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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Step by Step--Version 2003 (Step By Step (Microsoft))
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Michael Halvorson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
STEPS AHOY...


After reading Microsoft Visual C# .NET Step By Step, I was a bit excited at where Microsoft was moving with the Step By Step series. This particular book, however, sets me back a bit on my praise. First, I should start off by saying this is not a horrible book. If you truly are starting out with Visual Basic .NET, esp. if you have never learned an earlier version of Visual Basic, you can get a lot out of this book. The exercises are excellent, esp. if you are working with desktop apps, and will help you nail down the examples. Now, my real problem with this book is it treats Visual Basic .NET as a toy language. VB has long had this reputation since the IDE did all of the work for you. As all languages are now run in the same IDE, with the same tools, this argument should be moot. Why, then, did the author of this book choose such simplistic drivel when compared to the Visual C# .NET book? Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question. I rate this book as average despite the fact I am a bit disappointed. The reason for the rating is the book does its job. It is a book for beginners (or at least beginners to the language) who want an easy method to learn the new language. If you are an experienced Visual Basic programmer, the Code Techniques for Visual Basic .NET is a much better deal, but I can see that a newer developer can find a lot of value in this book. One warning. While the book does have some information on web applications and services, the primary focus is on building desktop apps. This is not a bad thing if you can separate the language from the implementation, as the concepts in the book are sound. If, however, you are looking for a book that moves farther into web development, you might be disappointed.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Perl Cookbook, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Tom Christiansen, Nathan Torkington
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent practical examples/solutions. Highly recommanded.


Of the large stack of Perl books I've purchased this year, this one seems to get pulled down more than most of the others combined. Whenever I need to do something new in Perl, I always look at the Cookbook for hints, and always a gem of knowledge can be found there. I can now let the "Real Perl Programs" chapter of my worn copy of the old Camel book finally rest in peace. Kudos to Tom and Nathan for such a great resource!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning ASP Databases
Publisher: Wrox Press
Authors: John Kauffman, Kevin Spencer, Thearon Willis, John Kauffman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Meshes ASP and databases together


This book not only taught me how to add, update, read, and manipulate databases, it gave me real situations where a solution was needed. I recommend this book to anyone who knows VERY basic ASP and wants to become a DB guru.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Chuck Musciano, Bill Kennedy
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
What's with the Kumquats?


In deciding to learn HTML I purchased this book with my own hard-earned dollars. I didn't realize what a lame book this was until I later bought the HTML Goodies book by Dr. Joe Burns (Earthweb Press).
HTML, The Definitive Guide is very stale and hard-to-understand. It uses the same example throughout the book.
Dr. Joe's HTML Goodies book is actually enjoyable to read and gives real-world examples of what you can and cannot do with HTML. I'm on my way now.