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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 Hands-On Training (Hands on Training (H.O.T))
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Garo Green
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Cutesy and Wordy

I should warn you up front that MX 2004 is the first version of Dreamweaver I've used, and this is the only book on Dreamweaver I've gone through. Veterans of Dreamweaver may have a different perspective on this book.
That said, the book isn't wearing well for me. I have so far worked through Chapter 7, and taken frequent peeks at the chapters to come. At first, I was impressed by the detailed and numerous screen shots, but then I began noticing all kinds of small discrepancies between the text and the screen shots.
Furthermore, I'm using the Mac version of the software. If you only read Chapter 1 in the bookstore, it looks as if Mac and Windows screen shots get about equal time. In point of fact, don't expect to see any Mac screen shots after Chapter 2, and some of the ones that are included are misleading and/or mislabeled. I realize that there must have been great time pressure to get this book out near the release date for the software, but it would have been nice to have a Mac user work through and proofread this book.
Finally, I find the writing style irritating. There are lots of smileys in the text, which make it seem much less professional to me, and the author tries to keep a conversational tone, but it often just seems too cute.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Laura Lemay, Richard Colburn, Robert Kiesling
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
do not buy this book

While I am not personally familiar with David Till, the author of Sams Teach Yourself Perl5 in 21 Days, I've drawn many conclusions about the man, few of them complimentary. I borrowed the book from one of our web designers and decided to teach myself Perl. I have no previous programming experience per se, but I have six years experience working on the networking/maintenance side of computers, and have a decent knowledge of batch writing and OS's.
At first it seemed like a great book. My only original complaint was Till's writing, which is at best clumsy and at worst confusing. Still, I plowed through into the fifth day. There, the programming examples given begin to resemble the writing: clumsy, confusing, and -- what is poison for a coding manual -- illogical. One of his examples takes 100 calculations to generate 10 numbers, and fails to meet his own criteria. This broke my faith in the book, but I continued until I found two other programs given as answers that simply don't work.
That's unacceptable for a programming tutorial. I've switched to O'Reilly's Learning Perl, which is much better written and provides sound code. If you're just a beginner, learning how to program is hard enough without your tutorial working against you. Do not buy this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Web Site Design from Start to Finish
Publisher: How Design Books
Authors: Anne-Marie Concepcion
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Read!

This book provides all the necessary information to help graphic designers make the leap into web design. Ms. Concepcion is definitely a skilled writer and obviously an expert in her field. If you're looking for information that's easy to understand and very informative, this is the book for you! It's a great reference tool and everyone who's thinking of venturing into web design should have a copy.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows with C# (Core Reference)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Charles Petzold
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

Absolutely superb. This book takes you step-by-step through the process of creating GUI applications using raw C# programming alone -- NOT the VIsual Studio GUI tools that let you drag buttons onto forms and so forth. (You can do all the examples with a text editor and the command-line C# compiler.) Petzold's philosophy is not that you should not use these GUI tools, but rather you really should understand "how to do it by hand." I agree.
This book is also quite a good introduction to C#, although not as thorough as others. You'll learn most of the major aspects of the language.
The most exciting news about .NET itself is that building GUI's in C# is just as easy as it is in VB .NET, and both are easier than in VB 6.0 and infinitely easier than in the oldler C++. Components/classes build in any .NET lanugage are usable in any other .NET language just as completely as if they were written in that native, other language. You can freely intermix forms, buttons, and general classes among the .NET language family without losing any functionality.
The other exciting news that .NET completely replaces several gargantuan, overblown, outdated, and incomprehensible technologies (COM, in all its variations, the MS Foundation Classes, etc.). They are gone for good (although .NET pays due respect to accommodating them), all replaced by an infinitely simpler (and considerably better) .NET technology. I seldom praise Microsoft, but .NET is an effort long overdue and well-done. C# is the very center of .NET, and GUI's (for both apps and Web apps) are much of its currency. This book grounds you well.