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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Regular Expressions, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Will help you make sense of a daunting subject.


This is a book about Regular Expressions 'for Perl and Other Tools' but really it's a book about Perl. Other tools are covered, but coverage is a bit woolly, so if you are reading it to get the low-down on Python's RegEx capabilities etc. this book won't get you far. I can't help that feel that if the book had just concentrated on Perl, rather than giving sketchy coverage of `Other Tools', it could have been even better (and would have definitely got five starts). That said, the extra coverage (particularly the RegEx engine material) was very interesting and has turned out invaluable in practice.
If you are an absolute beginner to Perl or programming you will need another book(s) to get the most out of this one, but it is a gentle and thorough introduction that won't leave you scratching your head, which is a feat in itself considering the complexity of Regular Expressions.
This is an excellent book for getting the most out of Perl's RegEx capabilities, you will close the back cover feeling that you genuinely have Mastered the subject. It is without doubt the best book available on the subject, nicely written, with a friendly and un-patronising tone (grammatical errors aside), you can't really go wrong with this one.
There could have been some more useful real world examples/projects included, and the book could probably do with an overhaul (it was published in 97) to accommodate Perl 5.6 and other developments (O'Reilly are you listening?), but it is still the best out there.
If RegEx is a subject you need to get to grips with, this book is the solution.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Enterprise Messaging Using JMS and IBM(R) WebSphere(R) (IBM Press Book)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Kareem Yusuf
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
JMS and WebSphere Made Easy!


This book delivers information that could only be previously pieced together from various presentations, manuals, IBM DeveloperWorks articles, J2EE specifications and web searches in a single, easy to read book. I don't hesitate in recommending it to anyone who is developing or supporting JMS-enabled applications with WebSphere.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Jef Raskin
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
forgettable and ineffective


There are so many books like this one that have been written over the last three decades. And yet hard-to-use computer systems are still produced. I read this book. A few months later someone else told me that I should hand out a chapter to my students at MIT. I made a note to myself to check out this book, having completely forgotten that I'd read it. In fact, it was sitting on a shelf right behind my desk chair!
One reason that this book won't have much impact is that it is not available on the Web. Thus university students worldwide will be unlikely to encounter it (professors only assign hardcopy books that can function as a textbook for an entire semester of a standard subject). So the next generation of engineers will be unaware of Raskin's restatement of user interface principles.
A deeper reason why this book won't have much impact is that it usually requires a working system to get an idea across. For example, a lot of people learned about good UI by using the Apple Macintosh, not by reading the Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines (though that book was/is extremely lucid).
Bottom line: a book on usability that, because it isn't on the Web and isn't organized as a full-term text, isn't usable by 99% of the people who'd be best able to use it.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java 2: The Complete Reference, Fifth Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Herbert Schildt
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A great supplement


This may not be a book for starters, but it sure is one of the best and most comprehensive, let alone comrehendible, reference books on Java that I have found.
I does not teach you how to program, but it certainly provides you with all the you programming code you need to understand how to implement the various classes and functions in Java.
If you're new to Java, this is a must as your second book, and this is a book you're going to keep.