Beautiful Data – April’s Packt Publishing Competition

9 Apr

If you want to have a chance of winning one of this months books then please sign up on the Meetup page.  

At the end of April the lucky winner will get a physical copy with an ebook for the runner up.

Data is the New Soil

Nightingale’s Rose

It has been said that “Data is the New Oil.”  In his excellent Ted Talk David McCandless tells us that “Data is the New Soil“:

It feels like we’re all suffering from information overload, or data glut. And the good news is there might be an easy solution to that, and that’s using our eyes more. So visualizing information, so that we can see the patterns and connections that matter, and then designing that information so it makes more sense, or it tells a story, or allows us to focus only on the information that’s important…. Visualizing information like this is a form of knowledge compression. It’s a way of squeezing an enormous amount of information and understanding into a small space.

There’s a lot of value in creating something that takes the information overload and transform it into a form that makes the story it tells clear.

An inspiring example of this was Florence Nightingale’s Rose Diagram, pictured above.  The lady was able to analyse and present data.  The lady of the lamp’s use of data visualisation saved countless lives:

After the war, Nightingale wrote a passionate report on why the soldiers had died in such large numbers and it revealed the astonishing fact that out of 18,000 deaths, 16,000 had been due to infectious diseases in hospital rather than battle wounds. The report included her revolutionary and controversial ‘Rose Diagram’, whose message was potent and direct – hospitals can kill. The diagram was designed to persuade the British government that, if sanitation in hospitals was improved, many deaths could be avoided. Nightingale’s pioneering diagram was a catalyst in the creation of better and cleaner hospitals that would go on to save thousands of lives.

How can we as developers use data visualisation to make a difference?  This month we shall look at books that show us how to design, display, store, access and secure data.  With these tools in hand you are ready to inspire with the beauty of data.

If you want to have a chance of winning one of this months books then please sign up on the Meetup page.  At the end of April the lucky winner will get a physical copy with an ebook for the runner up.

Visualising Data

Data Visualization: a successful design process

Andy Kirk is the author of the Visualising Data blog.  There you will find him talking about powerful visualisations like this:

Iraq’s bloody toll

His book offers a handy strategy guide to help you approach your data visualization work with greater know-how and increased confidence. It is a practical book structured around a proven methodology that will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and resources required to make sense of data, to find stories, and to tell stories from your data.

HTML5 Graphing and Data Visualization Cookbook

We are developers not graphic artists, so when it comes to telling the story from our data we won’t be reaching for our pencils.  Instead we will look to the graphs and charts provided by our user interface framework.  The widest possible audience is available using the standard components provided by HTML5.

Ben Fhala has developed applications for governments and companies and directed many award-winning projects,  He was worked on teams that have won three Agency of the Year awards.  In this cookbook he shares recipes for bringing static data to life.

Data Highs

Data visualisation applications are hungry for fast fast and reliable storage.  Here are two possible approaches: with and without sql.

High Availability MySQL Cookbook

Alex Davies covers all the major techniques available for achieving high availability for MySQL, including clustering, replication, shared storage and block level replicaiton.

Cassandra High Performance Cookbook 

Traffic Monitoring benefits from data visualisation

Edward Capriolo‘s recipes include how to access data stored in Cassandra and use third party tools to help you out. He also describes how to maintain high levels of performance through monitoring and capacity planning.

Data through the Middle

You have data in your repository feeding graphics in your user interface.  Sitting in-between is the middleware that makes the data available to the clients that need it while keeping out those who shouldn’t see it.  Here are two books that show how Spring can make working with that middleware easier.

Spring Data

Spring Data

Petri Kainulainen‘s book shows how JPA repositories can be implemented with less code. Sample project demonstrate the concepts in action.

Spring Security

User Management

Robert Winch and Peter Mularien use a simple Spring Web MVC-based application to illustrate how to solve real-world problems.

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