A change of pace this week. Each year, the Dr Dobbs Journal recognizes its choices of the six best books in software development with the Jolt Awards. I’d like to write about two of them that took my eye: Mining the Social Web: Analyzing Data from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Other Social Media Sites, by Matthew A. Russell; and Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation, by Jez Humble and David Farley.
Astronomers (and possibly most scientists) have perhaps not yet learned how to mine the social web for valuable information. The information need not be scientific data per se, but can be information on, say, how to find out about new tools to visualize data sets. Russell’s book shows how to go about doing it. There are 10 short chapters with worked examples in Python showing how to capture information and present it. It’s best to work through the examples at the computer. Note that you will need a working knowledge of Python to get the best out of this book.
The idea behind Continuous Delivery is the need for software development models to evolve beyond the classic build and test. Humble and Farley present a model for automated building and testing applications on all platforms, creating and deploying the final deliverables for all platforms. The benefit of this approach is that “…the development organization at any given moment always has: 1) immediate feedback on deployment issues, 2) a deployable binary; 3) a completely automated process to build, test, and deploy on all platforms.”