Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review: Coffeescript Application Development


After completing Coffeescript Application Development, I’d like to share my thoughts with you about the book. Let me start with a confession. I read the book but I didn’t do the homework. My reading was done during my bus commute on my kindle touch, which is not a full-sized screen and some technical titles aren’t a good fit for that medium. Long coding examples or charts/tables don’t render well on it in some cases. I’m happy to say I didn’t run into any issues with that. Granted, some longer lines of code did wrap, but at no point did I ever feel like it was too unwieldy to comprehend on the screen, and I find it rare now to find any technical book about programming that doesn’t include lines that need to wrap. Because I was on the bus traveling light, I didn’t break out my laptop and download the code to go through the exercises.

Here we go

I was anxious to dig into this book for a number of reasons. I don’t use Coffeescript on a regular basis for project work, and have seen some good introduction material, but I was curious about what more might be included. It had been a while since I had seen the material, so the first few chapters were a refresher. That said, they were pretty quick reading and did a very good job of explaining the syntax of the Coffeescript language.

In addition to the syntax of Coffeescript itself, the book included discussion of some tools and libraries that can be used with Coffeescript. While I’m sure the author wouldn’t expect to exhaustively identify all the tools and libraries worth mentioning, he did a good job of including enough to whet my appetite and make me feel like I should do some digging to find out more.

The writing of the book was well done too. The author did a good job of keeping things lively at the same time explained all the concepts thoroughly. The code examples were all a good combination of being simple without being contrived. Building from a simple app adding features as the book progressed helped introduce gradual more and more concepts within the language we..


I would have liked to have seen unit testing addressed. There were never any tests for the exercises and never any discussion about which frameworks would integrate well with writing Coffeescript tests for Coffeescript code. I realize that could be the subject of a book itself, but some discussion of it would have been nice.


When I knew I was going to review the book, I had developed a question I was trying to answer that I kept considering as I went -- was Coffeescript worth the effort? If I were on a javascript project and considering a switch to Coffeescript what would I be gaining at the cost of a new language and additional complexity associated with that change? As I read the initial chapters I was still on the fence. It seemed to me the switch from javascript to Coffeescript was similar to the one from java to groovy. A lot of the same issues are solved by both languages and I have to admit I much prefer groovy over java. The more I read, the more I was convinced the change would be worth it.

Overall I would say the book was worth my time, and if you are considering the change to Coffeescript, you should check it out. You can find details here.

Disclosure: I was provided an electronic copy of this book for review by the publisher.

Monday, October 28, 2013

CoffeeScript Application Development

I was recently contacted by Packt Publishing and asked to review CoffeeScript Application Development
(available here). I'll be reading it over the next several weeks on my Kindle and providing some feedback on the material (disclaimer: I was provided a copy of the book for download by Packt). Stay tuned for more as I work my way through it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CoolIris showing Flicrk photos

I just played around with CoolIris. Here's my flickr photostream running through it. This may not display correctly, so we'll see how blogger handles it. If you are reading this through a feed reader you will probably have to go to the full page to see it. What do you think?

Friday, February 20, 2009


Paid apps opened up on the android market today. My friend Dan has been working on an application called AlphaMixr for a while in preparation. I've been beta testing, and let me tell you it is addicting. It is a game of making 3 to 6 letter words out of a specific 6 letters.

Dan's effort polishing the game and companion website ( really show. If you have an android device (T-Mobile G1) you should definitely check it out. I think you'll really like it too.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

DOF Calculator for Android

I finally spent a few minutes playing with the Depth of Field Calculator application for my Android phone this morning. For some reason I couldn't find a full-frame camera in the options the first time I played with it, but when I tried today my 5D popped up right away. It looks like an application that I'll be using the next time I take some pictures. If nothing else it will make me think/realize more just how wide or narrow that depth is as I'm shooting. (I know, I'm sure you iPhone users had this app a long time ago.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Initial reaction to the Andriod G1

Yesterday I picked up a G1. After playing with it for less than a day, I have enough experience to make some comments about it.

- I like the form factor. The keyboard works much better than the Treo I've been using for quite some time.

- I was easily to get most of my stuff set up to an acceptable level to say I haven't really lost any functionality that I had with my Treo (with the exception of all my contact in the Palm database -- thankfully I was already using GooSync to get my calendar in sync with Google Calendar).

- I like the browser and email reader way better on the G1 than the Treo. I haven't played enough with an iPhone to know how they compare, but I suspect they may be pretty similar.

- There are some minor improvements that could be made, as many have already noted. For example, the sensitivity of the screen isn't the greatest, nor is the precision (I have a heck of a time clicking on an href in the browser with my finger and usually use the wheel to do that because of it). You don't get automatic orientation changing when you rotate the phone like an iPod does (to me that isn't that big of a deal).

- There are some really critical issues that need to be resolved ASAP. First and foremost is the lack of flash support. See my previous post about to know why that is a priority for me.

- The other really goofy thing is the lack of a real headphone jack. Granted you can use bluetooth headsets with it, but what about listening to my flash presentations (did I mention that is a really vital item that is missing?) while I ride the bus. Or for those who don't feel like carrying an MP3 player and a phone, how the heck are you supposed to listen to those oh so conveniently downloaded MP3s from Amazon when you get to your desk at work? Don't tell me to use those headphones that connect to the USB port. Anyone who's invested in a pair or two of SHURE headphones is not going to just switch over to the ones that came with their cellphone (and if you haven't tried the SHURE products you should).

- Someone needs to round up the markets for software. So far I've used the built-in program to find new applications, but I also came across three other sites while I was googling last night:

* SlideME
* AndAppStore
* OnlyAndroid

The latter is the only one charging for the programs, so I haven't used them yet (most of the same apps can be found for free with the other options). The bummer is that lots of programs are posted on multiple sites so I see a lot of repeats digging through the lists -- whereas some are only on one of the sites so I have to dig through them all to find out if I missed out on something I'd like. Someone should consolidate the lists (maybe that is the application I can write ... in my copious amounts of free time ... right).

Hopefully Adobe will get the flash issue taken care of asap (they appear to be working on it), and the minor issues will be forgotten as I just suck it up and get a headphone converter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Free Technical Presentations

You can find some great presentations online (and for free) at You need flash to view the site, but the UI is pretty nice and the content is pretty good stuff (speakers like Rod Johnson, Joshua Bloch, Ted Neward, and Bruce Eckel just to name a few).

If you use iTunes, subscribe to "".

Thanks to Paul Noennig for sharing this nugget with me after the OTUG presentation.

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