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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Visual Studio Hacks
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates
Authors: James Avery
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Exceptional Book

This book is a MUST HAVE for your collection. Even the most advanced user will be amazed at the abundance of information to tune and 'turbocharge' the Visual Studio IDE. James Avery did an excellent job of choosing and organizing the content - very highly recommended.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Extreme Programming Installed
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ron Jeffries, Ann Anderson, Chet Hendrickson, Ronald E. Jeffries
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
A step in the right direction, but there are better books

I had hoped this book would give practical development techniques for XP theory as presented in Kent Beck's Extreme Programming Explained. Unfortunately, this book takes a step in that direction and then veers sharply off the path. There are some good ideas and new concepts here, but everything is so vague you have to fill in a lot of gaps to arrive at anything useful. Also, I have to say, the tone of the book is so smug and self-congratulatory at times that it really turned me off.
I found Rick Hightower's Java Tools for Extreme Programming offered much more useful XP coding advice. Mr. Hightower's book explains how to use open source tools Ant, JUnit, Cactus, JUnitPerf, and others. He explains where each tool fits into the XP methodology, and gives buildfiles, complete tests, and techniques for using the tools together to build an XP software development process. This book helped me put the XP methodology into practice.
If your a Java programmer, my advice is to forget Extreme Programming Installed, and pick up Java Tools for Extreme Programming.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: An Introduction to Database Systems (Introduction to Database Systems)
Publisher: Addison Wesley Longman
Authors: C. J. Date
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The database "bible"

Fifteen years later and the book is still on my desk. If you don't have this book, then you really are not an SQL programmer.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Kalen Delaney
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent companion

This book is very comprehensive and discusses, without wasting any space, what you should know if you want to call yourself expert in your role as a SQL Server DBA or even developer. You can find most of the information by using other Microsoft sources, mainly Books Online (BOL), but choosing between the two, I prefer the book thanks to it's pedagogical approach. It's also my first choice as a reference so I try to keep it within arms reach at all times.
As others have claimed, the coverage of the new features in SQL Server 2000 isn't complete, but neither is coverage of the old features. This is just a matter of limited space and doesn't affect my rating of the book since it covers the most important stuff and does it really well. If you already own the SQL Server 7 version of this book, the 2000 version might not add much value to you though.
SQL Server is a huge subject, not possible to cover completely in 1,000 pages. By the end of the book, the author has included a thorough list of suggested additional reading and he stresses the importance of also reading the SQL Server documentation, cover to cover.
I found this book to be the best I've read about the inner workings of SQL Server 2000 and have enjoyed it together with Ken England's SQL Server 2000 Performance Optimization and Tuning Handbook which fills in some gaps for those performance-oriented.
Brilliant as this book is, you still need to complement it with experience and Books Online to master SQL Server and all it's nitty-gritty details.