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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Web Services
Publisher: Springer
Authors: Gustavo Alonso, Fabio Casati, Harumi Kuno, Vijay Machiraju
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Book on Distributed Systems


This book is a little more expensive than most of the flashy Web Services books these days but it is well worth the money. Set in small font and not wasting pages on chapters like "History of XML and SOAP" this book is dense in content on the architecture of distributed systems, including Web Services. We get to learn about the issues of distributed transactions and the differences between conversations, coordination and orchestration. The text is precise but nevertheless easy to follow. One of the best books I have seen on Web Services architecture.

You can find a sample chapter on the author's site:
http://www.inf.ethz.ch/personal/alonso/Web-book/Chapter-5.pdf



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide (Exam 310-035 & 310-027)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Definitely not enough to get 100%


I do strongly recommend this book for anyone willing to pass the SCJP exam,
even though, it is very important for you to know that it does not cover ALL
possible content you will find in the real exam, will cover most yes, but
not all. If you are newbie you would not notice (dangerous) but if you do have
experience, sometimes you will feel like going and find by yourself some
gaps in the book. If you are the kind go for all 100% getter I do strongly recommend
using additional study materials as complement and even more, use your favorite
development environment to test all gaps or questions you might find which are
not covered in the book.

Pros:

- The book covers nicely most of the exam objectives.

- It is a breeze to read it, I have even had friends asking me what was this
comedy about. I did really enjoy reading it. I did not find any bad jokes,
I think I would enjoy a party with the authors, we have the same sense of humor.

- The book is 100% reliable, perfectly accurate, if the content is in the book
it is right. As far as I can tell, I did not find one single question error or
wrong concept and I made all self tests in the book and I consider myself a
really meticulous guy (this is a MUST requirement for any study material, there
are many inaccurate books and preparation materials with flawed concepts). Not
studying or keeping your concepts from experience is even better than studying it
wrong, this book only does good. The authors gained my entire trust, I will look only
for them when looking for further Java certification books.

- After reading it I was EVEN able to spot few really flawed questions in my
third-party training software!!! this speaks by itself. They (third-party training
software support) were very surprised at that, I asked them how could I rely on a
training software with few flawed questions and their answer was "you are really
prepared, this proof you really master the concepts and that you are ready for the
test", thanks to this book.

Cons:

- Bear in mind there are (I would say) many uncovered concepts or topics related to the
exam, this book is not an exhaustive Java reference and some of the uncovered content
can easily appear in the test, these bellow are the kind of questions left unanswered/uncovered
that you would have to find out BY YOURSELF somewhere else and you might be surprised to
find in the exam e.g.

. What are Daemon type threads how they behave differently from non-daemon threads?
. Are static variables initialized as instance variables with default values?
. some exotic declarations e.g. can you tell about this one? "int[] a, b[];" here
you have an array and a matrix.
. Converting Octal/Hex/Binary/Decimal.
. Operators precedence!!!
. Are assertions considered as a return statement with the compiler
returning the kind of "line X is unreachable because of a previous assert false;"?
. Is there an inner classes nesting limit?
. How can you refer to the instance of the outmost class from the nested 2nd level
deep non-static inner class?
. Can methods return references to (method) locally declared inner classes, if so
how can that be referenced/used from outside? as Object?
. Possible valid access modifiers for (method) locally declared inner classes?

- The software included with the book is in my opinion very bad quality, not
the content of the questions (I never did any) but the applications, the
selftest software included with the book is a very small sized frame
no-resizable that you would have to scroll back and forth for reading
any question, extremelly annoying. Additionally the bonus stuff on internet
I could never download because of some errors in the pages, I finally gave
up about using it.

I had the SCJP 1.4 exam last friday 09/03/2004 passing with 95% and this was my
passing formula:

- I have more than 5 years experience programming in Java and C++.

- Reading this book. It took me one calendar week to go through the complete
book (SCJP part) with questions and everything. I am in holidays and invested
4 days for studying :-) on top of one weekend. Not to mention this book
was my pillow for this complete week. But you can reeeeally enjoy reading
it, I read most of it on Parade Platz, Movenpick, having Movenpick chocolate
ice creams, if you are Swiss you know what I am talking about ... the ice cream
helped a lot.

- I practiced mostly using SelfTest Software http://www.selftestsoftware.com
training to track my progress.

- I had already the Brainbench certification Master in Java 1 & 2,
http://www.brainbench.com. I recommend having the Brainbench Java 2
test or preparation before going to the SCJP. Brainbench has the toughest
tests I have ever experienced, if you can make it there you can make it anywhere!!!
But understand that Brainbench test objectives are much broader.

These are some nice statistics you can use as a reference, these are the results
of my preparation compared to the results in the actual exam, I think there is a
clear correlation:

SelfTest questions included in the book (I did each only once after reading the corresponding
chapter, does not make sense doing many times, the idea is not to memorize), however writing
what (and why) you did wrong is very useful to focus your studying efforts even further:

Chapter 1- Language Fundamentals 17/20 (85%)
Chapter 2- Declarations and Access Control 10/15 (66%)
Chapter 3- Operators and Assigments 17/18 (94%)
Chapter 4- Flow Control, Exceptions and Assertions 14/20 (70%)
Chapter 5- OO Overloading and Overriding ... 21/21 (100%)
Chapter 6- java.lang Math, Strings, Wrappers 15/19 (78%)
Chapter 7- Objects and Collections 12/15 (80%)
Chapter 8- Inner classes 8/12 (66%)
Chapter 9- Threads 18/21 (85%)

These are my overall results of doing simulation tests using third-party
SelfTest software during my studying of the book:

first try - 66% (without studying)
second try - 72%
third try - 85%
fourth try - 100%

These are my results in the actual exam overall passing 95%:

Language Fundamentals 90%
Declarations and Access control 100%
Operators and Assigments 87%
Flow Control, Assertions, and Exception Handling 100%
Overloading, Overriding, Runtime Type and OO 100%
Fundamental Classes in the java.lang package 100%
The Collections Framework 100%
Garbage Collection 100%
Threads 87%

One last note, do not cheat yourself, do not use BRAINDUMPS, try
instead to deeply understand all concepts. Additionally
the "serialization" mechanism for BD is not actually reliable,
I looked at those for curiousity and it was pure crap.

I hope you enjoy reading the book too, Good luck!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP.NET Website Programming: Problem - Design - Solution, C# Edition
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Marco Bellinaso, Kevin Hoffman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must for Web developers


I waited for a book like this for a long time.
There are currently tons of books that explain how to develop a website with a certain language or a framework - they often also provide large reference tables for classes and methods. Good books, but they don't show how to use the presented techniques in real-world projects.
And here it is where this book enters the scene and finds its place.This book guides the reader along the development of a complete web site, from design to deployment. Anyone who has ever worked on a website built using a server-side language has probably faced the same problems: how to develop the common modules required in almost any site, such as news, forum or accounts management. This books teaches just this: how to build these common modules with ASP.NET and C#, and how to plug them into your own site.
Each chapter is divided in three sections, which excellently mix theory and practice without making the reading boring or difficult: problem - design - solution. In the "Problem" section the authors present the problem that the module will solve. "Design" describes the design choices and the reasons behind them, and the last section "Solution" presents the code for the actual implementation of the module. After introducing the general design of a modern site (based on the widely used 3-tiers architecture), the modules used by most dynamic sites are described: there are modules to manage news, advertisement banners, polls, mailing lists, forum, accounts, and there is even a complete web-based file manager!
Particular attention is devoted to users management and the authentication/authorization process. I've found very useful also the chapter about the user interface design, which explains how to build customizable pages with the help of CSS, XML and XSLT. The only prerequisite for reading this book is a basic understanding of C# and ASP.NET (this book is not for absolute beginners in fact): all the rest, especially the advanced topics, are explained in good depth. However, you'll find this book quite difficult if you have no previous experience with ASP.NET (for example, if you don't know what is codebehind, server controls, postback events etc.).
The quality of the presented techniques makes this book a *great* guide, and you'll find yourself referencing to it often, during the development of a web site. The code examples are also great - they are actually complete and working modules that you can reuse in real projects in almost no time. Some of them could even compete with commercial software!
Alberto Falossi (from his review on Visual Basic Journal Italy - Jul/Aug 02 issue)



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Voice & Data Communications Handbook (Standards & Protocols)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Regis J. Bates, Donald W. Gregory
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Informative and a good read


This is a good book for people who are learning the basics of telecommunications for the first time. It is simple to read and becomes very interesting as you go along. Get this book ! I must say.