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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, Don Roberts
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This book is changing the way I program.

This is a terrific book that shows you how---with discipline and care, but without magic---you can improve the internals of existing programs. We've all come to believe over the years that software inevitably becomes more complex and brittle as it evolves and is maintained, but refactoring shows that it doesn't have to be that way. We're very lucky that the first book to cover refactoring in detail is such a gem.
The organization of this book is similar to that of "Design Patterns": introductory material that explains what refactoring is, how it works, and why it's important, followed by a catalog of refactorings that you can use in your programs. Fortunately, Fowler is a very entertaining writer, and "Refactoring" is much easier to read than "Design Patterns". Furthermore, many people, especially beginners, find it easier to see how to apply refactorings than patterns, and the book contains first-rate tips for identifying code that needs to be refactored.
If you write code, buy this book. Read it. Apply it. Your employers and your fellow programmers will thank you, and you will enjoy programming more.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP and MySQL, 3rd Edition
Publisher: SitePoint
Authors: Kevin Yank
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A great overview of of a complex process

This is a great book for someone getting started in serving up dynamic webpages. It provides an excellent introduction to PHP and MySQL (including installation) and how to make them work together. The power user will want to go on to other resources, but this one will get you over the startup hump.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Color Confidence: The Digital Photographer's Guide to Color Management
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Tim Grey, Sybex
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Great book, if you don't know what you're doing

I know a lot of people who are totally lost when it comes to producing prints they like. A watercolor artist friend struggles with her Minolta 7i and Epson 2200, jumping through hoops and tweaking images in Photoshop and/or the printer driver. This book (along with monitor calibration) would solve her problems. The advice is comprehensible and comprehensive.I have been there and done that; owned two Epson 1200s using profiles and inks from a well-known source but never achieved success. If you have felt that pain, read this book.I subscribe to the author's free mailing list, and find that the accuracy of information in this book is actually better than that he provides online. Tim Grey knows his stuff, though (OT) he seems to be confused about imager size and depth of field. If you already calibrate your monitor, use accurate profiles for your paper/printer/ink, and such, the incremental knowledge you'll gain from this book will be modest. The workflow I use with my Epson 7600, Bill Atkinson profiles and Eye One Display are very similar to the author's recommendations. If you have gotten that far, you don't need Color Confidence.If what I just wrote is Greek to you, Color Confidence has the info to get you on the right track. Just be forewarned that you're going to have to fork over for monitor calibration tools or the books's suggestions won't do you much good. That will set you back 3-5 times the cost of the book. You may also have to invest in printer profiling, for $50-1,500 depending on how you approach it.I also own Real World Digital Photography, Second Edition, which was co-authored by Grey. I'd say that both of these are quite informative if you are a novice, but less so if you are reasonably advanced in digital imaging.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft(r) SQL Server(tm) 2000 Analysis Services Step by Step
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: OLAP Train, Reed Jacobson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very well done

The book covers Analysis Services quite well if you are willing to go through the steps that they have for each section. As the name implies it steps you through examples and is NOT a reference guide by any means. It is also not a step by step guide that you can just read. You must be working through the examples while you read or you will get lost pretty fast because many examples build on previous ones. Their coverage of MDX is fairly weak unless you need exactly what they query on. Other than that they cover the topics pretty well.