Not your father’s database: Getting Started with CouchDB & with Fluidinfo – #bookreview #in #programming

These two books reflect some of the wide-ranging changes that the Internet and mobile devices are bringing to the ways databases are structured, accessed, updated, stored and maintained.

Getting Started with CouchDB
By MC Brown
(O’Reilly,
paperback, list price $24.99; Kindle edition, list price $14.99)

“Databases are no longer isolated, single systems,” writes MC Brown. “Whether you want a database that can be shared among multiple devices (your desktop, laptop, and mobile phone), between multiple offices, or to be used as part of your database scaling operations, copying and sharing database information has become required functionality.”

He adds: “Different databases have traditionally approached this in a variety of different ways, including binary logs, data streams, row-based logging, and more complex hashing techniques. Within CouchDB, a simple but very effective method has been developed that uses the individual documents as the key to the method of sharing and distributing the document information between databases.”

Apache CouchDB is a free download for Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows. According to the website, “Apache CouchDB™ is a database that uses JSON for documents, JavaScript for MapReduce queries, and regular HTTP for an API.”

Brown also describes how to install CouchDB from source code, with careful emphasis on “(if you must).”

For the number of pages (84), the list prices for Brown’s book seem a bit high. But if you want to learn how to work with CouchDB, information to get you started is conveniently at hand, in the book or e-book. For example, Brown shows how to create databases and delete databases and how to create, update and delete documents in the databases.

“All of your interactions with CouchDB will be through HTTP,” he notes. His book provides some “key details” for several HTTP operations “such as HEAD and DELETE that are useful when talking to CouchDB.”

MC Brown has written or contributed to more than 26 books dealing with programming, systems management, web technologies and other subjects. He is vice president of documentation for Couchbase.

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 Getting Started with Fluidinfo
By Nicholas J. Radcliffe and Nicholas H. Tollervey
(O’Reilly,
paperback, list price $24.99; Kindle edition, list price $11.99)

“Fluidinfo is an online storage system in which there is a place for information about everything—everything that exists, everything that could exist, and everything that can be imagined,” this book’s two authors state. “It allows anyone to store any information, about anything, in any digital form. And Fluidinfo is social: users can exercise fine control over who can read their data and can even enable other chosen users and applications to write data on their behalf.”

Another way to describe Fluidinfo is as an “openly writeable shared datastore.”

Like CouchDB, Fluidinfo exposes “all its functionality through HTTP, the core protocol that underpins the World Wide Web. Programmers can take advantage of its RESTful API, which makes it easy to integrate with other applications.”

To try out Fluidinfo and get an account, go to fluidinfo.com. The site offers the option to sign in via Twitter.

This well-written, 119-page book is offered as a “practical guide to several ways to access and use Fluidinfo” and is organized into nine chapters:

  • Chapter 1: What Is Fluidinfo?
  • Chapter 2: Fluidinfo from the Command Line
  • Chapter 3: Social Data
  • Chapter 4: Programming with Fluidinfo
  • Chapter 5: Programming with FOM (the Fluid Object Mapper)
  • Chapter 6: Programming Fluidinfo with JavaScript
  • Chapter 7: Fluidinfo’s RESTful API
  • Chapter 8: Advanced Use of the Fluidinfo Shell
  • Chapter 9: Conventions for the About Tag

There is also an appendix titled “Fluidinfo Query Language Reference.”

One of the book’s authors, Nicholas Radcliffe, has connections to Fluidinfo that date back to the 1980s and “has been a friend and advisor to the Fluidinfo company since its inception.” Meanwhile, Nicholas Tollervey is a software developer at Fluidinfo and has nearly 30 years’ experience in programming.

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Si Dunn is a novelist, screenwriter, freelance book reviewer, and former software technical writer and software/hardware QA test specialist. He also is a former newspaper and magazine photojournalist. His latest book is Dark Signals, a Vietnam War memoir available now in paperback. He is the author of a detective novel, Erwin’s Law, a novella, Jump, and several other books and short stories.

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