Review: ColdFusion 8 Developer Tutorial

I was asked to review the book ColdFusion 8 Developer Tutorial by John Farrar, of Packt Publishing. I haven't read the whole book, mostly the first chapter, but I wanted to get an early review out there. My first impression is that this would be a good book for someone hoping to get up to speed on ColdFusion quickly. The only other book(s) on the market that's similar to ColdFusion 8 Developer Tutorial is the classic Web Application Construction Kit. But with that having grown to 3 volumes, it's kind of daunting for new developers looking to jump in quickly.

I do have a couple of nitpicks, though. On page 12, there is this sentence: "Proper indentation is key to either tag or script based code." I think what John means is that you should indent your code for style and readability. However, there are a few languages out there that rely heavily on indendation...if you don't indent properly, your code doesn't work. ColdFusion is not one of these languages, and John's statement "proper indentation is key" might lead a new CF developer to believe that they have to indent the same way that John does in his code examples, because it's required by the language syntax. I also found a couple of typos in the text, however I don't blame this on John, but rather his editor.

That said, I do think this is a great book. If I were to recommend a book for a beginner, I'd suggest this one. And if I were teaching a ColdFusion class, I think this one would be a good text book.

What does your name mean?

I was curious about the origin of the name Conrad, a guy my wife and I know. So I googled, and found a site called Behind the Name, where you can type in any name and you will find the origin and original meaning, as well as famous historical people that had the name.

Interestingly, my wife's name Dyany is not in their database. Her Mom found the name in genealogy records from the 1600s. I already knew that Jacob is of Hebrew origins, but I didn't know that the Hebrew spelling is Ya'aqov. Very cool, makes me want to change my online handle from Yacoubean to this. :) Yacoubean is actually from the Tad Williams Otherland series, which had a bad guy named Yacobean (I misspelled it the first time I used it!).

Harry Potter 5

I just finished reading HP5 today, and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. I have to admit that I've never been a big Harry Potter fan, as I couldn't even finish book 1. Someone told me they got more intense in the later books, so I started reading again at book 3. I really enjoyed books 3 and 4, as long as I looked at them in the context of kids books. I guess I'm too serious or something, because I have a very hard time enjoying kids oriented entertainment, unlike most of my friends and family.
I thought the 'somebody dies' phenomenon was a big let down. Everybody knew that was part of this book, and it seems to me that JK Rowling did it on purpose. In retrospect, it was actually a brilliant marketing idea. I believe she sold a lot more books than she would have, because of that bit of information she 'leaked'.
But the thing I didn't like was that she seemed to gear her writing towards this 'somebody dies' idea. First it looked like person A was going to die, then person B. In the end it all seemed like reading a murder mystery in reverse. I felt used.
But I also have to realize that the Brittish love a good murder mystery, and yes even the kind where you are trying to find out who's going to be killed. So it probably fit in just perfectly with their culture. But it really ruffled my feathers, to the point that I might not read the last two books.