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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Writing Excel Macros with VBA, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Steven Roman
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
An unpleasant read, but with good information...

First off, let me point out that I like O'Reilly books, typically. They strike a good mix between readability and content. However, this book is severely lacking in the readability department. Perhaps it's naive of me to expect to be getting my feet wet in writing macros from the earliest chapters on, or to expect clarity from the author. Instead, the book's ongoing project doesn't start up until the tenth chapter (of 22), and from that point on, the clarity is lacking. Steven Roman seems to have adopted the writing approach of "throw lots of information at them, then try to make it clear with a few examples." While clarity may come (with some effort on the reader's part), a good author would never let the reader lose coherence like that. On the other hand, the book is full of useful information (after you've sifted through the muddy explanations, anyhow). Perhaps you should buy this book if you absolutely can't find another book that looks more promising.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Official GNOME 2 Developer's Guide
Publisher: No Starch Press
Authors: Matthias Warkus
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent intro

I'm more of a command line kind of guy, but there are things better done in a graphical treatment. When this is true, I often resort to HTML, but that isn't always suitable either. Most of what I've read about GUI programming has left me feeling daunted by the learning curve, and the writing itself has mostly been difficult to read and unsatisfying
This book was a delightful exception. As its introduction promises, the content "lies somewhere between a tutorial and a reference". The code examples are often just the kind of things you would write yourself to test-drive your understanding; no unnecessary fluff. There are complete programs also, and these are downloadable from the No Starch web site.
Matthias Warkus has a real knack for explaining complex subjects. I particularly liked his way of explaining object inheritance, which is completely upside down from the way it is usually presented, and thereby makes a much more understandable case for using OO code.
The first chapter is an overview of GLib capabilies. I was quite surprised at the things GLib includes: I come from the days when you needed to buy commercial libraries to get features like memory management, linked lists, B-trees, etc. The second chapter covers GObject, which adds Object Oriented capability to standard C programming. That's an important aspect of Gnome: it is plain vanilla C with the OO stuff added on through the GObject library. For those of us who have yet to be entranced by C++, that's important.
Chapters three and four explain GTK+ and the Gnome libraries, the overlap between them, and hen you'd use either. Chapter five is a lucid introduction to Glade, the interactive development tool for Gnome. I was interested to note that Glade produces XML files that your programs references through calls to Glade libraries.
The rest of the book is miscellaneous coverage that wasn't covered elsewhere; compiling issues, configuration helpers like Gconf. I had ben previously unaware of the GnomeVFS discussed in chapter eight which allows your program to transparently access remote web servers and archive formats like PKzipped files.
All in all, this looks like a very good intro to Gnome GUI development.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft SQL Server 2000 in 21 Days (2nd Edition, Book Only)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Richard Waymire, Rick Sawtell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Worth the Investment

Are you desiring to become a competent DBA, pass the related MCP exam, get hands on experience with and understand the general methodology of all features, or just dabble with some basic Transact SQL on SQL Server 2000 look no further. The book is written for persons with no to intermediate experience but the information contained within is applicable to all skill levels. The delivery of information is depicted in a clear and concise manner. The authors have definitely been around the block with previous versions of Microsoft SQL Server. Their experiences conveyed are instrumental in your present and future employment plus will save you valuable time that can be utilized more wisely elsewhere. My thoughts are if you desire to build a house you need to build a strong foundation first. If you don't you'll have ongoing structural problems and a leaking roof etc. This book will provide you with a strong foundation if you work through and apply its teachings. Prior to purchasing this book I've implemented and supported approximately thirty plus databases on Microsoft SQL Server 6x and 7 and one on 2000.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003 Inside Out
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Jim Buyens
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great reference book!

This book is a great reference book for new and intermediate users and designers of FrontPage! It is helpful for team projects and I am working with several teams right now in designing our publication web sites. noe@journalist.com