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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Technology Study Guide
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Mark Cade, Simon Roberts
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Have the right expectation


I really like this book--I'm almost all the way through it, and I've got a good sense of what I need to bone up on (more than I thought) and what I'm probably OK on. I got a lot of information from it in not much time. I also have pretty high confidence in the book because it's from the same guys who wrote the exam--Roberts also wrote the other exams, and a study guide for those too. (I used it, liked it, passed the tests.)
The publisher should probably change the description of the book on the site, though. "Start-to-finish coverage of key J2EE platform architectural issues" is misleading. Though nobody should be expecting it to have Everything About Architecture in it, that kind of book couldn't fit through the door.
The book is mostly about the objectives, and what the key judgments you as an architect need to make. I think it does it really well.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: An Introduction to Database Systems, Eighth Edition
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: C.J. Date
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An indispensible text for serious practioners


This is not a how-to, it is a how-to-understand. I own multiple editions of this book starting with the 3rd, when many of the examples referred to RBase. It won't tell you, with simple color diagrams and cut-and-paste examples, how to optimize your Oracle SQL queries or tune your DB/2 engine, but it will teach you the underlying principles of relational databases, from which the serious professional will be able to extrapolate. If you have the intelligence and stomach for it and you actually read it, it will serve you much better than the SQL in 24 hours picture books that some reviewers seem to be looking for -- it is a timeless and effective conceptual work on the subject that spans the evolution of commercial product implementations. Dilitantes and desperadoes, head for the Dummies aisle -- this one's not for you.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming the Microsoft Windows Driver Model, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Walter Oney
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
If you're serious about WDM, you need this book!


Walter Oney is an expert who doesn't talk down to you. There's a lot of gold in this well-written book, but to extract it happily you'll need a strong background in Windows programming, including first and foremost a couple of years of professional driver-writing experience for Win9X/NT platforms; in a few places, some knowledge of COM and MFC will also be helpful. Plug and Play, power management, and USB issues are covered in detail, as well as driver basics (from an advanced perspective), the intricacies of cancelling IRPs, etc.
I like Oney's approach to teaching -- he concentrates on the logic of the few dozen basic steps needed to write a driver, leaving it to the samples on the accompanying CD to flesh out the skeleton. This has the advantage of highlighting the mechanics, and the often convoluted reasoning behind them, without sacrificing completeness. He identifies and analyzes many potential race conditions and other pitfalls that you might not think of on your own.
One of the best things about the book is the tips and sidebars. Some examples: why you should use the PAGED_CODE macro and Driver Verifier when using Soft-Ice/W on Win2k; the hazards of using DDK "function calls" that are actually macros; how to ship a single binary for both Win2000 and Win98, given that Win98 doesn't support some key functions (such as those involving IO_REMOVE_LOCK) -- the book suggests writing a VDD with stubs for the missing functions, as explained in Appendix A. The sample code also contains very instructive workarounds for the shortcomings of Win98. Another strong point is the DEVQUEUE code that Oney has developed to extend the standard Windows driver model to handle PlugandPlay. In addition to including the code on the CD, he gives a detailed and highly instructive discussion in the text. DEVQUEUE is a useful tool that can be taken over as-is in your own projects.
Once you've finished this book, you'll be writing much more solid code and have enough technique to pick and choose among methods of your choice, rather than feeling cornered and boxed-in. Oney maintains a web site with errata and updates for the book and code samples (for instance, the stub VDD is now replaced by a filter driver to avoid the need to reboot).



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Robin Williams
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must for WWW designers without a Graphic Arts background


I found this book to be informative, concise, well-presented and at times, humorous. It was precisely the information that I needed - it gave words and reasons to why I liked or disliked certain advertisements and web sites