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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: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A book for starting with Javascript


If you are new to Javascript and want a tutorial, then this book is good for you. You get very quickly an introduction to Javascript through code examples, just as the title of the book tells - Visual Quickstart.
However, if you start to develop real applications, and you want to look for the description of how to implement a Javascript function, then you will probably not find it in the book. The book does not even cover freqently used Javascript functions listed in the function tables.
In other word, if you want just ONE book for JavaScript, this book is NOT for you. Buy "JavaScript Definitive Guide" by David Flanagan. You will find it is worth the money.
Another book in the Visual Quickstart Guide series, "HTML for the World Wide Web", did a much better work.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Revised Core Rulebook (Star Wars Roleplaying Game)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Authors: Bill Slavicsek, Andy Collins, J.D. Wiker, Steve Sansweet
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Poor imitation, limiting system............


It's a pity how a really great game received this poor substitution as a SW RPG. If you want to know what a great Star Wars game is, look for an original version of West End Games one in some e-auction service. The only thing I found page after page was limitation for character development together with a lack of freedom for player's creativity fulfillment, besides the fact it is just an adaptation of D&D 3rd Ed. with a thin tint of SW. I didn't buy this book to play space D&D, with swords and dungeons full of monsters, and this is the perception I got from it. The Jedi classes are really poor character profiles, not able to represent the original movie characters. The races description are so stick to D&D that it seems impossible for the game designer to accept that other alien races could be more powerful than humans, besides the "search for balance" (And the same applies to the Jedi classes). There is an important lack of significance in the space-air-ground piloting and combat, what is just another aspect of this game limitation. All of it seems to show a poor understanding of the SW setting. At least, WotC didn't use the magic system of D&D to represent The Force, but I can guest they were really close to it.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jennifer Fleming
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A good primer for web navigation


Whether you're an experienced web designer, information architect, developer, or business analyst, Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience, is an excellent resource.
While many of the sites that Jennifer lists in her netography have changed and evolved over time, she provides a plethora of examples that are still relevant today. Granted many of her examples are "main stream," alot of great work is being done there. It should be noted that the bibiliography is a bit dated, but again, many of the books referenced in the bibliography would still be relevant today.
Additionally, Jennifer provides lists of questions that should be asked when defining / developing site navigation structures. As a consultant, it is my opinion that that best consultants MUST know the right questions to ask. Ms. Fleming provides us with many of these questions. Having also read Rosenfeld and Morville's: Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, I believe that Ms. Fleming is a better writer (or has a better editor). Quite frankly, Morville and Rosenfeld wrote an incredibly important, seminal book, it just isn't very well written in parts. Additionally, I feel that Ms. Fleming provides the reader with considerably more examples than can be found in Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. Kudos to Jennifer!
While many might consider the last six chapters of the book "fluff," I couldn't disagree more. If you're particularly new to designing web navigation, these chapters provide practical examples and issues to consider for specific types of web sites. Overall, I believe this is a "must read!"



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Study Guide (Exam 310-051)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Paul Allen, Joseph Bambara
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Stay away from this book


Right from the start the book lacks a smooth flow and a sense of purpose. It rambles on and on about the greatness of all things irrelevant (from the exam point of view). The chapter on architecture never seems to end and before we know it we are being told about the parameters and bad practices when it is not clear in the first place what constitutes an architecture. The authors chose to quote some standard definitions but that does not cut it.
There is a chapter on UML which doesn't state anything in precise terms. This is the trend through out the book.
There is a chapter on design patterns and this is an example of how not to teach things. The authors write tons and tons of code detailing what could have been explained by a simple UML diagram. After all UML is on the exam and the chapter on UML precedes the chapter on design patterns. Most of the examples are meaningless.
Then there is a chapter on legacy connectivity which talks about JCA in the text but asks questions about everything non-JCA! This is written for somebody who is aware of JCA. This is not required for the exam. Since I was new to subject matter, I read the specification which like most specs from Sun is really written well and was an easy reading. When I went back to the book, things made sense.
The same patterns are repeated in the chapters on Security, EJB and Internationalization.
If I were to do it again, I wouldn't even touch this book. The books by Richard Monson-Hafael and Cade and Roberts are more than sufficient for the exam. For everything else, there is the spec which should be read at some point anyway.
Most people who take this exam are short of time and the kind of useless diversions offered by the book only waste time.
This examination resembles written exams taken by medical students where the subject matter is vast and trying to cover everything leads to a shallow knowledge. Just as there, the goals here are very clear and if one focuses on knowing the key points, one can reconstitute all the other material by reasoning. This book fails to emphasize the key points. Cade and Roberts do exactly that and that is the difference between a good book and this which is destined to be a door stop.