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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Robert C. Martin
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book on principled software development

If you always wondered how to find the "right" abstractions - which are nowadays called objects - in your programming. This book gives you an idea what the guiding principles should be.

Don't expect it to be a silver bullet. It is neither the best book on agile software development practices nor the best book on design patterns, but it is the best book on sound principles behind software development. So I believe that some of the content will still be valid in the post OOD-world, whatever it is going to be.

So if you ever wondered, why sometimes programms look good, and most of the times they are just outright ugly, this book gives you a couple of pointers where to look for the problems.

Two more things: a) it is actually fun to read, b) from my experience in project management and software development I don't believe the radical XP approach will establish itself - it doesn't give managers the feeling they are in control. Not that they are with the classic waterfall, but they think they do. Some practices such as pair programming and test-driven development will become best practices - or are they already? The rest will probably be dropped once the fad is over.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Larry Ullman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Absolute must for newbies

What more is there to say. I decided a year ago that I wanted to start a webdesign / web programming business, and quickly came across the need to understand PHP and MySQL. Right now, I feel confident enough to actually start building applications or using opensource scripts that I adapt myself.
Larry takes a clean and crisp approach to teaching you from scratch up to an adequate level. And the accompanying website is GREAT!!! The forum is frequented by other readers and the man himself, so if you ever got stuck you need not worry. Buy this book if you're serious about learning PHP and (in a lesser degree, but still quite useful) MySQL.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Number One Bestseller for a reason.

My advice to those who know nothing about HTML and are wondering what book to begin with: BUY THIS BOOK. Read it. Do what it says.
I am a VB programmer currently specializing in MAPI technologies using CDO, ASP, etc... (that was my "credibility plug") and needed to learn HTML in order to merge my organization's Web site with our corporate email client application.
I knew ZERO about HTML. I needed to learn YESTERDAY. In one day with this book I was able to delve into the source code of our website and make the adjustments I needed to.
This book seems like it would also be a great reference guide for beginner/intermediate HTML developers because the author makes it a snap to find a keyword in the index and lookup what it does.

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
Treats T-Sql like a real language

I don't know why no one else ever thought of it before but this is the only book I know of that treats T-Sql like a real language. It teaches that you have to work at it to master it and follow a disciplined engineering approach to it to be really good with it. For example, the chapter on design patterns takes the patterns made famous by Grady Booch and co. and applies them to T-Sql. It seems obvious now, but I never thought of this before and haven't read any other books that cover this.
The Visual Source Safe integration is simply excellent. The book shows how to hook up Query Analzyer with VSS and even provides a tool to help manage your source code. I know a lot of shops that don't have any real management of their T-Sql code that would do themselves a favor to read an follow this chapter to the letter.
The Undocumented stuff is also really good. I had no idea half of these undocumented stored procedures, extended procedures, functions and DBCC commands were even in there. A couple of come in really handy, but mostly they just provide some insight into how the server really works which, like most of the book, is invaluable.