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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mac OS X Panther for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Bob LeVitus
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
A Hasty Job

I have found more faulty references in this book than helpful ones. I'll cite just one example. I wanted to find out more about the "Find" function in Panther, in particular about how to extract the location of the "found" file when I'm looking at a trail of unnamed "folder" icons. The index sent me to page 82 (the only reference to "Find"). The information there was a tiny paragraph languishing under the heading "Desktop Madness." It said, "Use the Files->Find command when you can't remember where you put it in a file or folder." (sic). Then the second and last sentence: "This command is a Mac OS X feature that really kicks some butt. I discuss it in detail in chaper 12." Guess what? Chapter 12 is called "The Fail-Safe Guide to Printing." No more references to "Find." You know whose butt I'd like to kick. Enough said.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JDBC API Tutorial and Reference, Third Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Maydene Fisher, Jon Ellis, Jonathan Bruce
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Must For Your Bookshelf!

What can I say... if you do JDBC programming, you must have this book in your bookshelf. Great examples and super coverage of a very wide topic. You'll read it and continue to look back at it. Well worth the money!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C++ Primer (4th Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Stanley B. Lippman, Josée Lajoie, Barbara E. Moo
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
covers newest features, but numerous errors & poor examples

This book covers the newest and advanced features in standard C++. It has good chapters on function and class templates, overload resolution, generic algorithms and multiple/virtual inheritance. But the long text search program used to illustrate object-oriented programming is a total disaster: it forces the reader into the mundane nusances of the example and obscures the real objective, i.e. teaching objects, their inheritance and use. To make things even more obscure, the entire book is full of errors, some at critical places, and especially in the Appendix that covers the generic algorithms. I did not count them but they are not too far from 100. Another aspect that I did not like is the lack of comments on the program code. I read the book cover to cover 3 times and believe me I did waste weeks on those obscure code lines and did figure out over 99% of them. Sure,ommitting comments is a sure way to make the code appear deep and awesome. But if the author respects the reader's time and really cares more about teaching the reader than about showing his/her knowledge, he/she should include a generous amount of comment. My recommendation is: Buy it if you are determined to learn the advanced features of C++ and are sure you have the time and patience to struggle with the obscuring examples and the numerous misleading errors.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XSLT : Programmer's Reference (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Michael Kay
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
IMPORTANT: Things to keep in mind before buying this book

1. This is really a reference, not a tutorial. It does include a "no nonsense tutorial" which will guide you through the basic XSLT topics, but if you have no XML experience, start with one of the more basic Wrox offerings. (David Hunter's Beginning XML -- which I hear will be excellent -- is going to be released by Wrox early in June.)
2. If you are unclear on the purposes of XSLT, understand that it is a programming language for converting data, performing scripting tasks, etc. on the way to a pure HTML or XML layout. I only mention this because some developers seem to be operating under the mistaken belief that XSLT is an appropriate subject for graphic designers, perhaps because XSLT contains the word "style." Do NOT get this book for your design staff.
3. Not a major hurdle for most of us, but some implementations, such as Xalan, are not covered.
That aside, this is a fantastic book. Everything I can think of in the XSL arena is covered, including extending XSL. The author, Michael Kay, who was such a force on the Professional XML team, once again proves to be an excellent writer. The browser specific details are just what I needed to solve many of my real-world production problems. And I continue to be amazed at the speed with which Wrox gets these comprehensive volumes to press.