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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Java(TM) Programming Language (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Arnold, James Gosling, David Holmes
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Concise but complete Java Language Model

I have worked with Java for two years, and have a six-year background in C++. I didn't seek an introduction to Java when I bought The Java Programming Language Third Edition, and I would use many of my own notes, and the book chapters in a different order, with beginning programmers (although it would make an excellent university programming text, supported with tutorials and workshops). Experienced programmers will love this book, but beginners (first-time programmers) should come back to it. But the book's strength is its concise, comprehensive unfolding of insight into the Java language model -- more than just the object model. Serious programmers will not regret reviewing everything they thought they knew about Java (especially those of us who regularly work in C++ and Object Pascal as well as in Java). I will read this book every six months, and dip into it daily, if necessary. It offers me a nice blend of terse explanation and illustrative examples of the language core. This is clearly one of the few "5 star" Java core language books available: good scope, well written, trustworthy -- expert knowledge at my fingertips. Use this book to polish your insight.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCAD/MCSD Self-Paced Training Kit: Developing Windows-Based Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic.NET and Microsoft Visual C#.NET, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Matthew A. Stoecker
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Inadequate Resource

Overall, the book is fairly complete in its list of topics covered, and the labs do help some to tie together the concepts. However, they tend to fall short of driving the point home and in too many cases the reader is left to his own experimentation. It is written acceptably well, though sparsely in many cases, but requires more rereading than other books on similar topics. Having read Kalani's 70-315 book (for "Web.NET"), I'd suggest looking more closely at his 70-316 book.
This book gives a lot of information in a fairly condensed form. Sometimes, this is done in a fashion where you didn't realize a topic had been covered. The book seems to focus more on passing the test than going to the next level of trying to make sure you understand what is happening. I found myself rereading a lot, but to the book's credit, the reread did generally have some of the information that had not seemed readily apparent until reading through further parts.
If you are new to Windows development, read something else first. Presentation controls (textboxes, grids, etc.) are touched on briefly, but for the most part the book assumes some familiarity with visual designers, managing properties, available controls and their purpose. For example, the book states in chapter 2, "Because an in-depth discussion of the different controls and their functionality is beyond the scope of this book, you should familiarize yourself with the controls in the Toolbox and how they work." Most controls are never described, though many common ones do show up in examples eventually. The "beyond the scope of this book" disclaimer is also given in regards to using XmlDataDocuments (the class, not just the general concept of XML).
Personally, if it's a core piece of Windows Development and/or an objective of the test, I don't see how it can be outside the scope of the book.
The examples sometimes lack "connectivity". For example, its description of configuring trace switches might be a bit more readable to list the entire chunk of XML, e.g., <?xml version="1.0" encoding = "utf-8"><configuration> <system.diagnostics> <switches> <add name="myBoolenSwitch" value="0" /> <!-- following sets the myTraceSwitch to a value of TraceLevel.Info --> <add name="myTraceSwitch" value="3" /> </switches> </system.diagnostics></configuration>
rather than...<?xml version="1.0" encoding = "utf-8"><configuration></configuration>
followed by descriptive text then
<system.diagnostics> <switches> <add name="myBoolenSwitch" value="0" /> <!-- following sets the myTraceSwitch to a value of TraceLevel.Info --> <add name="myTraceSwitch" value="3" /> </switches></system.diagnostics>
In many places information given is minimal. Exception handling, correctly, indicates that custom exceptions should inherit from the System.ApplicationException but makes no reference to why this should be used in lieu of System.SystemException.
Some topics seem to be written specifically for those people already familiar with the subject at hand--presumably not the target market. The relationship between XmlDataDocuments and Datasets at the end of chapter six is a good example of this.
Many of these things are small and possibly preferable for solely trying to pass the exam, but at the end of a chapter, it's a bit difficult to know whether or not you've really picked up what you should have.
Expanding the minimal code snippets into exercises throughout the chapters rather than tying the entire thing together in one or two "labs" at the end might also help to better reinforce the information.
At a rough guess, about 15% of the material on the test was not discussed in the book or was glossed over to the point that the topic did not seem familiar to me. There were a number of times that I wound up reviewing notes from the 70-315 exam book or searching the help file for information that should've been there. Another 100 or so pages and dropping out the attempt to cover VB and C# in the same text would go a long way toward making this book better.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Testing Object-Oriented Systems: Models, Patterns, and Tools (The Addison-Wesley Object Technology Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Robert V. Binder
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Quantity not Quality

I have several books on software testing, but none of them provides the comprehensive, in-depth coverage of testing that this book provides. No software developer or test engineer working with OO techniques should be about it!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Visual C# .NET
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Jason Price, Mike Gunderloy
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The other reviewers hit the nail on the head

This is the best on C# I've also read. I already knew Java and C++, and found this book very easy to understand. I also liked this book because it not only covers the C# language extremely well, but it also covers advanced C# and .NET programming very well.
I particularly liked the coverage of ASP.NET, ADO.NET, and security.
This book is much better than the O'Reilly and Wrox C# books.