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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Php 5 Objects, Patterns, Practice
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Matt Zandstra
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
2 key ideas in programming

As languages which were not originally object oriented grow in popularity, there is sometimes a trend to upgrade them, by adding in this functionality. C++ can be regarded as an upgrade of C, in this respect. Or how Visual Basic now as VB.NET has quite impressive OO features. So Zandstra's book attests to this trend and to the popularity of PHP. It describes how the OO enhancements in PHP 4 were extended into version 5. You are shown how to use objects to the full extent allowed in PHP 5.

The book is also aimed at a reader who might never have formally learnt to use objects or design patterns. In the last 15 years, these have been two very important ideas in programming, independent of the languages used. Which gives us another merit of the book. You are not just learning PHP 5, though that may be good in itself. By understanding and using the book's ideas, you should be able to apply these in other languages. A valuable increase of your skill set and hence marketability.

You should also read carefully the section on bad practices. Sometimes, just being able to avoid these in your code may be enough to produce a successful program.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Strategy guide....? Where?

Everything you would expect from a stradegy guide isn't in this garbage of a book. A very limited walkthrough, No Boss stragies, No hidden item lists. It only gives you limited tips on how to complete the game. Most of the time it tells you to go online to get more info on a tip, so you spend more time online then playing. Ive made the mistake of buying this horrible guide, Please No One Else Make That Mistake!
I recomend Online Walkthroughs/FAQs or an UnOffical Stradegy Guide.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Building The Perfect PC
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Robert Bruce Thompson, Barbara Fritchman-Thompson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I am a first time PC builer

I bought this book just yesterday and have already read the whole thing. Let me be clear, I have never built a computer. The thought occured to me about a week ago, when I got fed up with my old one. So I went to a local bookstore and picked up a few books and looked through them. Then all of a sudden the title "Building the Perfect PC" jumped out at me. I picked it up and it had color photos showing what was being done. It is a wonderful book and I just went out and bought a case today using their advice and will begin building soon!!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Aaron Hillegass
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
An excellent first book

This was the book I had been waiting for, or at least ONE OF the books I had been waiting for, to really get started with Cocoa programming. The O'Reilly book, as has been mentioned plenty of times here, leaves a lot to be desired, and while it was better than nothing, a wall still remained between me and Cocoa after finishing it.
After reading Cocoa Programming for OS X, I feel I can say I "get" Cocoa finally. That's not to say I'm an expert, but that I can complete a simple program now, on my own, using the Cocoa frameworks and concepts. As Aaron says in the book, learing the Cocoa APIs will take much longer. I come from a Java background, with only marginal C and C++ experience. Although Aaron does not speak much about the objective-c language itself, that's ok. Apple's PDF is more than adequate to get that background.
There are some things that get glossed over that I wish had been more fully explained, and some things left out altogether that I would have liked to see, such as:
-- Spawning and managing multiple threads, thread safety issues -- exception handling, debugging and assertions -- Cocoa "primitive" objects (NSPoint, NSRect, NSRange, etc.), why they apparently don't need to be retained or released, and why they are "NS" objects but don't really behave like them.
-- Calling Toolbox routines or those from APIs that have not yet been "Cocoa-ized" (and integrating the Old Way into the Cocoa Way), with examples. Cocoa is nice but once you get away from building a text editor, you will need to dig into this ugly and unfriendly world at some point (unfortunately). For instance, how do I access the Airport card, how do I open and use a network socket, how can I read a DV-encoded stream from a FireWirePort and save it to disk as a QuickTime movie, how do I access a database, how do I use an OpenGL view?
-- How to customize Cocoa UI elements. Like if I wanted an NSSlider with TWO sliders, a minimum and a maximum. There is an example of subclassing an NSView in the book, but that's just a drawing panel.
To be fair, I'm not really criticizing Aaron for these things. The book has plenty of useful stuff, and I'm sure Aaron wants to write and sell more books, so some advanced Cocoa books that address some of these things as well as others will be welcome...I hope someone is writing them right now. I also hope someone is writing a comprehensive Cocoa API reference, as Apple's is somewhat lacking (Have you seen the phrase "Description Forthcoming" more times than you care to remember? I thought so.)
The bottom line is that this is a great book that is a must-have for anyone interested in Cocoa programming. I'd probably rate it four or four-and-a-half stars, but I'm giving it five for being there when I needed it, and being the first really useful book on the subject. The best thing I can say about it is that I can now do things there is simply no way I could have before.