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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have in a web designer's toolbox

Usability studies are your friend.
I'm somewhat of anoldtimer in web years. I've been building sites & online appfrontends for 5 years now (at the same e-commerce company... gasp!) and I think I've absorbed more from Jakob Neilsen that any other computer/internet author.
When I first started following Neilsen on his site...a few years ago, I was a bit wary. I wanted to protect my design, as most would, and I can tell you now... incorporating his material, learning from it, will only make your site that much better. It also arms you with the facts behind proper usability design, which can be a great thing when it comes time to defend your work to the Execusphere.
Buy it, read it, breathe it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming the Perl DBI
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Alligator Descartes, Tim Bunce
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Despite what other people have said, this is a great book

This book is slim. About 1/3 is a DBI reference, which you can get free from the distribution. About 1/5 of the book (in the beginning), it describes Berkeley's dbm (and thus why DBI is necessary). So, what we have left is mere 130 pages to describe DBI features. The author uses these pages to explain only very simple things like: How to connect to the database, and execut very simple queries like "SELECT name FROM employee", get the result set, and so forth. The book never describes more complex real world problems, such as how you would execute stored procedures (for example, in Oracle, PL/SQL packages) get the result back through arguments, and other intricate problems. If you want to learn the very fundamentals of how to connect, execute, and get the results for very simple SQL queries, this book will help you. But then you can visit free web sites that offer such things. If you want to solve real world problems using DBI, this book offers NOTHING !

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Version 2003 (Book & CD-ROM)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Francesco Balena
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Fantastic Book

Let me just say that I have tons of Visual Basic .NET books which include my previous beloved Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming in Microsoft Visual Basic .NET (what a mouth full) that also author by Mr. Francesco Balena together with Jeffrey Richter.
Well, I don't know why I waited so long before getting Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET by Francesco Balena. It has something to do with the fact that I already have a copy of the Framework programming book, or so I thought.
Let's just say after reading countless books on the framework and the .NET idioms etc I still find the concepts somewhat elusive, until one day I accidentally flipped throught this book and it instantly made all the concepts clear to me. I put this book in the same category as Mr. Ted Pattison's outstanding Programming Distributed Applications with COM+ and Visual Basic 6.0 book.
I got to go study now, but will write some more after I'm through with it.
Thanks Mr Balena, and keep playing that Jazz saxophone. By the way, I am a Jazz guitarist as well.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Resource Kit (Pro - Resource Kit)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Bill English
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Comprehensive and Well Written

This is an excellent resource for SharePoint Portal Server 2003. I especially like the fact that it comes with a searchable electronic version of the book on CD along with some other useful tools and examples.

Bill provides in-depth information about the various aspects of planning and deploying a SharePoint portal that will help you avoid the common pitfalls of the process. The only way to undo some design choices is to start over. It's better to get it right the first time.

In addition to planning and deployment, Bill covers the common administrative tasks in an easy to follow step-by-step mannner. Click here, enter this, do that, click there. Concise, point-form instructions that let you get things done when you need to without plodding through a bunch verbiage.

I have even handed this weighty tome to an end user that took an empty site and had it themed and full of content within a couple of days. This is part of a project converting an ASP based Intranet resource site over to SharePoint. They have all of the documents that they want to share and I just turned them loose. Hours of time saved for me because with the easy instructions provided in the book, they were able to just do it themselves.

One caveat to the potential purchaser is in order. This is not a book for developers. While it does provide some insight into web part development, it is fairly sparse. This is a book that is directed solidly at the Planning, Deployment, Operation, and Maintenance of a SharePoint Portal Server 2003 installation. And in that, it succeeds marvelously.

Dave - Application Architect - Stryker Canada LP