in very handy.

Book review: Drupal for Education and E-Learning

It can be quite a strange experience to read a book where you know you are not the target audience, I'm not a teacher or an academic, but I work for a university and use Drupal, and, of course, like most people have been on the receiving end of the education system! Despite this though I still enjoyed reading Drupal for Education and E-Learning by Bill Fitzgerald after being asked if I would review it by the publisher Packt Publishing. The book is not aimed at developers like me, but instead to those who want to use Drupal “to support teaching and learning” and to explore opportunities to use social media in the classroom in a safe way. You don't even need to know PHP. However, even though it has this non-techie targeting it could still prove very useful to many people using Drupal in other contexts. Occasionally though a tension would surface in the book between the desire to talk to a non developer audience and the subjects being discussed.

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