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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Microsoft .NET Compact Framework (Core Reference)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Andy Wigley, Mark Sutton, Rory MacLoed, Robert Burbidge, Stephen Wheelwright
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Introduction To The .NET CF

I've been reading this book for a couple of weeks now and this is a good book for those who are beginning .NET programming with mobile devices using the .NET Compact Framework. Here are the different parts of the book:
1. .NET Compact Framework ArchitectureThis section mainly goes through the history of PDAs, starting with the first portable computer, the Osborne-1. It then compares the different development tools with .NET, such as eMbedded Visual Basic. It does a great job explaining the .NET framework fundamentals (CLR, MSIL...), as well as what the .NET compact framework is all about. For those who aren't familiar with .NET, this is a great beginning to your .NET journey. If you are already familiar with .NET, just skim through it since you probably already know most of what this section contains.
2. Developing Applications with the .NET Compact FrameworkThis section goes through building the GUI and windows forms, testing and debugging your application, and completing and distributing your applications. This section is very well written and has been helpful. It goes through building different controls and what problems you may have to think about because of the limited form size on PDAs. It also talks about all the debugging functionality .NET has built into it, such as breakpoints, exception handling, and watching variables. Probably the mort important part is completing and distributing your application and it does a satisfactory job, although the book didn't actually go through a full example.
3. Common Programming TasksThis section talks about different collection classes, such as arrays, arraylists, and stacks. It also discusses date and string manipulation. XML, File I/O, networking, and security each have a chapter dedicated to each subject. I spent most of my time with XML and security in this section.
4. Connecting With DataThis section goes through ADO.NET. It does a fantastic job of describing each .NET data object and has plenty of code to show how to use each. I got a bit confused some of the time due to the number of ADO.NET objects out there. Also, it talks about connecting your data with SQL Server, XML web services, and SQL Server CE. Plan on spending a lot of your time in each of these chapters, although I kind of skimmed through the SQL Server section since I plan on storing data locally in SQL Server CE and using RDA/XML web services to connect the data to enterprise systems. For those of you who are new to .NET, this part of the book is well worth the money.
5. Advanced Mobile Application DevelopmentThis section goes through custom controls, globalization/localization, multithreading, graphics programming, interoperating with native code, and cross-framework development, i.e. migrating eMbedded Visual applications. I didn't spend much time in this part because by the time I was done with ADO.NET, I was ready to rock.
Overall, I'm very pleased with this book. If you want to do PDA development, definitely get this book (I think at this time, it's the only resource book out there anyways). Whether you are seasoned .NET programmer, or someone new, this book is a definite must have in your library.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Oracle Certified Professional Application Developer Exam Guide
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies
Authors: Jason Couchman, Jason Couchman
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
One of few books on the subject, but many mistakes...

Unfortunately, this is one of the few books available for Oracle developers. It's released by Oracle Press, so you'd thik it would be a comprehensive exam guide. But unfortunately, it isn't. It covers only about 75% of the exam material. On top of that, there's a good amount of wrong information, and missing files (that are supposed to be on the enclosed CD), with no web site for support. If you want to get certified, you really need this book. But, I'm unimpressed with it,overall.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning the bash Shell, 3rd Edition (Nutshell Handbooks)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cameron Newham
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good Place to Start

This book is an excellent resource for Linux-literate individuals. I use it to tutor students and adults on Bash shell programming. For beginners, it may be too difficult, but the people with hands-on experience will appreciate its content of the each chapter. It lacks real-world examples but with imagination and creativity, you can easily drum up a number of viable samples. This book is not for people who need to be spoon-fed.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle9i PL/SQL Programming
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Scott Urman
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good, but declining!

I have several books by Urman. I have both 8i PL/SQL Programming books by Urman, as well as the 2001 edition of the 9i PL/SQL Programming book.
The 8i edition of this book is is 978 pages. The 2001 edition of the 9i book is 631. The 9i book has much less content than the 8i book even though more features have been added to Oracle 9i. There is also a large "Advanced" 8i PL/SQL Programming book because the basic book is just not big enough at 978 pages!
My conclusion is that while you MUST own this book, the 9i book does not adequately cover PL/SQL programming. Too much is left to the reader to puzzle-out on his own using other books and resources like Metalink or on-line documents. Why the book shrunk since 8i is a real mystery . . .