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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Exploring Illustrator CS (Adobe Illustrator)
Publisher: Thomson Delmar Learning
Authors: Annesa Hartman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The best teaching tool for Illustrator CS

Annesa's book is a step-by-step book aimed at the Illustrator newbie that doesn't assume some esoteric knowledge of the product. For example, in another Illustrator book, it told me how to create a Template Layer but didn't bother explaining how to work with it. I was lost and a bit miffed! From the first chapter, of Annesa's book you get your feet wet and have a feeling of competency by the time you've finished. Unheard of in most training books. Great CD, too, with lessons and a CAD demo program.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web ReDesign 2.0: Workflow that Works
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Kelly Goto, Emily Cotler
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Two authors with a sound plan for web (re)design

Now that users and designers have accumulated extensive experience in the presentation and use of web pages, it is time to pass beyond the initial stages. For some time, the frenetic pace of development was such that the foremost thought was to get a functional site now and worry about everything else later. Web development also suffered from the problem that it is easy to make pages, but very hard to develop good ones. As an instructor of community education classes, I have seen many people who either create web pages in their spare time or would like to do so. Such an approach is fine for an amateur site, but professional sites require the full-time commitment of several people. There are several themes running throughout the book, and nearly all begin with either plan or organize. From the first tickle of an idea to the ongoing maintenance of the site, it is necessary to organize every step, including the creative process. The first topic after the introductory chapter is subtitled, "The Core Process: a comprehensive plan for all types of teams, all kinds of companies, and all kinds of budgets." While this is a largely unattainable goal, the authors do succeed to a great extent, and design teams of all sizes can find information of value in their endeavors. Loaded with charts, action plans and diagrams of top-notch sites, this is the kind of book needed to add zing to your stagnant site. There is one caveat though. It is very possible that reading this book will alter your mind. The site that you previously thought to be excellent may now be considered rather humdrum.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Unix Network Programming
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: W. Richard Stevens
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Astonishing and Readable! Simply let knowledge flow in you!

Great book, I've read it cover to cover. But why buy it when the author has newer versions out? Because (1) it is more concise and (2) it has info not in the other editions. I recommend you read this one cover-to-cover and buy the others as more detailed reference. His 3 other books (Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, Unix Net. Prog.,2nd Ed., Vol.1; Unix Net. Programming, 2nd Ed., Vol.2) are far more detailed and worth having, but each is very thick. AND, the author died without finishing Unix Network Programming, 2nd Ed., Vol.3 (Applications). You have to buy this older edition to get the applications. It's easier to read 1 book 700 pp. long than to read 3 books, each 700 pp. long. Time is money.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Reporting Services in Action (In Action series)
Publisher: Manning Publications
Authors: Teo Lachev
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Covers Every Aspect of Reporting

For many years Microsoft Access has had an excellent report generating system. Unfortunately this was tied to the rather week Jet database engine or lately to the somewhat stripped down MSDE. The industrial grade database was SQL Server. One solution was to use an Access front end to the SQL Server database engine. While this enabled the user to write reports easily, the overall system was somewhat of a kluge. Other alternatives were, of course to take the data out of the database and then write a reporting program in some other language. All in all, getting a suitable report was somewhat of a chore.

This is really a 'how-to' book on the use of SQL Server's new Reporting Services. It is written from a standpoint of not just repeating the product documentation that comes from Microsoft, but from the view of the developer who has to implement a solution.

It used to be that a report was basically a printed document. But now, this view has changed, and Reporting Services incorporates not only printed reports, but also reports that are to be web distributed, or as the information content for an OLAP application, enterprise level reports, or subscribed reports thatt are to be distributed automatically. This should be the only reporting services book you'll need - until of course the new versions of RS become available.