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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Data Warehouse Toolkit: Practical Techniques for Building Dimensional Data Warehouses
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Ralph Kimball
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Best choice for beginner

This book is writen in very good language and very easy to understand. For the beginner it's the best choice, but for the advanced project manager or system analyst i will recommend other one from R. Kimball : The Data Warehouse Lifecycle Toolkit. Thanks to Ralph and to their team - it's one of the best books about DW in the market.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Rational Unified Process Made Easy: A Practitioner's Guide to Rational Unified Process
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Per Kroll, Philippe Kruchten
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very useful and informative book on the RUP

First of all, let me share with you something that most of you may already know: There are only three books on the RUP. Namely:- "The Rational Unified Process, An Introduction", by Philippe Kruchthen- This book- The Eeles et al. book on J2EE and RUP.
I haven't read any of the other two books, so I cannot tell you how this book falls into the greater scheme of things. I.e. I do not know what sort of overlap exists with the RUP Intro book, or which of the two to read first, etc. What I can tell you though is that this book, as it stands on its own, is a very good book in helping you (a) understand what the RUP is and (b) understand how to apply it on your projects.
First of all, the two authors of the book are as authoritative as can be. Kruchten (the author of the Intro book) is the chief technical RUP guy in Rational. Kroll is the Rational director (or whatever his new title is now under IBM) responsible for the RUP. These guys know the RUP and in a sense _are_ the RUP.
Now, to focus more on the book per se, it is as follows: It starts with a general intro chapter and then it moves on to chapter 2, which captures the so-called "Spirit of the RUP". It contains 8 tenets which sort-of summarize the philosophy of the RUP. Just as with a legal system, where it is not sufficient to only know articles of laws and statutes but you have to be extremely familiar and cognizant of the context in which these laws are applied and the purpose they serve in order to judge correctly, similarly with the RUP you don't only need to know the product with all the info and features it provides, but you need to have absorbed the philosophy that governs the process in order to apply the given material in the appropriate and most fruitful manner.
Chapter 3 I found (the emphasis is on "I"; you mileage may vary) the most useful. It basically charts the whole territory of processes that are out there (RUP, XP, other agile processes, heavyweight assessment standards such as the CMM) based on two important criteria, and tries to make you understand where RUP falls in the plane (and it is not really a fixed point, as RUP is customizable so there is some sort of leeway in how much iterative and/or ceremonial we want it to be).
Chapter 4 is an aberattion to the rest of the book IMHO, and I haven't found it much useful, or to my liking. It basically tries to explain RUP phases etc. in the context of a one-man project. I am not saying that this is necessarily a bad way to try to introduce people to the concepts of RUP in a more practical context - maybe you'll like it; I just didn't.
Afterwards, in chapter 5-9 we have an expounding of the 4 RUP phases, while chapter 10 is product-specific. Chapter 11 is extremely important as it talks about how to adopt the RUP in your organization, and proposes as the way to do so, treating the RUP adoption as a project of its own and applying some sort of "meta-RUP" on it; very interesting! Chapter 12 talks about planning an iterative project and Ch. 13 covers "antipatterns" (although the authors, to their credit, avoid using that term). Ch. 13 is very important reading and some of the stuff in there (e.g. the discussion on what constitutes a bad use case) you will find useful in a context much wider than the RUP.
Because each one of the roles (PM, Architect, Developer, etc.) views the process from their own unique perspective (just as power forward views the ballgame more in the perspective of getting many rebounds, whereas the point guard views in the sense of passing assists and shooting the occasional 3-pointer) it is very useful to have a chapter discussing each role's unique perspective of the RUP. My opinion is the all roles must read the chapters for all roles, but if you are short on time, this also helps you focus on the stuff strictly pertaining to your role. Although I am not a tester per se, I liked very much the discussion on "Good Enough Quality" in the Tester chapter. "Paradigms of Good Enough" and "The Cost of Quality" I have found to be a "must-read".
Also, the book has good references (both books and Web articles - especially from the RationalEdge) and the usual good quality you would expect from an AW publication in general and an OTS book in particular. Finally, even though in the intro the authors play a little pun on themselves on being French and Swedish respectively and thus non-native English speakers, don't get scared by that comment. Their English is excellent.
All in all, a very good and useful read. Buy it if only for chapters 3, 13, and 18. Actually, you may want to buy it even if you are not intending to use the RUP.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Pearls (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Jon Bentley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Must have (even if you are experienced).

Programming Pearls is one of the very few books that looks at the problems that we as programmers all have, and keep on having day in and day out. It strives for solutions to problems that are compact, efficient and fast. It questions thinking and makes you think about programming.

The book is comprised of a series of articles focused on a topic which you can read in any order you like. This is one of my favorite programming books, as I always find something 'new' just by browsing it. Unlike some other books on similar topics, the delivery of the information is concise and pallatable. I love this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning PHP 5
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David Sklar
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Magnificent How-To Guide to Real World PHP

This book is fabulous! I've been programming PHP for some time now, though I've never tackled a large project. And I wasn't really sure how to do it, frankly, until stumbling across Mr. Sklar. After seeing him speak at the last O'Reilly Open Source convention here in Portland, and realizing I'd already read one of his other books, I decided to look at this one.

I was quite surprised! Usually O'Reilly's Learning titles are a little slow, but this one is Perfect. You start with the basics, and he's rather good at not telling you more than you really do need to know, and by the end of the book his examples have built on each other to the point that you have a wonderful and flexible library for passing data between forms, your app, and a database. His explanations are well written and not too wordy. You really come away with a much deeper understanding of the language than any other book I've read can provide.

I highly recommend this title. I'm giving it five stars. Keep up the great work, Mr. Sklar!