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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCAD/MCSD Self-Paced Training Kit: Developing Windows-Based Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Microsoft Visual C# .NET
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good tutorial/overview -- not enough for the exam


I passed the 70-316 exam today and used this book for preparation. By and large, I like this book -- it is readable, covers most major topics (I especially like the coverage of testing and debugging and of deployment), and has good labs. It is not enough to pass the exam, though -- some topics (for example, publishing policies, the CASPOL utility, XML validation, and dealing with ASP.NET clients) are not covered even though there were exam questions on these topics. The book never stresses what is really important on the exam (from my experience, three single most important topics are ADO.NET, GUI development, and configuring and securing assemblies.) I would advise to supplement reading of this book with practice exams on Transcender and to read a good ADO.NET book before the exam -- this important topic is not covered well in the book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Art and Science of C : A Library Based Introduction to Computer Science
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Eric S. Roberts
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
In defense of the libraries.


I think the book is an excellent introduction to C placing emphasis on appropriate concepts. All the criticism I have read up to this point basically focuses on the autthor's use of libraries, so let me try to address that.
First, the reviewers give the impression that libraries are difficult to obtain or install. That is simply not true. The libraries are in public domain and available via anonimous FTP.
Second, any reasonable program will use some library facilities: the programming environment may make the fact more or less aparent. To take just one example, I doubt any of the reviewers would go implementing a GUI toolkit from scratch any time they wanted to give a GUI to their program: it's just not worth it. C is known for keeping the language small, and leaving it up to the libraries to implement a lot of common functionality.
So, the choice is not between using libraries and not using libraries, but rather between using ANSI libraries and using other libraries. Using ANSI libraries have the advantage of being standardized. They also have the disadvantage of being potentially incomprehensible to the beginning programmer. As far as I can tell, that was the author's motivation for choosing to use the libraries he developped, not a vicious desire to confuse students. The usual ways of dealing with strings and I/O _are_ introduced in the book in due course: after enough C has been introduced that the reader has a fighting chance at actually comprehending their interface. Eric Roberts clearly explains the reasons for his decision to use separately-developped libraries on page XV of the book.
I feel that the book's focus on abstraction and honesty about the programming/debugging process make it a very good introduction to programming indeed.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: eBay for Dummies, Fourth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Marsha Collier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Simply put: Great Information!


I've been on ebay for a year or so and have sold and bought many items. I bought this book and learned superior ways around the ebay service. Actually, I haven't lost an auction since I read the chapter on bidding. The book also helped me save money on shipping my items. Read this book whether you're a beginner or really into ebay. It'll fill in the blanks that you can't find in other books.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Real-Time Rendering (2nd Edition)
Publisher: AK Peters, Ltd.
Authors: Tomas Akenine-Moller, Eric Haines
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must-have for graphics/game programmers


Real-Time Rendering is a wonderful all-around resource that belongs on the desk of any serious graphics programmer. Moller and Haines have taken a great deal of the research done in this area over the past decade and compiled it into a single, very well-written work. For each topic covered, several algorithms are discussed, with the strengths and weaknesses of each. Although pseudo-code is occasionally provided, source code is not, which I consider a plus, as it causes the focus of the book to remain on the algorithms themselves, not the implementation thereof.
Given the nature of the book, it's not one I'd recommend to beginners; although the first several chapters include a very clear and API-independent introduction to 3D graphics, the rest of the book is well beyond the scope of what most beginners will find useful. However, for anyone serious about the creation of high-performance graphics engines, this book is an indispensable resource.