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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: sed & awk (2nd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Dale Dougherty, Arnold Robbins
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Powerful tools for text manipulation


Unix has earned itself quite a reputation for its potent tools, used for batch editing of text files (like program output). Sed and Awk are two of these tools. Sed is a direct descendent of Ed, the original Unix line editor, which employs regular expressions, a powerful method for description of patterns in text, for operations like substitute, append or delete. Awk is a complete scripting language with programming structures like conditionals, loops, functions etc., developed in 1970's by Alfred Aho, Brian Kernighan and Peter Weinberger (hence A-W-K). The trio has also written a book on Awk.

Dale Dougherty (in the 2nd edition with Arnold Robbins, maintainer of GNU Awk and author of several more books on Awk programming language) have made a good job in making a thoroughly readable tutorial on Sed and Awk. However, it remains a mystery to me how they succeeded to fill no less than 407 pages with it. Mind you, Sed and Awk are not really some big monsters. There exist something like two dozens of operators in Sed (most of them you will probably never use), and the syntax of Awk mimics those of C programming language, so it is likely that you know it already. Once you grok the idea of regular expressions, you should become a proficient user of Awk in about 30 minutes.

In conclusion, go buy the book if your need to manipulate text files on Unix and you think you need a lengthy tutorial with a gentle learning curve. Otherwise, short references on Awk and Sed, like the ones in "Unix Power Tools" and a bunch of examples showing some tricks you might not think of, will probably be more useful. In addition, it is good to know that during the nineties, much of the focus has drifted from Awk to Perl, so you might consider a book on Perl as well.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Java Masterpiece


Assumptions: If you don't like the works of Peter van der Linden, (or Jason Hunter and Brett McLaughlin, for that matter) stop here; you have no business reading my review.
Level of experience: Tech writer, not a programmer
Strong Opinion: Along with "Just Java", this is absolutely the best general book on Java ever written. Like Peter, Bruce has the twin gifts of clarity and context. He presents the material in clear, clean, precise and lively prose -- and he puts every concept into context. That is, he doesn't just explain "what" Java does, he explains the assumptions underlying "why" Java does it. One (albeit deluded) reviewer of this book complained that Bruce included info on the Internet and background on Client/Server in chapter one -- a chapter on objects. Well, duh! In this incredibly concise, extremely well-written chapter, Bruce stitched together the evolutionary threads that made Java make sense as a web programming language. Later on, in chapter two, Bruce presents *memory* in its full context: registers, stack, heap, etc. and talks about why java does things with memory the way it does. I don't know much C or C++, but I think -- in many circumstances -- it's quite valuable to understand the way Java operates vis a vis these other languages. It brings context to the table and, for me at least, context is vital in understanding concepts. Another reviewer (to remain nameless) complains that bruce repeats himself, citing references in several different chapters to garbage collection (instead, apparently, of putting all the references in one tidy gc chapter). Well, once again, this completely misses the point. Bruce talks about garbage collection in several different chapters becasue it lends context to the topics he's discussing. You have to wonder about some of the people who write these reviews (present company excluded!) I could go on and on about this book, but the point by now is obvious. If you value clarity and context and want to know not just "what" Java does but "why" Java does it, read this book. It's a masterpiece.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Embedded Systems in C and C ++
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Michael Barr
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent introduction to embedded systems


This is a fantasic and excellent introduction for engineers working in embedded software/hardware.The material is presented in a lucid style without reducing standard.Though book is intended to embedded software engineers it also very much helpful to the hardware engineers working in embedded software development environment.The only drawback that I found was he has concentrated specifically on Arcom board in all his examples which is not sufficient.Still I recommend this book to everybody.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Game Programming All in One, Second Edition
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Jonathan S. Harbour
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A classic!


First off, this book is VERY well written and easy to follow. It is one of the only game programming books that I actually had a blast reading. What really strikes me about this book is that it is the only one (that I know of) that concretely discuses cross-platform game programming with Allegro, a library more powerful and easier to use than DirectX. It's almost hilarious how fast Harbor gets into the 'good stuff' without losing the reader.
My only question is, why hasn't someone written a book like this before???