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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Packed with valuable information

In reading over the reviews it is easy to find people who are quite hostile to what Nielsen has to say and it's easy to understand why--he insults and threatens their very approach to web design. Nielsen's message is really quite simple: web sites should be constructed for the end user, not to demonstrate the skills and ego of the designer. Unless you are designing a site that is intended simply to demonstrate the breadth of your abilities, designing is not about fun--it's about taking information and making it as accessible as possible for your end users. It can be fun, but your own enjoyment shouldn't be the purpose.
In Designing Web Usability Nielsen does an effective job of demonstrating ways in which you can help your users to move through your site efficiently and accurately. Individual sections may seem seem somewhat self-evident, but taken as a whole these sections add up to an impressive amount of information.
Of particular interest are chapters 4: Site Design, and a section in chapter 3 on writing for the web. In the section on site design he discusses issues such as using navigational cues to orient the reader to where they are, where they've been, and where they can go, and different types of organizational schemes. As a technical communicator I found the section on writing for the web particularly relevant. Put simply--most people do not like to read online. You have a second or two to grab their attention and only a bit longer to hold them there if they are intrigued. Relevant information needs to be placed front and center and should be foregrounded through the effective use of headings, bulleted lists, etc. This section does a good job explaining how to do so.
None of this is to say that Nielsen is without fault. I do believe that there are times when his rules should be broken. He seems to assume that conveyance of information is the only purpose of the web and, obviously there are many other reasons people surf. Nevertheless, if your site has the purpose of communicating information of some form, this book should be read and absorbed.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Servlet Programming, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jason Hunter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of best written book

This is the type of servlet reference I have been trying to get a hold of for a long time and it is easy to by books that don't really have the type of content you are looking for. I write servlets on a daily basis as part of my job and most of the time,I need just enough reference to get me going in the right direction. This is an excellent resource to have and most of all, it pretty good reading and will get you started on e-commerce type servlet application development. Yep - this is another excellent OReilly book. Good job Jason Hunt.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Kalen Delaney
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book.

This is a must have book for any serious SQL Server programmer.I was amazed by the level of details that the book covers. It is the BIBLE of Microsoft SQL Server 2000. From the architectural viewpoint, there no way to compare this book with any other in the market. It shows you the implementation as well as the programming details of Microsoft SQL Server. If you are serious about knowing SQL Server inns & outs. Get this great book. I enjoyed every paragraph and page along the way.

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 Basic Coverage of J2EE Patterns

It covers the basic patterns involved in developing J2EE applications from the presentation, business and the integration or data tier. Since it covers all tiers of a J2EE application, it can't be too details to cover a wider area, otherwise the book will just be too thick. It's a great book for those starting to develop J2EE application.
With the combination of "EJB Design Patterns" as the dessert, it would make a more complete meal.