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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Regular Expressions, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Don't Assume You Know About Regular Expressions...

...as I did just because I took "formal language" and "computation theory" courses at a university. I laughed when I first saw this book in a bookstore years ago, because I imagined the content must be so elementary. Until I actually started reading the book a few weeks ago, I thought all regex engines were essentially what this book refers to as "DFAs." As the author clearly explains, DFAs are "fast, consistent, and boring," while NFAs, the type of engine that most tools actually use, are more powerful but also much trickier to use. The book focuses on using regexes to do useful tasks with real tools. The efficiency of the various types of regex engines is explained, since a slight change in a regex can cause several orders of magnitude slowdown with some engines. While I do agree with the author that "DFA matching is boring", I wish the author had included some discussion of how a state machine can implement a DFA regex for some insight into how DFA engines work. I also wish there had been exercises at the ends of the chapters, in addition to the few questions and answers scattered throughout the book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Charles Petzold
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
5-Stars -- This is the book.

I consider this book to be the bible of programming Windows at the API level. I've looked at maybe all the other books that cover this area, and I think Charles Petzold stands head and shoulders above all of them in his intelligent, skillful approach to teaching a very complex subject. His examples show a tremendous amount of research and understanding of Windows API usage. Awsome.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Understanding .NET: A Tutorial and Analysis
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: David Chappell
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Beats around the bush a lot!

David Chappell got rave reviews for his old book "Understanding ActiveX and OLE" - which I second, whole heartedly. This book on the other hand is a confusing mess on what he wants to say. His explanation of what a web service is in the first chapter is mediocre. He goes round in circles explaning the same thing in different ways that make the explanations really confusing (chaps 4 and 5). This book needs work both in terms of the way he says it and the content itself. Chappell claims that this book is an overview. ...

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Timothy A. Howes, Mark C. Smith, Gordon S. Good, Tim Howes
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Don't buy this book

LDAP and LDAP implementation explained in plain English. A big book with as much information as you could possibly need. It makes a handy reference guide or can be read from start-to-finish. It won't make you an LDAP guru overnight, but maybe in a couple of days.