<pre>Author/s : Greg Wilson Publisher : Pragmatic Bookshelf Category :Other Review by : Jason Menard Rating : 9 horseshoes</pre> There exists a set of tasks common to every software developer independent of the type of application developed and the language used. Concisely presenting these tasks to the new developer has always been a problem without burying the hapless soul under a pile of thick texts. The Pragmatic Bookshelf attempts to remedy this situation by giving the developer the knowledge they need to get the job done in a concise and, well, pragmatic format. One of the latest offerings in this outstanding series is "Data Crunching: Solving Everyday Problems Using Java, Python, and More" by Greg Wilson.
The core of programming comes down to data manipulation. This may be parsing XML, reformatting text data, searching a database, or any other number of a host of tasks. Typically, figuring out how to do each of these would require digesting several books in order to just get to the nuts and bolts of simple operations. "Data Crunching" fills this hole by concisely presenting the minimum amount of information required to get the job done. Just the information you need to know to get rolling, without all the fluff.
There are chapters on manipulating text files, XML documents, binary data, and relational databases. Included is a nice chapter on regular expressions, as well as a chapter on various "glue" topics relevant to solving data manipulation problems. Each chapter examines the tools and methods used to successfully manipulate the format of data being discussed. The examples used, and the book is chock full of them, are practical and relevant to the problems most often faced by developers. The examples are clearly illustrated and easy to follow.
Wilson does a fine job of presenting things in the "pragmatic" style that readers familiar with other books in the series have come to know. Each chapter stands well on its own, so the book may be used as a reference, although it's concise and a pleasant enough read that it's also worth reading through once. Great for the new developer who hasn't yet gotten his feet wet with data manipulation, yet also a nice reference for those who have been around the block a bit more, "Data Crunching" makes a fine addition to the Pragmatic series and is definitely worth having on the bookshelf.