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"The only frontiers are in your mind"
24 | 11 | 2014
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Get Blogged by JoKi

Jochen Kirstaetter (2014)

The only frontiers are in your mind, welcome to my blog sphere. Your host at is Jochen Kirstätter aka JoKi.

Dive into the weird world of a professional Software Craftsman and follow his daily victories and struggles with modern technology at IOS Indian Ocean Software Ltd. I am a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) for Visual FoxPro, was Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Visual FoxPro in 2006 and 2007, and from spring 2004 until end of 2006 I organized monthly user group meetings as regional director of German FoxPro User Group (dFPUG). Based on this community activities I am also member of Microsoft Community Leader/Insider Program (CLIP) and PASS Deutschland e.V.

This blog is also about Flic en Flac and the beautiful island of Mauritius, my home.

Sincerely, JoKi



High Performance Responsive Design by Tom Barker
User Rating:★★★★★ / 1
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Recension 16 November 2014 - 

It seems that I have a little bit of time these days. Luckily and thanks to the O'Reilly Reader Review Program I was able to get access to "High Performance Responsive Design" by Tom Barker. Actually, after my last review it was a tough preference compared to "MongoDB - The Definitive Guide" - which is hopefully now next on my reading list. Thanks to approximately 176 pages I was able to dig through this title very quickly, and honestly it was a great experience. Looking forward to see more on this topic.

At the time of writing this review it wasn't available on Amazon yet:

This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed.

Anyway, here's my summary which I'm going to publish on the 5th December on Amazon, too:

What an eye-opener!

Although, as good as everyone working in the field of web sites or web application development is talking about Responsive Web Development (RWD) Tom Barker has a simple but nevertheless shocking statement: You're doing it wrong!

Okay, almost... Even though the title is explicitly addressed to web-frontend developers I would rather see it as a guidance for the web-backend developer. Yes, Tom starts his semi-scientific observations on the appearance of web sites but the actual improvement is supposed to happen on the server-side. Responsive Web Development covers way more aspects than just seemless arrangement and dynamic positioning of <div> sections and images. It's about network & bandwidth usage, battery life-time on mobile devices, load performance and rendering time, and other metrics related to surfing web sites.

Thanks to Tom's experience as Director of Software Engineering and Development at Comcast, and an Adjunct Professor at Philadelphia University he seems to have a fable to bring the full story in easy to understand steps to the reader. Chapter by chapter he first addresses commonly used practices, then sheds some light on the individual aspects to finally point out what's wrong with those approaches - inclusive famous anti-patterns - and how it could be improved for better user experience on various devices. Modern web development - as advocated by others, too - should be based on mobile first experience. Start with the smallest screen, with the lowest resources and then extend the user experience gradually until reaching 4K smart TV environment. Define your development iterations on swag - Scientific Wild-Ass Guess or sometimes more politely called guesstimate - and specify your performance service-level agreement (SLA) as early as possible. Thanks to a test-driven development (TDD), use of headless web browser technology and performing continuous integration (CI) one can easily keep track of code commits and their impact on the existing code base.

As a full-stack developer and recently involved in a greenfield web development project based on the MEAN-stack I am very glad that I read this book title at a very early stage of our project. Without any hesitation I'm going to recommend this book to any team member, maybe even ask them to read it as a compulsory lecture. Furthermore, I'd like to pick up this topic during our next user group meetings.

 
Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Administration Inside Out
Recension 13 November 2014 - 

Microsoft SharePoint is a great product to work with - no doubt, no questions asked but it can be (and is) quite confusing at any stage of your knowledge. Luckily, I had access to this title when I needed it most... For a software development job I had to set up a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 test lab, and honestly without this book it wouldn't have been possible.

Check out the original (and first) review as published on Amazon:

Great reference - a must-read!

Microsoft SharePoint is a great product to work with - no doubt, no questions asked but it can be (and is) quite confusing at any stage of your knowledge. And basically you cannot use SharePoint to the maximum. I was already following some online video courses with Brian Alderman prior to reading this title hence my expectations were already at a higher stake than usual. The other authors didn't ring a bell in me but I was pretty sure that they would easily match the high quality of content.

The book is actually more like a compendium. The overall structures of chapters is well organised and all chapters are written in a very detailed style. There are a lot of PowerShell scripts as most configuration of SharePoint is done via scripting. Sometimes, this is actually a little bit messy to read and to stay focused on the actual task. But the others took care of that and there are online resources to actually get all scripts to do the job.

Speaking about authors, given the circumstances that we have a pool of authors it happens that certain information is repeated and in rare occasions there are controversial statements for the same functionality. Kind of confusing and my reasoning to downgrade my rating a bit. Apart from that, this title is very easy to understand, filled with lots of PowerShell scripting code, and practical advice and guidance to achieve proper planning, installation, configuration and operation of Microsoft SharePoint 2013. Independent whether you need to have an test environment for software development, or you have to set up a full-fledged server farm with a good number of servers.

As stated initially, I started to read this book already last year during my 30 Days of SharePoint challenge prior to implement a SharePoint client using the Client Side Object Model (CSOM) interface. This book on installation, configuration and administration of Microsoft SharePoint 2013 was a heck of an asset and even though I initially had to deal with an installation of SharePoint 2010 at customer's site, I was in pretty good position to move on to a fully virtualised test bed on Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft SharePoint

Overall it took approximately four to five hours from creating the private network (VPN) on Azure, allocating the various Windows servers for the "perfect" development infrastructure and to get Visual Studio 2013 hooked up for some serious software development. I'd assume that it might have taken me days without the lecture of this title.

 
Social eCommerce by Stephan Spencer, Jimmy Harding & Jennifer Sheahan
Recension 13 November 2014 - 

Another book title based on my participation in the O'Reilly Reader Reviews programm. This time we are diving into the depths of online marketing. Whether it's for your own business or providing professional services to your clients as a consultant you definitely should have a go at this book.

Following my review as published on Amazon:

Practical and efficient guide

The book structure is divided in some general background information regarding past, present and maybe future social media networks to keep an eye, then explicit guidelines and marketing strategies on different fields of business, and last but not least great advice on how to get the message out to a broader audience. This allows for quick navigation and using the book as a reference rather than a back-to-back read. Personally, while reading about a particular marketing strategy I went back and forth between other chapters to fill in some interesting side-note and to cook up some ideas.

Although, using and running paid advertising services for some of my clients I still came across a big pile of improvements. The authors describe the benefits of shifting away from plain numbers in terms of search engine ranking towards conversions (and therefore earning money) very well. I'm going to keep this title in an easy to reach location on the bookshelf for obvious reasons:

  • It clearly helps me and my clients to create better and more successful marketing campaigns on social media networks.
  • It's a treasure trunk of links to outstanding online resources in order to create better adverts.
  • Lots of practical information about things to avoid ;-)

 Surely, a must-read book title for anyone selling products or services online. Create value, trust in your brand and then focus on revenue.

 
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