Category: Book Review

Applied Cryptography in .NET and Azure Key Vault from Apress Now Available.

After a year of writing, reviewing and editing, I am pleased to announce that my first book for a traditional publisher, Applied Cryptography in .NET and Azure Key Vault has now been released. It has been an exciting journey writing for APress, and the experience was excellent. You sometimes hear bad stories of working with traditional publishers, but I am glad to say this wasn’t the case for me.

Applied Cryptography in .NET and Azure KeyVault

The journey for me started at NDC Oslo in 2017 where I was introduced an acquisition editor for APress. We got talking, and I suggested an idea for a book which I then formally pitched. After the pitch was accepted, I then signed the contract and agreed on a schedule for the first three chapters. To get a good start on the book, I decided to take a little writing holiday to Whitby where I could lock myself away near beautiful surroundings and make a start on drafting the first three chapters. I have always liked the idea of going on a short holiday to write, so this was helping to realize a small dream. I locked myself away for four days and managed to write the first draft for these chapters, and I was then joined by my wife and kids to spend a long weekend in Whitby. I submitted the three chapters to APress and waiting for them to be approved. Thankfully they were, and we agreed on a schedule to write the rest of the book.

I spent the majority of 2018 drafting the rest of the book and finished the first draft towards the end of October. If I was to work on the book full time, I really could have written it in two to three months, but because I have no idea how well the book will sell, or how much I can make from it, I decided to spread the work out while continuing to write courses for Pluralsight.

Once the first draft had been completed, the book was peer-reviewed; which involved an independent developer reading the book and checking it was accurate, made sense and the examples work. As each chapter was reviewed, I had to address any comments or concerns. I thought this part of the process would be difficult, but luckily I didn’t have to change much. Once peer review had finished the book went to be copy edited. At this point, I asked my friend Troy Hunt to write the foreward where he discusses data breaches. The book was officially finished at the end of January where it was then typeset and sent for printing.

Although I have self-published a lot of books, it has always been a dream to write a book for a traditional publisher, and now that dream has been realized. I have been asked several times if I will write another book like this. At the moment, I am not sure. I enjoyed the process, but I need to see how this book performs first. If it does well, then hopefully I can extend the book into a second edition. As for a new book, I have a few ideas, but I will wait until later in the year to decide.

The book is available from most online book retailers as well as traditional bookshops.

Apress.com

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Nobel

Waterstones

Foyles

Get Coding – A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding

A fellow usergroup speaker and UK developer, David Whitney,  as recently written a book called Get Coding, which aims to get young kids of around 10 years old to start learning programming, and more specifically web development with HTML 5, CSS, and Javascript. The book teaches these by developing small websites and games.

Get Coding - A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding
Get Coding – A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding

The quality of the book is exceptional and it is all taught in a bright, colorful and engaging style which I think works really well. I am currently working my way through the book and I hope that when my daughter is a little older she can also start to learn from this book and others like it.

The book progresses at a sensible rate that I think kids will be able to easily digest and you end up with fully working software. Naturally a book this size won’t teach you everything about HTML, CSS and Javascript, but it serves as a fantastic introduction to each of these and because of the fun, colorful and engaging style it should encourage kids to hack around with what they have built and hopefully learn a lot more.

The programming world these days seems to mostly lean towards the web, so the choice of technologies in this book is sensible and should hopefully help to create our future software development workforce. Learning at a young age from resources like this or even mature resources like Pluralsight and Lynda is much more valuable than formal school education as it is more fun (in my opinion) and encourages kids to experiment instead of fitting into a rigid curriculum.

Go and get a copy of this book for your kids, or buy it for friends who have kids and help to inspire them, it really is not an expensive book which really helps lower the barrier to entry.

The book is available from most book shops and Amazon UK and Amazon US

Integrating Continuous Delivery into a Large Organisation

I recently started working for a new company as a Development Manager, and one of the things I am looking to introduce with my new team is a Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipeline to make us more efficient at delivering reliable releases, frequently into production. Whilst I was looking for some useful resources for the team I came across an excellent video by Jez Humble that discusses not only Continuous Delivery, but the challenges faced in introducing this into large organisations with mature waterfall style change control processes.

This video is an excellent introduction to the topic and if you are also considering introducing a similar process into your organisation, then I highly recommend watching the video. The technology side of introducing Continuous Delivery is quite straight forward. There are many tools, patterns and practices available to help you with this no matter what you development environment it. My teams environment happens to be .NET using TFS, but this is all just as relevant even if you work in other environments like Python, Ruby, Java etc.

Book Review : Brute Force – Cracking the Data Encryption Standard

The Data Encryption Standard (DES) was a standard encryption system used for many years, but it had a flaw, the key strength was only 56bits. This books is about a group of people that started an experiment to try and crack the algorithm by a brute force search of the DES Key-space.

Amazon.com Paperback Kindle

Amazon.co.uk Paperback | Kindle

Brute Force: Cracking the Data Encryption Standard
Brute Force: Cracking the Data Encryption Standard

The book description is as follows :

“In 1996, the supposedly uncrackable US federal encryption system was broken. In this captivating and intriguing book, Matt Curtin charts the rise and fall of DES and chronicles the efforts of those who were determined to master it.

That description sums up the book perfectly. This book is very interesting if you have an interest in cryptography, a bit of computing history, the change in the American encryption laws and grid computing by using available spare resources on peoples machines connected to the internet.

The book is very well written. This subjected could have been presented in such a dry way, but the author has really captured the subject well and it is an engaging read.

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Book Review : Everyday Cryptography – Fundamental Principles and Applications

Cryptography is a subject that I personally find fascinating. It really is one of the mathematical branches of computer science that really does seem to have a sense of magic to it. But this “magic” normally comes at a price, and that is the need for some really heavy duty mathematics. This normally puts people off, including myself as I am no math genius.

Amazon.com Paperback | Kindle

Amazon.co.uk Paperback | Kindle

Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applications by Keith M. Martin
Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applications by Keith M. Martin

Lots of cryptography books are very heavy on the math and theoretical aspects of encryption, like Applied Cryptography by Bruce Schneier, which is great if you want to delve that deep, but most people including software developers just need to understand at a higher level how the algorithms work and how best to apply them in real life. That is where this book, Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applications by Keith M. Martin, comes in. The book is structured as follows :

Book Review : The Architecture of Open Source Applcations

I am a bit of a book worm, especially with technical books. I love nothing more than to extend my knowledge on my craft. I wanted to let you know about a book that I have been reading recently that is absolutely fascinating. The book is called, the Architecture of Open Source Applications.

The idea behind the book is simple. If you were an architect constructing buildings, you wouldn’t do so without studying how other buildings are constructed. The premise is the same for software. As a software developer / solutions architect, how can you design applications without first studying how other applications are designed and built? That is exactly what this book does.  This book covers 25 open source applications and discusses how they were built and designed.

Amazon.com Paperback | Kindle

Amazon.co.uk Paperback | Kindle

Architecture of Open Source Applications
Architecture of Open Source Applications

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