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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning ASP Databases
Publisher: Wrox Press
Authors: John Kauffman, Kevin Spencer, Thearon Willis, John Kauffman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Thorough and clear. Bring on the next installment

I decided to write my review, although I have not completed reading the whole book, because I am convinced more people should know about this book!
It does fill the void left among the numerous ASP programming book with two major advantages - 1. It completely answers what the title of the book would have you expect - beginning ASP database programming; 2 - It does it in the most appropriate way - with very professional teaching style which still leaves the student dignity intact.
One little remark - The author overall assumes that certain tasks (particularly the database security types) can be consulted with a DBA, and in my case, in the company I work for, there is no DBA . I believe the book would have benefited from having an appendix on the differences between NT vs. NT/SQL Server mixed type of security, but other than this, the book is just perfect!
Finally, my sincere thank you to John Kauffman and Wrox for a very practical, extremely well written book which comes just in time to answer my professional prayers!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, Don Roberts
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book is fantastic for many reasons - foremost in my list because it indirectly teaches what good OOP looks and feels like in implementation. Many books try to do this, but don't quite do it the way this one does it for me. This book shows you how to detect "smells" in code that need attention. More interesting is how a so-so/poor program can be turned into an elegant piece of engineering that is simpler to read and understand.
In addition:
* It's well written.
* Indirectly shows you how to make better OO code
* Section on identifying "bad smells" in code is dead on.
* JUnit - a testing framework introduced in the book is fantastic.
Must get. - Best programming related book I have read this year (2000).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP.NET for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Bill Hatfield
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Laying a Solid Foundation

To be quite honest I have not been a big fan of the "Dummies" series, but author Bill Hatfield has written a real gem. He seems to have a clear understanding of the skill set of his target audience - novice programmer. Yet he treats his audience with respect with intelligent dialog delivered at an even pace. This combines to create a solid foundation of learning. I was particularly impressed with Part III of Chapter 6 'Classy Objects and Methodical Properties.' In this section he introduces the reader to programming objects, a sometimes-intimidating concept. By using a "real-world" example - his car, he clearly constructs and then breaks down the components that constitute an object. Outstanding through and through. If you are new to programming and interested in learning the basics of ASP.net I highly recommend this book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Art of Computer Programming, Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Donald E. Knuth
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One the Standard, Still the Standard

Don Knuth's classic The Art of Computer Programming trilogy has long been the standard reference for algorithms used in programming. The 20 years since the first editions have seen rapid development in both programming and algorithms, and the second edition had grown a bit gray around the edges. This third edition brings the set up to date.
I've always been amazed at Knuth's writing style as he manages to discuss complex material with a combination of clarity, freshness, and light humor. If you've read any of the previous editions, the organization and style will be quite familiar. He stuck with the use of the MIX mythical machine language for code examples, the algorithm format and notation, exercises rated by complexity and the need for higher mathematics, and plenty of background for context. He also retains the whimsical Procedure for Reading This Set of Books, in which Sleep is item 15 in the flowchart.
This first volume starts with a long chapter of Mathematical Preliminaries, required reading for all the volumes. This serves both as an introduction to the format and style of the books as well as an intense review of the mathematics used in developing algorithms. Its intensity can be daunting, and I found it useful to surround myself with the algebra, geometry, and calculus texts from my engineering days in school. The rest of the chapter introduces MIX and delves into some fundamental programming techniques.
The second chapter (each volume has but two long chapters, retaining the organization of the previous editions), covers information structures. Here you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about linear lists (including stacks, linked lists, and arrays), binary and other types of trees, and dynamic storage allocation. There is plenty of new material in this section, particularly for topics that are so fundamentally a part of computer programs.
Fundamental Algorithms is not for the faint of heart and isn't something that you can scan passively. Casual programmers without an interest in mathematics probably won't benefit much from the book, other than the prestige of having it on the shelf. It takes work to understand the material, but is a required exercise for anyone serious about gaining a solid grasp of the fundamentals of programming.