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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David Flanagan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Fantastic book for Jscript Programming

This book is great if you are are a beginner looker to become a skilled Jscript programmer or if you are a skilled progammer looker to advance your skills. All in all, worth the money.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering BEA WebLogic Server: Best Practices for Building and Deploying J2EE Applications
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Gregory Nyberg, Robert Patrick, Paul Bauerschmidt, Jeff McDaniel, Raja Mukherjee, Gregory Nyberg, Robert Patrick
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not detailed enough

This is an excellent book for the advanced user. The author assumes a knowledge of J2EE/Weblogic and builds on that. The focus of the book is Best Practises in building weblogic applications and it does just that. The book also lists new features in Weblogic 8. I also liked the example application.
If you are a novice user, then this book is not recommended.
If you have worked in J2EE (and specifically weblogic), then this is a must-have on your book-shelf.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Programming for the Absolute Beginner
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Jonathan S. Harbour
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not for beginners, nor entirely for .NET programmers...

The "Absolute Beginners" series is typically great for learning a language if you are a complete newcomer to programming. The title "absolute beginner" suggests this. It's also great because the programming samples are in the form of games.
This book, unfortunately, would probably completely confuse or scare off a new programmer. It is likely to confuse even those who are not new to programming. I have a fair amount of experience with VB6 (medium sized database applications with SQL Server backends) and some with VB.NET (I bought the book mostly for the games, but also as a refresher course), and I found this experience necessary for understanding the first few parts of this book.
The book consistently uses concepts before they're introduced, and in one place even suggests skipping ahead to the next chapter if what you're reading doesn't make sense.
The author makes numerous references to C++ and there are way too many comparisons between VB.NET and VB6. The first few chapters of the book would be way over the head of any brand new programmer. Assembly and machine language are brought up, as well as client/server networks. Why? The author also uses some VB6 in his .NET programs. For example, the "MsgBox" function is not officially a .NET function (it's part of a library .NET keeps to maintain backward compatibility). Sure you can use it, but it may or may not be compatible with other .NET classes down the road (e.g., if you wanted to use it in conjunction with a C# program). It would be best to stick with the more .Nettish "Messagebox.show" command which is entirely compatible with the .NET libraries.
Also used are the VB6 "Len(String)" (instead of "String.Length"), "Instr", "Left" and "Right" functions from the VB6 library. After 5 or 6 chapters I wondered if I was really learning VB.NET or a hybrid of VB.NET and VB6. This wonder turned into a fear: would I have to unlearn anything I picked up in this book? This fear burgeoned to the point that I couldn't continue with the book. I stopped a little more than half way through and returned it to the store.
On the bright side, it was really fun programming the games included in this book. And to be entirely fair, I did learn a lot from this book regardless. His description of variables in VB.NET actually being objects was insightful and well thought out. Nonetheless, the fear that I was absorbing wrong information about .NET eventually overpowered me. It's unfortunate, it could have been a great book. Hopefully there will be a second edition that is more in line with VB.NET and does not mention VB6 or C++ once.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: 3D Game Engine Architecture : Engineering Real-Time Applications with Wild Magic (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive 3d Technology)
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: David H. Eberly
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best documentation for a software architecture ever written?

I don't know if this book the best documentation of a software architecture ever written, but its gotta rate up there. Probably its only rivals would be some of the foundational papers about the design of UNIX.

Why are there so few good contenders? Well, the genre of documentation for software architecture is a demanding one, because you need to master of so many skills in order to do it right. What makes it even harder is that the codebase is always changing in response to bugfixes and enhancements, which puts the documentation in continual jeopardy of drifting away from the codebase it describes.

Yes, this volume is a bit more plodding than Eberly's usual effortless writing style, but remember, he's documenting a software architecture, which is an inherently plodding task. Its ploddinghood is therefore a feature, not a bug. Moreover, he is never gratuitously plodding.

f you want to be a great documentor of software architectures, then pay close attention to the techniques Eberly uses here. Notice how, by casting the documentation in a tutorial form, he simultaniously makes it (1) a much more interesting read, and (2) makes it a dual-use document, invaluable both to newbies getting up to speed and to old pro's wanting to refresh their memory.

Budding game engine developers will find this book invaluable, but they are not the only ones who would benefit from reading it. This book could be profitably used in a general software architecture class, as an example of how to really document a software architecture.

In addition, a game engine's architecture is a superset of many other software architectures. For example, someone who is building a large-scale CAD system, or an EDA package, or an event-driven simulation package, or a physics simulation package, would also save themselves from many unanticipated "gotchas" by giving this book a close read.