Edd Dumbill

Edd Dumbill

Technologist and entrepreneur

Santa Rosa, California

Areas of Expertise:

  • Big data
  • data science
  • Google+
  • cloud
  • open standards
  • open source
  • Rails
  • Clojure
  • ClojureScript
  • Dart
  • web
  • consulting
  • speaking
  • programming
  • training
  • writing

Edd Dumbill is a technologist, writer and programmer based in California. He is the program chair for the O'Reilly Strata and Open Source Convention Conferences.

He was the founder and creator of the Expectnation conference management system, and a co-founder of the Pharmalicensing.com online intellectual property exchange.

A veteran of open source, Edd has contributed to various projects, such as Debian and GNOME, and created the DOAP Vocabulary for describing software projects.

Edd has written four books, including O'Reilly's "Learning Rails". He writes regularly on Google+ and on his blog at eddology.com.

Learning Rails 3 Learning Rails 3
by Simon St. Laurent, Edd Dumbill, Eric J. Gruber
July 2012
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $29.99

Planning for Big Data Planning for Big Data
by Edd Dumbill
March 2012
Ebook: $0.00

Learning Rails: Live Edition Learning Rails: Live Edition
by Edd Dumbill, Simon St. Laurent
July 2010

Learning Rails Learning Rails
by Simon St. Laurent, Edd Dumbill
November 2008

Mono: A Developer's Notebook Mono: A Developer's Notebook
by Edd Dumbill, Niel Bornstein
July 2004
Print: $24.95

Linux Unwired Linux Unwired
by Roger Weeks, Edd Dumbill, Brian Jepson
April 2004
Print: $24.95

Programming Web Services with XML-RPC Programming Web Services with XML-RPC
by Simon St. Laurent, Joe Johnston, Edd Dumbill
June 2001
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $27.99

Strata Conference 2011: Complete Video Compilation Strata Conference 2011: Complete Video Compilation
by Edd Dumbill
February 2011
Video: $799.99

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Edd blogs at:

Big data, cool kids

May 13 2013

The big data world is a confusing place. We’re no longer in a market dominated mostly by relational databases, and the alternatives have multiplied in a baby boom of diversity. These child prodigies of the data scene show great promise … read more

Let’s do this the hard way

March 27 2013

Recent discoveries of security vulnerabilities in Rails and MongoDB led me to thinking about how people get to write software. In engineering, you don’t get to build a structure people can walk into without years of study. In software, we … read more

Aaron was one of us

January 25 2013

I sat last night at Aaron Swartz’s memorial in San Francisco, among the very people who built the Internet, the web, the culture of young entrepreneurialism and Web 2.0 startups. Among the pioneers of Creative Commons, Electronic Frontier Foundation, open … read more

The future of programming

January 11 2013

Programming is changing. The PC era is coming to an end, and software developers now work with an explosion of devices, job functions, and problems that need different approaches from the single machine era. In our age of exploding data, the ability to … read more

Saving publishing, one tweet at a time

December 31 2012

Traffic comes to online publishers in two ways: search, and social. Because of this, writing for the tweet is a new discipline every writer and editor must learn. You’re not ready to publish until you find the well crafted headline … read more

True data liberation with IFTTTT and Google Drive

September 04 2012

The web service IFTTT (If this, then that) accesses popular web applications via their APIs, and lets users create new actions based on changes. For instance, actions such as “upload photos to Flickr when I add them to my Dropbox … read more

Why big data is big: the digital nervous system

August 29 2012

Where does all the data in “big data” come from? And why isn’t big data just a concern for companies such as Facebook and Google? The answer is that the web companies are the forerunners. Driven by social, mobile, and … read more

Building conference programs: it’s about the attendee

August 24 2012

I’ve chaired computer industry conferences for ten years now. First for IDEAlliance (XML Europe, XTech), and recently with O’Reilly Media (OSCON, Strata). Over the years I have tried to balance three factors as I select talks: proposal quality, important new … read more

Now available: "Planning for Big Data"

March 14 2012

"Planning for Big Data" is a new book that helps you understand what big data is, why it matters, and where to get started. read more

Data markets survey

March 07 2012

Strata chair Edd Dumbill provides an overview of the most mature data markets (Infochimps, Factual, Windows Azure Data Marketplace, DataMarket), and contrasts their different approaches and facilities. read more

Big data in the cloud

February 22 2012

Big data and cloud technology go hand-in-hand: but it's comparatively early days. Strata conference chair Edd Dumbill explains the cloud landscape and compares the offerings of Amazon, Google and Microsoft. read more

What is Apache Hadoop?

February 02 2012

Apache Hadoop has been the driving force behind the growth of the big data industry. But what does it do, and why do you need all its strangely-named friends, such as Oozie, Zookeeper and Flume? read more

Microsoft's plan for Hadoop and big data

January 25 2012

Strata conference chair Edd Dumbill takes a look at Microsoft's plans for big data. By embracing Hadoop, the company aims to keep Windows and Azure as a standards-friendly option for data developers. read more

Big data market survey: Hadoop solutions

January 19 2012

In this survey, Edd Dumbill explores the Hadoop-based big data solutions available on the market, contrasts the approaches of EMC Greenplum, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle and provides an overview of Hadoop distributions. read more

What is big data?

January 11 2012

It's the hot trend in software right now, but what does big data mean, and how can you exploit it? Strata chair Edd Dumbill presents an introduction and orientation to the big data landscape. read more

Oracle's Big Data Appliance: what it means

October 03 2011

Today, Oracle announced their Big Data Appliance. It couldn't be a plainer validation of what's important in big data right now, or where the battle for technology dominance lies. read more

Google+ is the social backbone

July 19 2011

Google+ is the rapidly growing seed of a web-wide social backbone, and the catalyst for the ultimate uniting of the social graph. read more

Seven Java projects that changed the world

July 07 2011

Reaching beyond mere adoption, these seven projects have had a profound effect on the Java world, software development in general, and even our daily lives. read more

A rough guide to JVM languages

July 07 2011

This overview of JVM-based programming compares the relative strengths of the major languages. read more

Seven reasons you should use Java again

July 07 2011

Sixteen years on, this ain't your father's Java. Here's seven reasons why Java is worth your time. read more

Big data and the semantic web

June 14 2011

The big data and semantic web worlds seem to be disjunct. Yet big data is poised to light the fire beneath the long-held dreams of the semantic web, and the semantic web will enable data scientists to describe, organize and reason about their results. read more

Data is a currency

February 23 2011

If I talk about data marketplaces, you probably think of large resellers like Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters. Or startups like InfoChimps. What you probably don't think of is that you yourself trade in data. read more

Data startups: we want you

January 19 2011

Strata's startup showcase is a great opportunity for data-oriented startups to get exposure, feedback and the chance to pitch on the main stage. But hurry because entries close this Friday (Jan. 21). read more

Strata Gems: Three key data trends for 2011

December 25 2010

To conclude our Strata Gems series, we take a look at the important drivers for the data world in 2011: data markets, real-time data processing, and developers. read more

Strata Gems: CouchDB in the browser

December 24 2010

The JSCouch project is a partial implementation of CouchDB in the browser, letting you experience CouchDB's storage and MapReduce queries without installing any software. read more

Strata Gems: Whirr makes Hadoop and Cassandra a snap

December 22 2010

The cloud makes clusters easy, but for rapid prototyping purposes, bringing up clusters still involves quite a bit of effort. The Whirr project makes cloud control simple. read more

Strata Gems: DIY personal sensing and automation

December 21 2010

Tomorrow's augmented reality is being built today on mobile devices. The Tasker app for Android puts the power of the phone's sensors and network into the hands of non-programmers. read more

Strata Gems: Turn MySQL into blazing fast NoSQL

December 20 2010

The HandlerSocket plugin for MySQL bypasses the query parser to deliver excellent NoSQL performance, rivaling that of memcache. read more

Strata gems: What your inbox knows

December 19 2010

One of the richest sources of data exhaust, email logs contain valuable information. When added to data from a traditional CRM, email analytics can provide a much fuller picture of your company's relationships and activity. read more

Strata Gems: A sense of self

December 18 2010

Small data matters as much as big, and none more than data about ourselves. Fitness and health tracking is going wireless and personal. read more

Strata Gems: Clojure is a language for data

December 17 2010

Built for expressiveness and concurrency, Clojure is a natural fit for data work. It boasts excellent API support and strong support for use in the cloud. read more

Strata Gems: Who needs disks anyway?

December 16 2010

Today's databases are designed for the spinning platter of the hard disk. As SSDs begin to enter data centers, it's time for a database that takes advantage of the new technology. read more

Strata Gems: Kinect democratizes augmented reality

December 15 2010

Developers can now hack up augmented reality solutions with commonplace gaming consoles, accelerating innovation in virtual extensions to our daily lives. read more

Strata Gems: Manage clusters with Mesos

December 14 2010

As big data systems evolve rapidly, the Mesos project aims to solve architectural and management headaches. One to watch for 2011. read more

Strata Gems: Use GPUs to speed up calculation

December 13 2010

The attributes that make GPUs optimized for graphics can also be used for general computing. Over the last 3 years, GPU computing has moved to the mainstream. read more

Strata Gems: The emerging marketplace for social data

December 12 2010

If you want to analyze social media data in significant volumes, it can be inconvenient and costly to aggregate it yourself. Providers like Gnip are growing a market in social data. read more

Strata Gems: Let it snow

December 11 2010

Snow in the UK is generally a source of delight. A simple idea to use Twitter as a way of gathering snow reports from around the country has proved remarkably popular. read more

Strata Gems: Usahidi enables crowdsourced journalism and intelligence

December 10 2010

Built for emergencies, Usahidi's mapping and social media monitoring tools also have commercial applications. Though open source, the tools are also available as for-pay hosted services. read more

Strata Gems: Make beautiful graphs of your Twitter network

December 09 2010

Using a bit of Python and the Gephi graph tool, exploring your own Twitter network is a great way to learn about analyzing networks: and the results definitely have a "wow" factor. read more

Strata Gems: Explore and visualize graphs with Gephi

December 08 2010

A Photoshop for data, Gephi is a powerful tool for exploring and presenting data as a graph. It's easy to get started with sample data sets, then import your own by generating files in a standard graph format. read more

Strata Gems: Five data blogs you should read

December 07 2010

From deep-diving startup founders to national newspapers, there's a rich vein of wisdom and information in blogs about data. Here's five to get your reading list started. read more

Strata Gems: The timeless utility of sed and awk

December 06 2010

Though over 30 years old, the command line utilties sed and awk are still go-to tools for working with data. read more

Strata Gems: Where to find data

December 05 2010

With the growth of both the open data movement and data marketplaces, there's now a wealth of public data that you can use in your analyses and applications. read more

Strata Gems: Quick starts for charts

December 04 2010

You know bar and pie charts can be ineffective, but where do you turn next? Here are some great starting points to make a start with more interesting and effective charts. read more

Strata Gems: Write your own visualizations

December 03 2010

Visualization is a powerful way to turn data into a story. But if you're not a "graphics person", where do you start? read more

Strata Gems: Use Wikipedia as training data

December 02 2010

Wikipedia is an essential tool in the data scientist's armory. Today's Strata Gem shows how it can be used to help computers distinguish between different sense of common words. read more

Strata Gems: Try MongoDB without installing anything

December 01 2010

Want to dip your toes into the world of NoSQL databases? In the first of our Strata Gems series, find out how explore MongoDB through your web browser. read more

Strata Week: Life, by the numbers

November 11 2010

This issue of Strata Week follows the path of data through cities, streets and border conflicts. We conclude our journey with a little brain work, as a programming challenge is announced to automatically identify topics and trends in Twitter and Facebook updates. read more

Strata Week: Building data startups

October 28 2010

In this week's look at the world of data, learn how to build a money-making data startup, register for Strata 2011, and hear of new developments in the mining of offline social networks. read more

Strata Week: Army anomalies

October 15 2010

In this edition of Strata Week: the Army turns to big data to sniff out internal threats; CouchDB helps with collaborative video editing; Riak adds full-text searching; and a look at notable Hadoop World announcements. read more

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Webcast: OSCON 2011: Take-aways, Trends, and Highlights
August 11, 2011
In this event wrap-up, OSCON co-chairs Edd Dumbill, Sarah Novotny, and Laurel Ruma will identify and discuss the trends and announcements that emerged from the event and how these will impact the tech world in the year to come.

Webcast: People, Data and Dollars — A Preview of Strata NYC
August 31, 2011
In this special online event, you'll get an inside look at some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the fields of business, data, and disruption.

Webcast: Get the (Data) Vote Out
June 20, 2012
In this Strata Online Event, we'll look at the way data science is shaping elections, from visualizations to game theory, from understanding issues to targeting voters.

"For a beginner to Rails this is a good asset."
--Srinivasan Margabandhu

"Overall, I recommend this book to the type of reader described above. As the authors state in their preface, you will not be a Rails guru after reading it; but you be a lot closer towards it than you were before this book was read."
--Jason Armstrong, JasonArmstrong.com

"The exercises and review questions in each chapter are interesting, instructive, and thought-provoking."
--Michael Kleper, The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing, Vol. 17 No. 4/5, July/October 2012

"Learning Rails 3 is an excellent guide for Ruby on Rails newcomers. And those already working with Rails can learn from it, too."
--Si Dunn, Sagecreek Productions

"So overall this book did absolutely give me that quick introduction to what Rails is all about. "
--Mike Smith, The UK's Unix and Open Systems User Group (UKUUG)

" "
--David Fisher, What is Noise Blog

"Most Ruby on Rails books take a software developer's approach, making them difficult to follow for web designers and developers without a lot of programming background. Learning Rails takes a different approach, starting with building web pages and gradually introducing the full software model. It's gentle, but not dumbed-down. In our screencast course, we've found this to be a highly effective way for people to learn Rails. Even if you're not a software developer by training, this book will open up the power of Rails for you."
--Michael Slater, www.BuildingWebApps.com

"Learning a new web framework (and language) can be difficult, but Simon and Edd take it one step at a time and explain everything you need to know to get started with Rails."
--Gregg Pollack, RailsEnvy.com

"The discussions are detailed and the text is well illustrated with code and script examples. As far as I am aware this is the most detailed account of wireless-for-Linux in print. Apart from the tutorial style 'how-to' information it provides understanding of wireless technical issues, and contains information about sources for both hardware and software."
--Major Keary, Linux Users of Victoria Inc.