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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies
Publisher: Pearson Education
Authors: Deepak Alur, John Crupi, Dan Malks
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Design Book, Finally!


I just bought this book and think it is great! Before, I wrote this review I read an earlier review which talked about the examples being light. I really liked the samples. While I would have liked to see more, I thought they were really helpful.
I have been waiting for a J2EE design book for quite a while and was happy to see this one. I primarily work on EJB and found session facade and business delagete very helpful.
This is a great book to help with EJB design.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Dark Side Sourcebook (Star Wars Roleplaying Game)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Authors: Bill Slavicsek, J.D. Wiker
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A place the RPG has never been before...


The Star Wars RPG, even in the hands of West End Games, never ventured to the Dark Side. As far as we can tell, Lucasfilm never wanted to detail material on playing the darker side of the Force in campaigns since they feel Star Wars is a story about good overcoming evil.
Of course, if you are an avid Star Wars roleplayer, you've probably just ventured out onto your own. Now, you have official material that draws together quite a bit of EU books and comics and gives you a solid reference on the history and power of the Dark Side. As a book that summarizes the history of the Sith and the what we know about the villains of the books and movies (so far), it succeeds.
So why not five stars? This book is a double edged sword. The rewrite of Darth Vader's stats continues to illustrate the problems with the armor rules (see my review of the Core Rules for more info here). Dark Side character concepts are presented as Prestige Classes. However, some of the prestige classes have so little requirements that they are practically base classes.
Where else does the book succeed? There is an excellent chapter that is written as an antithesis to the chapter on The Force in the Core Rules. Written in identical style and format, the book intriduces you to the Dark Side's seductive and controlling power. It's a good read for GM's who need to portray this to PCs in their group that are wobbling on the edge.
Depending on your taste for EU, you may appreciate or not appreciate the powerful Dark Side equipment that is more than a match for the game mechanics of the Jedi. Sure, some GM's were looking for a game mechanic based challenge for their Jedi, but others (like myself) felt the constant challenge of tempering the Force with the Jedi Code was difficult enough to roleplay.
Nearly every Star Wars GM will love some parts of this book, and dislike others. That's because covering the Dark Side fully, by necessity, means covering the EU as well. Your own personal taste will come into play when deciding what rules to adopt, and what to leave out. But that's okay, it's a normal part of roleplaying. This one is a good buy.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Internet-Based Systems
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Hung Q. Nguyen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Superb introduction to the complexities of web testing


I have been in web testing for 3.5 years and this was the first book I found on the subject. My only complaint is that it took so long to come out, but I won't hold that against Nguyen or Wiley. It is a superb introduction to the complexities of web testing, which despite the protests of standalone application testers, is much more difficult and technical than traditional application testing. Not only does the tester need to know the basics of application testing, he or she has to know about the complex technology behind the site or application, and Nguyen's book is unbeatable. I've recommended that everyone on my team read it, since they are all new to the art of web testing. I read it cover to cover and it didn't really cover anything I had not learned in 3.5 years of experience, but had it been published when I started, I would have been able to ramp up so much faster. I also recommend that application developers read it in order to understand the role of a tester and to develop professional respect for a much-maligned profession.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Laura Lemay, Richard Colburn, Robert Kiesling
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Best PERL Book Available!


This is both an excellent way to learn Perl and a great reference book. The book is easy to read, really teaches the essentials of the language, and has a great index for reference (although not as good as the previous Perl 4 version of the book).
If you want an andvanced book in addition to this one, I'd recommend Advanced Perl Programming by Srinivasan, from O'Reilly.