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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Building Cocoa Applications : A Step by Step Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Simson Garfinkel, Michael K. Mahoney
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
More than adequate Cocoa introduction

Finding the online Cocoa documentation (that comes with the Dev Tools) to be seriously lacking, I went to the bookstore and quickly found this book. Just judging from the table of contents, it's clear the book covers a wide variety of topics, more than enough to get any programmer off the ground with Cocoa. The book employs a tried-and-true programming book style, introducing each topic with a general discussion, and then following by giving you code to type into your program. There are four parts to the book, with the first part being an overview of various things, and each subsequent part containing several chapters in which you study Cocoa features pertinent to a specific project, which you build throughout each chapter.
I have only one beef with this book: it may not be enough for very novice programmers. I have previously programmed the Mac Toolbox and I have a lot of C and C++ experience, so I usually knew what was going on. But someone with less experience may have trouble because frequently the book will just tell you to enter a bunch of code, and not really give an adequate explanation of what's happening.
Of course, even experienced programmers may find this book a little too "hold my hand and follow me" to actually get started with Cocoa programming. But the book does do a very good job of getting you familiar with the classes and methods you'll be needing to use when you do get off the ground. I highly recommend buying this book, as my experience with it has been very positive. If you do not get the confidence you need to build your own Cocoa apps just from this book, though, then I (as well as the authors of this book) recommend "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X" by Aaron Hillegass as a supplement. Together the two will give you an even more comprehensive knowledge of Cocoa, as well as two sources to consult if you get confused (two is always better than one).
(In addition, before reading any Cocoa book, I recommend reading "The Objective-C Programming Language", which can be found in the Developer Tools documentation under Cocoa. Most Cocoa books do provide a brief Objective-C tutorial, but it will be to your advantage if you already know the language, as these tutorials are not terribly adequate.)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Access Cookbook, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Ken Getz, Paul Litwin, Andy Baron
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Full of useful material - that works!

What more is there to say? It does assume some basic knowledge of Access and VBA, so it is more for the intermediate to advanced developer looking for useful features and work-arounds. Did I mention that the stuff works?

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Applying UML and Patterns : An Introduction to Object-Oriented Analysis and Design and Iterative Development (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Craig Larman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A good introduction, and more, to OO Analysis and Design

I am in agreement with some of the observations made in the 1-out-of-5 review by wiredweird. However, I am inclined to rate this book a 5 out of 5.
There are a lot of books out there that talk about O-O but stop at inane and condescending examples that limits what knowledge, if any, you could get from the books. On the other side of the spectrum, you have outstanding books like "Design Patterns" that might be a little hard to follow for people like, for instance, me. The uniqueness of this book by Craig Larman is that it effectively bridges the yawning gap between the O-O for idiots approach and the O-O for experts approach. Granted that Mr. Larman seems to be calling "Principles" as "Patterns" -- it is kind of a stretch to call "Polymorphism" a pattern, but nomenclature aside, the emphasis is rightly on general principles that prevade patterns of design. Larman might have stretched the limits of UML notation here and there -- but it is almost always to emphasize an idea.
The main portion of the book deals with a case study involving a POS system -- good choice, a POS system is something we are all familiar with and it offers a lot of possiblities to show the application of design principles and patterns. Its possible that this is not the best book to teach (or to learn) O-O design -- but I havent come across one that is better.
An irritant i have with this book is the quality of the paper used -- it reflects light making it a strain to read it under fluorescent light. Maybe they will fix it in the next edition so that the reader is the only one doing the reflecting.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Stored Procedures, XML, and HTML (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

I liked the book because it is so well-written and so comprehensive. It is rare that you find a book that is a good read and still loaded with technical How-To. How do I know the book is well-written... I know because I find myself having trouble putting it down. I enjoy just reading it.
The forward says it all. I too wish this book had existed about ten years ago. I could have really used it. I too think it reads like an experienced developer sharing his experiences. These are words of wisdom from someone who has been there.
This is a great book. If you work with Sql Server you will learn something useful from this book. You will probably also find some scripts or procedures that you can use in your own work.