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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies
Publisher: Pearson Education
Authors: Deepak Alur, John Crupi, Dan Malks
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good J2EE Desing Patterns Book

If you are looking for design patterns to apply to your site (hopefully before you build it!), then this is a book you will want to consult.It defines and analzyes the strengths and weakness of many different patterns for the three tiers (presentation,business, and data)Some readers have mentioned a lack of code examples...I also feel that the book would have been better if it had more annotated code examples than it does (hence the 4 star rating), but on the other hand this is not really a beginners book in the sense you need to know design patterns as defined in the GoF book...This should not be your first book on patterns, or if it is, you will need to read concurrently a text like "Design Pattens Explained" which is 5 stars all the way.A well designed and architected site will save many hours in maintenance and extension coding...This book is, in my opinion, a good place to start your design efforts.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company
Publisher: No Starch Press
Authors: Owen Linzmayer, Owen W. Linzmayer
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not insanely great, but...

The non-chronological format means that Linzmayer's book is nothing like as gripping a read as Steven Levy's 'Insanely Great'. That said, there are plenty of fascinating info-snippets to keep the Mac trivia junkie satisfied.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Agile Software Development with SCRUM
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Ken Schwaber, Mike Beedle
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book, wish I had it earlier

SCRUM is a "light weight wrapper" of techniques to manage and guide your software projects. Actually, you could use it on a lot of other types of projects, but software is its best use.
What's unique is that it wraps around the "Design it first" school that I follow, as well as the Extreme Programming (XP) school that follows a proto-typing approach.
SCRUM provides the mechanisms for organizing and controlling the development of your software project. You develop a short list of deliverables for the next 30 days and have a series of daily meetings. Oh, there's more to it than this.
In software projects I have followed a process where the design is fully thought out in advance. I say it is 85 % accurate as I know that mid-course corrections will be made as the software is developed and delivered to the client.
On large projects we typically work in 2 week deliverables, the author suggests 30 day "sprints". We break all the projects up into many packages of deliverables. One advantage to this was the client could see progress, give on course corrections, and you'd be sure to get paid. On small projects we have not followed any formal procedures.
What SCRUM does is give me a better, more thought out process for what the author calls these 30 day "sprints." I wish I had read this book earlier.
I picked up the book at a computer store and bought it reluctantly. I had heard good things about SCRUM, but the book looked too small and a quick read at the store didn't really turn me on that much.
But after I sat down to read it at home, I was very pleased. It is a very well-underlined book now.
I agree with the XP folks on the productivity of 2 person programming teams and have found their "test first" approach to be very interesting. However, I do find that their design-on-the-fly approach to be flawed. When XP works, I think it is because it attracts good programmers... it's not the XP proto-typing approach itself. In fact, I think any methodology that relies on proto-typing wears out the goodwill of the client. The clients time is limited and they value it highly.
I will say that I found many interesting ideas in XP. And, I recommend that anyone interested in the subjec of this book, go to the XP websites and read their books (about 6 or so at this time).
SCRUM fits around XP just as well as the design-it-first approach. What I disagree with in SCRUM (and XP) is the use of open office areas for programming. I believe studies have actually been done on this and closed offices, no windows, white walls, lots of marker boards... wins out. Anything beyond trivial programming requires concentration. Noise and movement kills concentration.
The graphics in the book really suck, as they look like they were printed out in some kind of old 320x200 screen resolution. But there is great depth to this book. It's a smaller sized book with small type (but still easy-to-read). So you actually get a lot of meat.
In the future, I will refer to this great book often and recommend all software people read it.
John DunbarSugar Land, TX

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The first T-SQL book I turn to

I'm a consultant working with SQL Server for several years now and I'm using T-SQL more and more each day.
This book is THE FIRST and usually ONLY T-SQL book I reach for when I have a T-SQL question or need a solution. I also own "Transact-SQL Programming" from O-Reilly (ISBN 1565924010), but unfortunately it reads much more like a plain textbook. I really enjoy Henderson's writing style - it's very easy to read for a technical book and one of the few that I can just pickup and read anytime without falling alseep to gleem information from several of the more interesting chapters. There is not a lot of "fluff" added to enlarge the size of the book - the author gets right to the point.
As a previous reviewer stated, "I began moving to the next level almost immediately." If you buy just one T-SQL reference book, this should be it.