Customer Review

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good info but a sub-par physical production, February 26, 2013
This review is from: Getting Started with Raspberry Pi (Make: Projects) (Paperback)
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Right off the bat: a lot of the graphics are pretty poor and this book has no index. There's still lots of excellent and very useful information, and I will be using this book in my own ongoing experiments with my fleet of Raspberry Pi's as well as recommending this book to advanced users of the Pi. But, the physical production of this publication is a hindrance.

Matt Richardson and Shawn Wallace do an excellent job with the content of the book. They range pretty far with what you can do with the credit card sized computer, the Raspberry Pi, from Unix cron jobs to the Python programming language to the Scratch graphical programming environment to interacting with the web. There are a lot of very good ideas which are explained well. Which is PRECISELY why it needs a decent index (and there is NO index). Looking up how to do something is very clunky when all you have is a table of contents.

The target reading level for the book appears to be for the slightly advanced user, though high level programming skills aren't required (low level programming skills ARE required). If you're a true beginner, or just really new to hobby programming in general, I'd recommend Eben Upton (co-creator of the Pi) and Gareth Halfacree's Raspberry Pi User Guide as a simpler and more accessible work (and it is better produced with very nice photos and a nice index). Heck, you should probably own BOTH this book and the Upton/Halfacree title.

On the quality of the graphics: I personally prefer photographs to sketches, especially when it comes to describing the Raspberry Pi board itself. I'll give a nod to the publishing decision preferring sketches over photos as a way to keep the publishing price down (and this is a VERY inexpensive book). But appendix B's reproduction (screen captures) of the complete Scratch script for the game Astral Trespassers is a disgrace. The Scratch screen captures printed in the body of the book are often (not always) much larger and clearer. Overall, the use of graphics in this book is highly uneven.

The real strength of this book is its coverage of the Python programming language. The specific examples of using Python to write your own Raspberry Pi programs are fascinating and excellent leaping off points for different projects. I personally recommend Chapter 10, Python and the Internet, as a great introduction to using the Python Requests library.

With good graphics and an index, this would get an easy 5 out of 5 stars. But the poor execution in those two cases really brought this book down to 3 stars for me. Still recommended.
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Initial post: Oct 25, 2014 3:51:00 PM PDT
Be sure to let them know before the 2nd edition comes out in a couple weeks. :-)
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