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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Surprisingly Useful and Inspiring! I Recommend It!

Unlike other Peachpit Press Visual Quickstart Guides, this is a VERY weak coverage of the topic, which will leave most buyers wanting. Typical of the lack of content is the description of how to do loops. "The kind of loops used in this book is the for loop..." No other types of loops are even mentioned. Does JavaScript provide while loops or until loops - or even the dreaded infinite loop? You'll have to look elsewhere to find out. The part on defining functions says you usually use an event handler to call a function, and gives no hint of other uses for functions - and this is also the only treatment of event handlers! It's true that you can call a function from an event handler, but often you use functions in calculations of values or in the logic of if statements. These more normal uses of functions are only treated in this book by use in the example scripts. You have to discover them for yourself. Event handlers are presented as if the only thing you can do is call a function. Can you also put code right in the handler? You won't find the answer in this book.
If you're looking for a few useful but trivial scripts, this book is an awfully expensive way to get them. If you're after a decent language reference book, this definitely isn't it. Save your money.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Joe Celko's SQL for Smarties: Advanced SQL Programming
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Joe Celko
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book is one of the first references I have found on SQL that doesn't spend 75% of the book discussing simple Select, Update and Delete statements. This book covers a lot of areas that makes it easy to find what you want in one source. I would be hard pressed to find a better book on this subject.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Programming with Java for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Barry Burd, Barry Burd
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Only Good Beginning Java Book

I took a class in Java last year and was very unhappy with the Deitel book used, as it was lacking understandable material and humor. When I went to the library I found a bunch of Java books but they all looked too confusing to me. I got home and used a trusty ol' Amazon search and found this book. I immediately went in a mad search around Pittsburgh for this book, as I didn't have time to wait for the shipping. I found it and was glad I bought it. It's clear, humorous, and is so well-written that even a person in their 80s could figure out how to program. Buy this--you'll be glad you did.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not fun at all...

When I had to take a Scheme course in college, I was already intimately familiar with C++ and assembly programming, so when the professor commented as to how fun to use and simple Scheme is, and how well written this book is, I got into a bit of a lazy gear and prepared for an easy time.
Well...I was wrong!!! Or rather, the professor was wrong. This book, and the Scheme language especially, is just horrible. I was an experienced programmer, and I still found it a tough time trying to write programs based on this book. I knew what recursion was, but I wasn't prepared to deal with a language methodology that did not allow functions with multiple statements, but instead forced everything to be done with recursive calls. Iterative processes are done recursively, mind you!!
This book is supposed to teach "proper programming practice" to fresh students with no programming experience. Instead, this book, coupled with the programming philosophy of Scheme reads like a decree from an evil dictator. Without much ado, it covers abstractions such as passing procedures and data around as one and what's more, uses complex math topics as examples for what can be implemented with Scheme!! The book does a shoddy job of explaining the language. I've found countless inconsistencies between what the book says and how the language works. For example, the book says that nil is a built in constant for an empty variable, yet the scheme implementation doesn't recognize it. That's just one example.
I've talked with beginner students, and they all mention how the C programming class was much easire than scheme. There you have it, the book is supposed to introduce beginner to proper programming, but instead, it imposes on them a very strict and IMHO very crappy language, couple with an overall tone of a graduate level computer sciece or math course.
I really think if taught properly, a langauge like C++ can be a much better tool for beginners.
In any case, beginners steer clear of this terrible book, and experienced programmers too...it won't tell you anything new. You'll come out feeling like you've been grabbed by the hair and dragged around in mud.