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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good book for every one who is programming in Perl

This is a good introduction to Perl, but it is for the novice programmer. I come from a C++ background, and it seemed that half of this book was about half theory that I already know (the syntax is a bit different, but that's no big deal). However, if you have not programmed before, this would be an excellent start. One other point to note is that this book assumes some basic knowledge of UNIX. I work with Macs mostly, so I did not always understand the UNIX references.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Software Engineering (7th Edition) (International Computer Science Series)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Ian Sommerville
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of the best books I've read

Concise is the best word to describe it. Software Engineering covers a broad range of topics - what are software engineers, documentation, designing, architecture (types and methods) - this book is pretty much my bible on all things software engineering.

Here are some of my recommendations:

Professors: This book is best accompanied if you assign a semester long project. My prof did this and it placed the book into a different light. Half the things don't make sense if you simply read the book such as Data Flow Models or even Project Management, but when you assign a project and coincide the project with the material in the book, it's 100 times more helpful and it elucidates the material more and more.

Students: This book covers a lot, so get ready to learn new terms and methods. This book covers Project Management, which helped me out alot. For the most part, it gives you good material on how to write good documentation as well as methods and styles for how to design or architect software. Read, read, read is the best advice I can give you.

Overall, Amazon's ratings go only as far as 5 stars, I'd give this book a 10. It's a keeper in my library and a book that I'll be referencing for years to come.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Working Effectively with Legacy Code
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Michael Feathers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
No more fairy-land

The average book on Agile software development describes a fairyland of greenfield projects, with wall-to-wall tests that run after every few edits, and clean & simple source code.

The average software project, in our industry, was written under some aspect of code-and-fix, and without automated unit tests. And we can't just throw this code away; it represents a significant effort debugging and maintaining. It contains many latent requirements decisions. Just as Agile processes are incremental, Agile adoption must be incremental too. No more throwing away code just because it looked at us funny.

Mike begins his book with a very diplomatic definition of "Legacy". I'l skip ahead to the undiplomatic version: Legacy code is code without unit tests.

Before cleaning that code up, and before adding new features and removing bugs, such code must be de-legacified. It needs unit tests.

To add unit tests, you must change the code. To change the code, you need unit tests to show how safe your change was.

The core of the book is a cookbook of recipes to conduct various careful attacks. Each presents a particular problem, and a relatively safe way to migrate the code towards tests.

Code undergoing this migration will begin to experience the benefits of unit tests, and these benefits will incrementally make new tests easier to write. These efforts will make aspects of a legacy codebase easy to change.

It's an unfortunate commentary on the state of our programming industry how much we need this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Network+ Study Guide, 4th Edition
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: David Groth, Toby Skandier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Book, Many Practice Questions, MORE Than Enough!

I just passed my Network+ exam today and I owe it all to David Groth for writting such an excellent book! I passed with a sccore of 801 out of 900 (89%) and I am only 15 YEARS OLD! I used this book plus Sybex Network+ Test Center, but I owe passing all to this one book. It is written very well, and makes everything easy to understand. All you need is this one book to pass the Network+ easily.
I read this book through about 3 times, first just cover to cover, second cover to cover highlighting important concepts, and the third time just read my highlights. After reading it about three times, I scored a 85% and 89% on the two included practice tests and felt like I was ready to go (most recommend getting at least 90% before trying though). I used two tests from the Virtual Test Center, but those questions were MUCH HARDER than the ones on the real test and didn't help much for the actual test.
This book is split into 10 detailed chapters, about everything you need to know to get started in a Networking carrer. I just complete my A+ Certification two months ago, and if it weren't for school I could have got my Network+ in less than a month. This book covers everything and more that you will see on the test (well, maybe except for 2 or 3 questions, but that's out of 65). The questions are all farily simple, but the hard part is that you need a 752 out of 900 (around 83%) to pass, which is much higher than other IT Certifications. But with this book, you will REALLY understand all the different things and as long as you memorize a few of the essentials (IEE groups, TCP/IP Addresses, TCP/IP Switches, etc.) you will easily pass. Just make sure to read the book a few times, because to get that 752 you NEED to know nearly all of the book.
In addition to the book being awesome, the 20 practice questions at the end of each chapter and the two COMPLETE practice tests on CD (one of them is also in the book) are really what prepare you. More than 3/4 of my test were questions that I had seen before from those practice questions. All the practice questions and detailed answers and really help you grasp the concepts and prepare for the test. There are over 500 questions included with the book, so it's all you need to pass (don't make the mistake I did and waste money on the Virtual Test Center). In addition, to get you started there is an Assesment Test, which really helps you see how much you have to study and in which areas.
Overall, the combination of an excellent book with over 500 practice questions that are nearly identical to the questions from the real thing, this makes for GREAT VALUE and necessary tool to pass the Network+ test. You can spend less than 40 bucks on this book with the practice questions and easily pass if you put your mind to it. Forget wasting $1000's of dollars on classes, this is all you need to succeed!