Terraform Up & Running book review

I would say that Terraform is the most unsophisticated tool from Hashicorp that I know. However, if you're thinking that's a bad thing then you're wrong.

It does a bunch of things that anyone else who has a glimpse of AWS/Openshift/Azure/etc SDK plus a bit of any scripting language can easily do without loosing a sweat.

But that's its main ace in its sleeve. It does a simple thing and does it very well. It encapsulates all the knowledge about different providers in itself allowing you to use one interface amongst them all.

Considering what Terraform is I would say that this book is too much long and it goes in too much detail. But as with Terraform itself that's not bad because the more you know the less you fear. And this book allows you not fear Terraform and be productive with it since the very beginning.

My score is 5/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Everyday Rails Testing with RSpec book review

I always had a strange perception towards writing tests in Ruby. Ruby is a language where making a change is so easy that you feel empowered to do more than you planned. And it forgives you a lot, allowing you to increase the amount of tech debt that you app accumulates during the development. And sometimes you realize that you can't progress anymore without sacrificing on the stability of your application.

And at this phase usually tests come into play to help you to gain control over your codebase and make it robust.

This book is a great introduction to start writing tests in Ruby. It teaches you concepts that are common, with very little emphasis on RSpec features. In my opinion the coverage of Rspec features is shallow, after reading the book I had to refer to the documentation a lot. Mocking frameworks are covered very poorly.

But as an introductory, especially if Ruby on Rails is your bread and butter this book is great as it's nicely written and doesn't get you bored which is very rare amongst the books about testing.

My score is 3/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

It's even more useless than the "4-hour work week". Tim is a cool guy, but the book looks like his diary with all the recipes that he has been meticiously testing on himself without any scientific or medical proof whatsoever.

Don't waste your time on it, just read a few of his blog posts.

My score is 2/5

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov

The author considers his book as an introductional tutorial, which it's definitely not.

I was a bit disappointed first as it goes into too much detail on the basics of web development and Rub y the language, but then I got enlightened. This book is called "Introduction to Web Development with Ruby on Rails", therefore it doesn't expect its reader to have any experience with RoR, Ruby or web dev whatsoever.

This book allows its reader not only to grasp the basics, it empowers him to do apps that's are production ready without any prior frontend experience. Javascript is not very well covered though. However, in the world of RoR that doesn't matter that much.

I wish I had read a book like this before. Unfortunately, the heyday of RoR has been long gone, but this doesn't make this book any worse.

This book is a must read if you're thinking to touch any RoR project.

My score is 5/5

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov

The 4 hour work week book review

The most valuable asset that this book gives is its reading list given at the very end of it.

Tim Ferriss is a cool guy with a long list of achievements, I just don't agree with some of the things written in this book. Plus, as it was written in 2007 a lot of stuff that he tries to explain in detail like the easiness of creating your own info products and remote work ubiquity are considered as trivial and don't need a lengthy multi chapter explanation as, I assume, was the case in 2007.

The "low information diet" principle coined by Ferriss will take a place at the top of my own list of the things that I strive to do for self improvement.

My score is 3/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Москва Петушки book review

Хорошо что я не прочитал эту книгу ранее когда ездил каждое утро по маршруту Москва-Петушки, достаточно тяжело ассоциироовать себя с героями и происшествиями этой книге.

По моему мнению эта книга это квинтэссенция повести о российской интеллигенции: маргинализированная, никому не нужная, ждущая когда же откроется магазин чтобы купить херес который поможет приблизиться к сути бытия и чтобы не так тянуло блевать.

Да, это герой уровня Гоголя и Пелевина. В каждом времени есть свои герои, но Венечка для меня навсегда останется примером того что ждет каждого беспомощного российского интеллигента нашедшего спасения от обыденных проблем в пьянстве: Сфинкс и нож в горле.

My score is 4/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Linchpin. Are you indispensable? book review

This book doesn't reinvent the wheel, it will not teach you anything new that you haven't heard of before. This is simply a cookbook of recipes on how to always stay relevant and drift with the flow in the right direction.

Very motivating, if you're a fan of Lifehacker that's definitely the book you need to read instantly.

My score is 5/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Thoughtful Machine Learning book review

Well, if you're looking for a brief introduction to ML that book could be of some use for you. Unfortunately, it doesn't go far beyond that.

Code examples that are bundled with the book have-not been updated for a long time, therefore some of them don't work.

I reckon that If you had read a few blog posts from 2017 titled "Introduction to Machine Learning" with no Ruby code examples you would have known more than what this book teaches you.

My score is 3/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Go in Practice book review

Go in Practice is a nice small book that in my opinion should be the starting point for every Golang programmer. As the language is so small you can learn it in a few days, but its libraries are its biggest value if you ask me and this book tries to explain why those libraries have allowed to scaffold such projects as Docker and Kubernetes.

The book is boring sometimes, it goes in too much detail without a particular need. Explaining the methods of this or that class is too much of a burden for the readers in my opinion.

The biggest flaw of the book is also its biggest virtue. Even though I had no problems with running some of the code that's embedded in the book ( the version of the book in Safari is awful BTW) as the book promises to be a practical guide some the solutions to the problems the the author thinks one can face are a bit outdated. If you claim to give practical solutions than you need to update your book with the best solution that's currently available

My score is 4/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Vue.js 2 and Bootstrap 4 Web Development book review

VueJS is the new kid on the block, though it might look familiar to most of frontend developers who had experience with Angular 1.x prior to that. And that's not an coincedence due to that VueJS author was one of the former core contributors to Angular therefore he claims that he took the features that we of the most importance to community and got rid of the unneccessary complexity that Angular 2.x presents as its features.

I can't agree more on that. For me as a former Angular addict VueJS looks like a breath of fresh air in comparison with React. React was a good thing in its times, it helped to educate frontend engineers who usually lack formal CS education therefore are prone to reinvent the wheel with every project they touch. React has brought a lot of fundamental CS concepts like immutabilty and referential transparency that they called "pure functions" to the attention of the Javascript developers. But if you're not a frontend developer than React will take a heavy toll on you as in my opinion it makes creating a simple app unbearably hard as you need to learn JSX, Redux and other things just to start. React ecosystem changes so quickly that it's not worth the effort to enter it as it could change at any moment.

Here VueJS comes into play. It has adapted some of the most valuable React features which is Redux in my opinion, but to write a VueJS app you don't need to know anything besides Javascript and HTML. It's unbelievable, but you don't even need NodeJS to write a frontend app in Vue.

Ok, let's go back to the book. The book is great, I can't say more about it. It reminds me of the Head First book series that was iconic to the IT newcomers back in the mid 2010's. Olga reminds Kathy Sierra a lot as they have a similar narratory style though Kathy usually gets in too much details as she expects her readers to have zero knowledge and Olga sometimes skips some of the concepts and gives a referrence to the book's complementary source code. It's hard to find it therefore I've made a fork that's will be more accessible for anyone https://github.com/mkoltsov/Vue.js-2-and-Bootstrap-4-Web-Development

The book gives a lot of practical examples on how to start writing actual webapps with Vue, it even goes to such extent as how to deploy it and manage its data.

My score is 5/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Go in Action book review

I always thought of myself as of a quick learner, therefore I prefer to practice and hone my skill rather than reading long and lenghty books.

But this book is an exception. It’s not long, it’s not boring. But after reading it I felt unsatisfied as the code examples were far from what’s needed in the real life, some parts of the language are shallowly described and the whole impression of the language it gives is that Go is very close to Javascript and you can easily learn it over the weekend.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Go. I’ll give a try to “Go in Practice” from the same publisher in a hope that it will not leave me with lots of unanswered questions as this book did.

My score is 2/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

The Well-Grounded Rubyist book review

Ruby (along with Python and Javascript) is a kind of a language that allows you to use it without dropping a sweat to study it. That’s what has happened to me. I’ve been using Ruby for a while, but haven’t read anything but blog posts about it.

This book gave me a good momentum to start using some of the Ruby features I (i.e. Fibers ) that I was  completely unaware before, though the amount of input it provides is not overwhelming which helps you to digest this book over a weekend.

That’s a good starter for anyone willing to start coding in Ruby 2.1, lots of examples are outdated if you aim for Ruby 2.4+

My score 4/5


Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Introducing Python book review

This is actually the first book about Python I’ve read even though I’ve used it extensively throughout the years.

My perception that this book proves is that Pythonistas are usually not programmers by trade, they’d come to programming either due to a lucky coincidence or by taking a wrong turn on the road of career hopping.

This book has promised to give a broad look on the Python’s ecosystem, it actually delivers on what it promises. But this look is so shallow that I can’t recommend this book for those who’s willing to get a deep dive into Python on a weekend. The technical details it gives look like author’s waving the hands in the air with no actual proof that I’m used to in Scala and Java books.

Good book, but I can’t recommend it to any professional programmer who’s used to technical/programming/mathematical books.

Score 3/5

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Continious Delivery book review

This book is considered a cornerstone of the DevOps movement. In my opinion, it might be that in the very beginning, but currently most of the concepts that it presents are obvious and outdated.

I will recommend it to be read to someone who’s new in the DevOps community, but if you’ve got a few years of experience in the area under your belt I would   not.

It’s nice to have all good concepts under one cover, but reading a 400-pages long book that will tell you the history of GIT and SVN is pointless in my opinion. Most of the ideas presented in the book could be wrapped in one long yet succinct blog post.

My score 3/5

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books and DevOps

The DevOps Handbook book review

This book actually reminds me of the book “Release it ” but with much less emphasis on actual technical patterns but with a stronger accent on soft skills.

It’s also complimentary to the “Phoenix Project” written by the same authors.

If you’ve skipped the “Phoenix Project” or you don’t like to read the novels, like I do, I would recommend you to start with this book as it has much more momentum than the first book.

It has a bunch of great inspiring examples of successes from the companies that have embarked on the “DevOps journey” which to me is the best part of this book. Also the book is relatively recent therefore a lot of its advices are quite innovative and might be even disturbing to some.

My score 4/5

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books and DevOps