Code simplicity is a well written essay about the fundamental rules of software design, a good read especially for novice programmers, and a nice reminder about what really does matter when writing good software for more experience developers.
This short book is easy to read for anybody. No code or programming jargon is used. Programming concepts required are thoroughly explained. All design rules and laws presented are well introduced and motivated. Concepts are easy to understand seem intuitive, and the reader feels eager to adopt them right away.
However, the design principles described in this book are quite generic and maybe a bit simplistic. Any programmer with some experience won’t find anything new in this book, although the nice way in which the text is written helps realizing the purpose of many things we do subconsciously when writing software. New programmers, on the other hand, may find the rules too abstract or fuzzy to apply them in their daily routine.
In a nutshell, the book is a nice short introduction to the most fundamental rules of software design, is very well written, and justifies appropriately all the advice given. Could serve inexperienced programmers improve the quality of their developments, and experience programmers remember the rules (and the reason why) they should apply.
This book provides readers with a quite comprehensive introduction to extracting and analyzing information from Twitter. While it is expected that the reader is somewhat familiar with the different Twitter APIs, the author does a fantastic job at presenting strategies for crawling and mining data using python and some additional and freely available third party libraries.
The main three aspects that I loved about this little gem were:
- The author does a great job at highlighting the main Twitter’s API limitations (e.g. maximum number of requests for each API call) and bugs (e.g. user ids being different in the ‘/search’ API). Solutions, in the form of functional code, are given. This information can save literally hours debugging code or waiting for twitter to remove restrictions imposed after going beyond some of the limits imposed by the system.
- All the code, available for free from the author’s github.com account, is very well conceived, illustrative and most of the time can be used directly from the command line to perform simple tasks with Twitter’s data.
- Lots of 3rd party libraries and tools (e.g. CouchDB, Redis, Protovis, etc.) are introduced to the reader, and used in appropriate contexts. That is, when they actually make the code easier to read, or simply more flexible in terms of scalability. I’ve learned quite a few tricks that are changing the way I work with data (and not just twitter data).
On the other hand, I really missed a short introduction to the main Twitter APIs. It’s confusing to read about “statuses” or “timelines” without a prior formal definition. It took me quite some time to distill the appropriate information from the Twitter’s developer documentation.
A must read if you are planning to work with Twitter data.