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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core JavaServer Faces (Sun Microsystems Press Java Series)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: David Geary, Cay Horstmann
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
good intro to JSF

"Core JavaServer Faces" introduces JSF to programmers only requiring HTML and Java knowledge. The first chapter explains how to setup the examples using Tomcat and Ant. The authors show everything needed to run all the examples, including the directory structure.

Most of the book is also appropriate for experienced web developers. The second half has involved topics. The authors include a few comparisons to Struts and comment on how to combine the two frameworks. The authors keep most of the technical/advanced concepts at the end of the chapters and mark them clearly.

The first half of the book explains JSF. It includes everything you should know to use a framework, such as lifecycle and tags. The second half of the book shows how to use JSF with longer examples. This includes Tiles, custom components, JDBC and LDAP. There is even a chapter of wireless devices and combining JSF with MIDP. The last chapter is 25 "How do I ___" questions, like those at JavaRanch.

The book highlights best practices where possible. It uses some, such as style sheets and message bundles, through the examples. It even mentions cross-site scripting attacks and how JSF can assist in preventing them.

I had a copy of the first edition first printing. There were some minor typos and a missing reference, but the authors promise this will be corrected in the next printing. The reference is also on the book's website. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Andrew Hunt, David Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
If you write code for a living, you should read this book!

This book is decades overdue. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned programmer, it's not too late to learn effective and efficient ways to design and code industrial strength applications. In today's competitive software environment, one cannot risk working without the techniques presented by the "Pragmatic Programmers."
Andrew Hunt and David Thomas definitely know what they are talking about. Each chapter emphasizes new ways to improve and strengthen your current skills. If programming is your intended profession, don't waste another day doing things the wrong way. Start with the right frameset and place yourself among the "Pragmatic Programmers."

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not enough info to pass both exams

This book is heavy on hardware and light on the operating systems. I destroyed the hardware exam with a 946, but then I've been working on PCs (building them, breaking them, putting them back together) for 5 years now. The OS exam was a lot different. I passed by one question. Probably two-thirds of the questions I had were not covered in this book and I had to draw on experience for the answers. This is a great book if you want to learn about PC hardware but not so great if you have little experience and are trying to get into the technology industry. The practice tests included with this book were only slightly helpful as I found a number of wrong answers and most of the questions in the practice tests covered items that weren't on the exams. Find a different book to read if you really want to pass the exams.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL: The Complete Reference, Second Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: James R Groff, Paul N. Weinberg
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good, but could have been great

This book is, at the same time, too complete and not complete enough. The entire back half of it deals with things I'll never need, but when it came time to learn the functions, there was hardly any discussion. I've noted that this is the major gripe of other people as well.
Still, it's many, many, many simple examples are very helpful to a novice/intermediate user such as myself, and I've found it easy to follow because of them.