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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCAD/MCSD Training Guide (70-310): Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Visual Basic .NET and the .NET Framework
Publisher: Que
Authors: Mike Gunderloy
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Most of what you need for 70-310/70-320


While I was going for the C# track, a friend of mine was going for the VB Track and decided to buy this book. By the time I got to this exam, I just borrowed his book and studied it.
Passed the test today (with a score of 898) and I found I was not prepared in four areas. Two of them I read in the book (calling unmanaged code, Deployment) and felt the book's coverage didn't completely cover the test material in these areas, but was close enough to do okay. The other two, I relied on knowledge from previous exams (Security) or past job experience plus skimming (COM+) and I really should have studied those areas harder in the book.
Two areas are not covered by the book and they are MUSTS for the exam. ADO.NET is a skill you are expected to have for any of the exams. I would suggest finding a good ADO.NET book and write a lot of examples using WinForms or WebForms (whatever you are comfortable with) and exploring Datasets, Datatables, Dataviews, Filters, etc. The other is ASP.NET, particularly configuration, security, tracing and caching. Take 70-305/70-315 FIRST.
And yes, this book + Measureup (which was excellent) were my main resources.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developing Bioinformatics Computer Skills
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cynthia Gibas, Per Jambeck
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A wonderful resource


Biologists, computer scientists, and mathematicians will all find this book useful in linking their various fields together. No, it doesn't cover all the skills and resources necessary to do useful bioinformatics, and it's not intended to. Instead, it offers a sound and very readable introduction to the major aspects of the field and then tells the interested reader where to find out more about each aspect. If you are a student of bioinformatics and/or a working biologist or programmer who wants to move into bioinformatics, this book is essential.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Designer's Reference : An Integrated Approach to Web Design with XHTML and CSS
Publisher: A-Press
Authors: Craig Grannell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A comprehensive and compact all-in-one guide


Although this book has XHTML in the title, don't let it scare you off, it simply means that the advice author gives is XHTML standard compliant. On the other hand, if you are looking for a comprehensive XHTML guide, you may want to look elsewhere, even though there is a reference section specifically about this standard, which is an XML reformulation of HTML, in one of the appendixes.

Another acronym in the title - CSS - cascading style sheets is the preferred mechanism for implementation of design on the web. CSS is growing in popularity as it allows separation of content and presentation on great scale at the same time matching very well to the wide array of http serving technologies from simplest static web pages to dynamic ASP.NET, PHP, and other forms of web sites.

Web design with CSS is in the core of this book, author does excellent job introducing readers to the methodology, and teaches to use deferent aspects: text, images, navigation, layout. The advice is not limited to CSS, on the contrarily, you will see plenty of tips on graphical image preparation for the web, various techniques, JavaScript code, and even some FormMail and PHP suggestions. The later two strictly not belong to the realm of the web design, but this is what makes this book different from many other books, - the out of the box paradigm.

This book was written by an actual artist who is not afraid to let his opinion known on many subjects discussed. You don't have to agree with author on everything, but when you are looking for advise it will be right there in your face, you won't have to dig for it or second-guess it.

This is an excellent well-structured book filled with useful examples. I highly recommend it.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Robin Williams
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A Good Reference to Have


As mentioned in the introduction to the text, this book is not for professional designers. This book is intended for those of us who need to put together a flyer, presentation, or newsletter, but we don't have the background in design. The design the author refers to is the design of the printed page.
The author explains simple principles that help us see what makes for a good design like proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast. There are plenty of before-and-after examples to show you exactly what she means. The explanations are also very understandable. Williams does not preach to you, but rather helps you see the different elements which can make the visual more effective.
There are also some quizzes with answers in the back. Included is a short bibliography so the reader can get more information if he or she chooses.
There are some problems with the book. One, it discusses the use of color, but there are no color pictures to illustrate the point. The author knew the illustrations would no be color so asks you to visualize this in your head. It wasn't the most helpful here.
Also, towards the end, she uses some editing/printing jargon that she never explains. If the reader does not have a design background, why mention leading if not explained?
Overall, I find this book to be very helpful. Knowing the elements I should be looking for ensures that my experimenting with flyers is more productive and effective. I would recommend this book to anyone needing to create newsletters, flyers, and the like.