Coding for Librarians

Coding for Librarians – Learning by Example By Yelton, Andromeda Book – 2015

What a strange book. Very thin, large format. It will be useful to Librarians who have not done much computer programming, and leads you through a few simple programming projects which could be useful in a library. Armed with this knowledge, and now having some programming skills, you are ready to attack larger challenges. There are many open source projects out there, take your pick!

The big problem with this book is that it does not list the code it is discussing. Its line-level comments “Lines 68-78 remove outdated files from ..” are not meaningful unless you are at your PC with the code on your screen. Worse, the Github project could have changed since the book was printed, so you would have to look back in old versions of the code. But the companion web site helps a bit with that (

Here are projects discussed in the book:


  • Libraries Data processing.
  • Electronic data processing.
  • Libraries Automation.
  • Computer programming Study and teaching.
  • Scripting languages (Computer science) Programming languages
  • (Electronic computers) Microcomputers Programming.
  • Open source software Library applications.

Better Programmer

Becoming a Better Programmer, Pete Goodliffe

New programmers will benefit from reading this book, and applying its recommended development practices. It is important enough that I will claim that your career will taken to a new level. My experience working with many programmers is that at least half of them needed to adopt the practices covered by this book (not you of course!).

Experienced programmers will get a queasy feeling, knowing they have cut some corners to get code delivered a day or so earlier, and that it will come back to bite them soon.

This is not an Extreme Programming (XP) book, though the author seems in favour of XP. It is more about how to program, design, and test well. I particularly liked the explanation of Technical Debt, which other books and blogs mention without explaining.

Read the e-book on the bus to work!

Google App Engine

Programming Google App Engine, Dan Sanderson, O’Reilly, 2012

Programmers will like this book. If you want a scalable web app written in Java or Python then the Google app hosting platform is for you. This book explains the architecture and shows how to program to the API. Your app will be responding to requests and generating responses as normal. The big difference is the DB API, because the DB is not relational and does not use SQL. 500 pages.

Maya Python

Maya Python for Games and Film A Complete Reference for the Maya Python and the Maya Python API, Adam Mechtley, – 2012

If you are using Autodesk’s Maya then you will want to read this book. You do not need to know Python in advance, because this book covers the basics. Hardcover, 350 pages.