Published by Fabian on 10 Oct 2009

Review: Symfony 1.3 Web Application Development Book

Today I received my copy of the new symfony 1.3 book as I said earlier the day in my tweet.

In the meanwhile I had a chance to read the book, skipping all the coding. The book is easy to read and teaches to build a milkshake shop along the pages. However there is no new idea, because the TOC matches to ones from other symfony books. And I must state that the book suffers from a few things:

  • You can note that this book was “upgraded” for newer versions. It says Propel 1.2 is used, which is not true anymore since symfony 1.2. It gives links that point to 1.0 documentation and for installation 1.2 links because “at the time of writing 1.3 was not released”. I can understand that as publisher you want to have a book that covers the current version. But be fair with your customers. This book does know nothing about Doctrine (1.2) and Propel 1.4  which are the main libraries included in symfony. As part of this the book also explains emails wrong. Well at least it uses swiftmailer, but in 1.3 there will be native symfony support based on swiftmailer.
  • Code examples have syntax errors, are multi page ymls that the reader should “copy” (ok, sourceode is available as download) and contains comments like
    //create new criteria
    $c = new Criteria();
  • The application being built shall look nice, to achieve that tons of style information clutters up the examples. it is hard to see where the important stuff comes from. I would have preferred a complete (complex) css that styles everything so that the examples are easier to read
  • The book does not tell anything about “symfony cc” [ok it does, it says this is explained when installing a plugin, but when you have read up to there, there is no note of this as well]. From my experience “symfony cc” was the answer to most of the questions on the mailing list. Symfony book should spend a whole chapter of teaching this :)

On the bright side we have:

  • The book uses symfony Forms, which many people find under-documented. Perhaps the book can help here?
  • The book uses symfony 1.2 admin generator and avoids the 1.0 compatible deprecated features.
  • It illustrates a way to send emails. Something which was a challenge for symfony 1.0-1.2 users.

If it would have been a symfony 1.2 book, I would have recommended it. But the forced upgrade to 1.3 harmed it. I hope that Packt and the authors will update the book after release of 1.3/1.4. For over 40 Euros I would have expected a much better book.

Published by Fabian on 04 Oct 2009

Talking Days

Tomorrow, I will have the pleasure to talk about Eclipse RAP at the Java User Group Cologne. I am still working on slides, which is quite a challenge for me, as I want to include a demo and the talk is restricted to 45 minutes. I hope that my new Logitech Presenter arrives still in time, because it has a timer :-)
But I am not worried, because I can talk about RAP for hours. And if I am lucky, I will even have a RAP project for one of our customers. At least they are willing to let us work on a RAP spike for 3 days.

On Tuesday, I will be in Würzburg, giving a introduction and comparison of Ant and Maven. Slides are already done, because printouts are distributed to all attendees. I do not really like that, because I prefer people staying with me while I talk and not reading the whole material in advance. On the other hand that forced me to have them done already. 90 minutes are plenty of time for this talk and I am really looking forward to this. My colleague Thomas will be joining me and presenting about testing with mocks and stubs.

Both talks are in German, but I created the slides for the former talk in English, so more people can read them (if they like). With those two additional talks I have reached the critical mass of publicly available material to put them on a dedicated page. On “Publications” I will collect materials from my talks and other stuff I write about.

Published by Fabian on 17 Sep 2009

New symfony book coming

I was asked if I could review a new book coming out soon.
It is called symfony 1.3 web application development.

Covers all the new features of version 1.3 – many exciting plug-ins for you

But… hmm thats interesting. 1.3 is neither out, nor are its features finalized. Also, I don’t know the authors, which is a bit strange.
I will see. I will review it and report again.

Published by Fabian on 03 Sep 2009

low blogging activity

Actually I do blog, but not here. Just today, I published a provocative concept in our company blog:
Commit every day, or revert – Be agile, every day
There a a few more to come.
Besides that I am preparing two talks for early October, which I will publicize also on SlideShare, and finished an article for Javamagazin recently.
Symfony activity is very low, but the 1.2.9 release is already prepared, so we can have that soon.
I am also thinking about a new book, but a book is much work, so i am a bit reluctant :)

Published by Fabian on 25 Aug 2009

Did you know?

I found this only today, but its already outdated… and a “should know”

Published by Fabian on 10 Aug 2009

Blogs are better than Forums

and the reason for that is that blogs typically contain a more or less elaborated solution for a specific problem. And that problem was serious enough to let the blog owner consider writing a solution article out of it.

Forums are very much often different. Did this ever happen to you? You searched for an error message and the only hits you got are mailing lists or forums where somebody has the same issue? And if you really have bad luck then the only hit is your own posting :-)

Thats why I favor blog articles. They give a solution and also very often some additional background information. Spot on my problem.

Thanks to google! Without a powerful search engine finding this distributed information you would have to use a forum and pile up more questions without answers :)

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