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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Services Platform Architecture : SOAP, WSDL, WS-Policy, WS-Addressing, WS-BPEL, WS-Reliable Messaging, and More
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Sanjiva Weerawarana, Francisco Curbera, Frank Leymann, Tony Storey, Donald F. Ferguson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good choice to understand the current and new standards...

Web services has grown beyond just the basics, and there are a number of new standards emerging. To keep up from an architectural standpoint, a good choice might be Web Services Platform Architecture by Sanjiva Weerawarana, Francisco Curbera, Frank Leymann, Tony Storey, and Donald F. Ferguson (Prentice Hall PTR).

Chapter List:
Part 1 - Introduction: Service-Oriented Architectures; Background; Web Services: A Realization of SOA
Part 2 - Messaging Framework: SOAP; Web Services Addressing
Part 3 - Describing Metadata: Web Services Description Language (WSDL); Web Services Policy
Part 4 - Discovering Metadata: Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI); Web Services Metadata Exchange
Part 5 - Reliable Interaction: Reliable Messaging; Transactions
Part 6 - Security: Security; Advanced Security
Part 7 - Service Composition: Modeling Business Processes: BPEL
Part 8 - Case Studies: Car Parts Supply Chain; Ordering Service Packs
Part 9 - Conclusion: Futures; Conclusion; References; Index

It used to be you only needed to know a few basic things about web services, like WSDL, SOAP, and maybe UDDI. But now there's a whole new slew of standards and acronyms for web services, usually starting with WS- (WS-Policy, WS-Addressing, and so forth). The first step you need to take is to figure out what the new standards are and how they fit into the overall picture. The authors do a good job of this in the book. They present an architectural diagram that shows the whole SOA stack of where each piece fits. Then they have each "part" of the book cover the current and new web services standards that fit in that area. For instance, when you read the section on discovering metadata, you'll get the explanation of both UDDI (the common current standard) as well as coverage on WS-MetadataExchange, which is where things are going. That combination of current and future standards makes for a strong understanding of the technology as well as the opportunity to compare and contrast quite easily.

This isn't a book I'd recommend to someone who wants an in-depth understanding of any single standard that's covered. The information is just detailed enough to give a system architect the skills they need to design an application using the technologies, but not enough to answer all the "how do you glue this to that" questions a coder would ask. But I'd still recommend it to the coder and the architect so that they'd learn what it is they don't know, and learn how to frame all the details in their further studies.

Good material, and one of the more current and up-to-date titles out there...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days (4th Edition) (Sams Teach Yourself)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Rogers Cadenhead, Laura Lemay
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Making learning Java a pleasure

I have really enjoyed reading this book and doing all of it's examples. It also put object oriented programming into language that I understand. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn Java 2 and have!!!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Excel 2000 Step by Step (Step By Step (Microsoft))
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Catapult Inc.
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Invaluable Resource for Beginner to Intermediate Users

I ordered Microsoft Excel 2000: Step by Step to aid myslef in becoming more acclimated in the Excel platform. I have made spreadsheets and charts before using Excel 95 & 97, but it had been some time since I last employed Excel. Also, I never claimed to be the Excel Master that others profess to be. That's why I purchased this book - to not only make me proficient with Excel, but to bolster my abilities so that I will pass the Microsoft User Specialist Excel Master exam and become a Certified Excel Master and receive my pretty little certificate in the mail.
The 18 easy to follow chapters range from setting up a simple worksheet, integrating Microsoft Office data, distributing data online, sorting, filtering, & subtotaling data, as well as making amazing charts, graphs, and flowcharts that will be attention-getters and jump out at their audience. The extensive hands-on exercises utilize the copious amounts of example spreadsheets contained on the CD-ROM that allow you to move at your own pace while concurrently mastering Excel 2000.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developing Bioinformatics Computer Skills
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cynthia Gibas, Per Jambeck
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Very bad title

It is a cardinal sin to tack an inaccurate title to a piece scientific writing, but that's what happened here. The title "Bioinformatics Computer Skills" seems to imply that the book will teach *skills.* It would be better titled "Bioinformatics Computer Resources," and it does a pretty good job of trying to describe the areas where IT and biology overlap, although that is a vast undertaking for a slim book. And this book does not replace any standard reference in either field.
For the programmer, this book will steer them towards major resources for bioinformatics. For the biologist, there are thumbnail descriptions of important programming tools, minus the IT handwaving argle-bargle.
But in no sense does it build "skills." There's not enough biology here to benefit a programmer, and there's not enough IT to benefit a biologist. This book will not prepare either a biolist or programmer to do even simple tasks.