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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core Web Programming (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Marty Hall, Larry Brown
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
only book that covers CGI, browser-server conversation

I looked in hundreds of books until I found this one that explains how browsers and servers talk to each other. Now I can easily write programs that automate tasks that browsers do, and I can write tasks that talk to browsers. It is a FAT book. It aims to be an all in one. It needs to be rewritten to include the JDK 2 1.3 level features, but the core material still works. This book is full of information you won't find anywhere else. It has plenty of COMPLETE examples you can type and run, even if you don't fully understand them at first.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Confidence : How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End
Publisher: Crown Business
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Where's the beef?

I was actually shocked that a Harvard prof could write a book so light. Be confident, communicate? Good one. How much is tuition there?
Many, many other books on the market that have much more depth.

Do yourself a favor and pass on this shallow and ridiculously simple book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java for the Web with Servlets, JSP, and EJB: A Developer's Guide to J2EE Solutions
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Budi Kurniawan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best servlet/JSP book, I'll buy anything the author writes

I chose this book because it was the No.1 best-selling JSP book at amazon and I was not disappointed. In fact, this is one of the best programming books I've read. This book explains every concept from beginning to end. It tells you everything, and I guess not many books explain how a JSP page is translated into a servlet. The author is really a great teacher. You'll be amazed on how clear he explains things. Examples work straight away and easy to run. When I brought this book to work, the servlet/JSP experts say this book also covers techniques not even mentioned by other books, such as file upload and download, document management. For me, this is really "THE" book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming with POSIX(R) Threads
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: David R. Butenhof
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Annoying, but probably no worse than the rest...

This book has got what you want to know about pthreads. If that was all it had, and it had that in the right order, then it would be perfect. Instead, this is a very frustrating book to read.
Take 'mutexes' as an example. A useful explanation for a beginner might be as follows... (1) Where the word 'mutex' comes from (2) What a memory conflict is (3) How a mutex can avoid it (4) How it works (simplified) (5) Some good examples in programs
On page 6 we first meet a mutex in a bit about putchar - we turn 'putchar into a 'critical section' (unexplained) because 'putchar might lock a "putchar mutex" '.
Don't bother trying to understand it. Next paragraph, we find 'the correct solution is to associate the mutex with the stream', so it was a bad idea in the first place. Oh.
Two chapters later, on page 47, you get to know what a 'mutex' is. It's mutual exclusion using a special form of Edsger Dijkstra's semaphore, you dummy. Well, if you've read Edsger Dijkstra's 1968 paper, then you aren't likely to be reading this book, says I.
Confused? Keep going. Finally on page 90, there is a neat tabular description of one thread reading a variable before the other one has written it, and how you can stop this with a mutex. Clear and simple, this should have been on page 6. The following section (marked "You may want to skip this explanation...") then describes the sorts of problem you get with real hardware - surely a 'must read' if you are going to do this sort of stuff.
There is a noble tradition of giving a bad coding example in one chapter, so you can show how cleverly you can fix it in the next. Look at any Stroustrop book. I think this is a bad idea - every example of code ought to be as good as you can make it: someone might just lift the section from your code as it stands. Anyway, I wasted a lot of time pouring over a 3-page example program because I was convinced it did not work, only to find that the author knew it had a bug in it, but was keeping up the suspense to the next section.
While I'm on pet hates, if I wanted Lewis Carroll, I would have bought Lewis Carroll: we could loose the quotes. And the cartoons of "Three Men in a Boat". And the explanations of what the zero in the Unix clock means every time it is used.
Ooohhh, this book could be so much shorter, and sooo much better. Still, I have got my program going, and that's the main thing.