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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A Software engineer's bible

A reference manual of best practices in software application design. Best design practices identified and categorized as patterns makes communication and application of the practice easier and more effective. It is not difficult for a somewhat experienced developer to learn these patterns and apply them in day-to-day work, given the content of the book and presentation. Each pattern is discussed with information relating to its applicability, participants, consequences, sample code, known uses, etc.

If you know how traditional mechanical/electrical/civil engineers work, they always have a reference design manual handy. This book serves the same purpose to a good extent.

Beware, the contents are pretty loaded and you may want to dwell on one pattern for some time, few days maybe, before moving onto the next- this book isn't something you can read even in a few sittings. The authors duely recognize this and nicely identify what set of patterns to start with depending on the experience of the reader.

The only complaint I may have of this book is the nature of examples (Singleton pattern example is one). I wish the authors used more business application examples much like a reservation or purchase order system as it would appeal to a larger developer base (IMHO).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Solaris 10 : The Complete Reference (Complete Reference Series)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Paul Watters
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Very disappointing

Solaris 10 represents a significant upgrade over earlier releases of this operating system and yet this book, as mentioned by another reviewer, is basically just a rehash of earlier editions with only a cursory discussion of the new commands and features scattered throughout the text. Even the existing information seems dated. Why mention the "Netscape mail client" from www.netscape.com? Solaris 10 provides Sendmail 8.13, not simply "version 8". How about some discussion of Sun's Patch Manager? I find it odd that "Iomega Zip and Jaz" drives are discussed but there is no mention of USB sticks or other USB devices which work on Solaris. In fact, much of the storage device section is out-of-date (A1000 disk arrays and DAT tape drives). Why are tar/cpio described, but not the more versatile pax command? This "Complete Reference" also doesn't have any mention of the very useful "mount -o public" command.

All in all not a reference I'd want to rely upon although it has some use as a general Solaris guide if you don't have easy access to the Internet.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Confusing for beginners, shallow for others.

This book is clearly not up to the expectations set by the Visual Quickstart Guide for HTML. I've been a developer for years, although I'm new to JavaScript and DHTML. I hoped this book would explain the concepts and provide clear examples of simple functions and a few more popular advanced options.
I think the biggest failyre in this book is the index. The index is very weak. I've found reference to very few of the words for which I was looking. I was often reduced to scanning pages to find what I wanted, and I often found the information I wanted even though it wasn't in the index.
I found that concepts are poorly covered and most of the examples brushed over. This book does use a lot of pictures to show the code, but the explanations are lacking and there a no alternatives presented. If the example does what you want, great!, if not you're given no explanation of how to modify the code. I can't reccomend a better book, but I will say I've found much better help on the web.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Active Directory Cookbook for Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Robbie Allen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Saved me the one thing I don't have much of - Time

Having ploughed through the mammoth "Windows 2000 Scripting guide" I was inspired to automate just about everything but left without answers to solving the real challenges. After getting tired of wading through Google results, I bought the AD Cookbook and was enlightened. It provided effective explanation and solutions to my Scripting issues in the best format possible - Brief.
It has saved me and several of my colleagues many hours and has earned a place among a few select well-thumbed references that I value.