Author: Eric Griffin
Publisher: APress, 2008
Aimed at: Those trying to avoid writing code
Pros: Demystifies Popfly and reveals its shortcomings
Cons: Fundamental flaw – requires programming!
Reviewed by: Mike James
Popfly is causing a stir as a way of doing way with us developers. The theory has it that without any knowledge at all you can create “mashups”. That is you can pull information in from different websites and combine things in new and amazing ways that will bring you fame and fortune. Popfly has won awards and this book promises to let you join in its success without the need to know anything about programming. However a quick look inside reveals that, while this represents a valiant effort to avoid programming for a lot of pages, sooner or later you have to get your hands dirty and produce some code. I pity the poor innocent that starts to read the book in the belief that they need no knowledge of programming to achieve great things only to discover later on that in fact they do. If you want a quick overview of what Popfly is all about then you might find this book handly. But if I tell you that it’s just another graphical object-oriented approach to creating systems then you might well realise that you have seen this stuff before. It’s good as far as it goes but so far it hasn’t gone further! There is also the doubt that inevitably arises as you read that perhaps the environment is so constrained that the few good “mashup” ideas have already been invented and Popfly has been specifically designed to make them easy to create. Of course I might be wrong and there’s a great idea just waiting for a non-programming reader of this book to think up and then fail to implement.
<Reviewed in VSJ>