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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Solaris Internals: Core Kernel Architecture
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Jim Mauro, Richard McDougall, Sun Microsystems Press
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent reference on Solaris Internals! A must buy!


Don't have words to express the work done by these two! Great reference for Solaris SA's and programmers.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David Flanagan
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The best Javascript reference


This is the best Javascript reference available.
The book is divided into three sections. The first covers "Core Javascript", defining the language itself with only occasional references to how you might use it in a browser. This initially seemed to me to be a roundabout way to approach the language--why wouldn't you want to explain it by examples in a web page? However, after becoming more familiar with the language I think it was absolutely the right decision, since it avoids confusing the document object model (see below for more about that) with the language itself, a confusion common among beginners.
At the end of the first section (which developers experienced in other languages can skim, but shouldn't skip) you know what Javascript code looks like and how to do assignments, define functions, and so on. The second section, "Client-side Javascript", is where examples start to show up that you can really run in a test page of your own. The examples are good and there are plenty of them.
The heart of the second section is the discussion of the document object model. After some introductory discussion, covering windows and frames and some of the more common Javascript tasks, there's an overview of the DOM. Subsequent chapters cover it in more detail. This organization makes it pretty easy to find what you need without even resorting to the index. For example, I find the forms chapter, and the chapter on how to use cookies to save state, to be very useful, and easy to find information in.
Finally, there's a reference section at the back. This is the most valuable section once you're well on your way with the language, and is what I now use most of all. It's comprehensive and clearly written.
The book does have one weakness, which has been noted by other reviewers here: it doesn't have a "cookbook" section, showing you how to do common tasks with Javascript. This is a serious omission because of the nature of Javascript usage. Very often a webmaster for a small non-profit or a small business will decide they want to do a rollover, or add an alert for form validation failures, or something similar. Users like this need something equivalent to the "Perl Cookbook"; a "How to . . ." section that gives you an example close to what you need.
Despite this caveat, however, this is still the best book around: an excellent reference, and a great way to learn the language.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Steve Krug
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Simple design principles that work


Ordinarily, I avoid using the phrase "common sense", considering it to be one of those generalities used when you are unable or unwilling to categorize an algorithm. However, in this case, it applies and is the only phrase that can be accurately used to describe web design techniques. The author is refreshing, in that he avoids any hint of passion in the explanations of what is right and wrong about web design. Taken by itself, his "what you use depends on the situation" approach appears to be wishy-washy. However, the most important point of the book, namely that there is no such thing as a typical web user, makes this a requirement. His other point about the necessity for usability testing is one that we all understand. However, the points about getting effective feedback using only a few people is so correct that it will foster disbelief in those who believe that you must spend big to get the best results. Such people ignore the simple rules of statistical sampling. In a population with a great deal of overlapping variation, the random choice of three or four will almost always provide a group covering much of the spectrum. The key to getting effective feedback about a site is not to sample large but to sample well and pay attention to what the subjects say. All feedback must also be passed through a reality analysis filter as well. There as many shades of like and dislike concerning the style of a web page as there are opinions about economic policy. As the author so effectively points out, a user saying "I like it" can range from, "I like this feature and will not use the site without it" to "I like this feature but will happily use the site if it is not there." The first is of course the most serious, but it also must be exposed to a critical examination before being taken seriously to the point of inclusion. In summarizing the content of this book, it may appear that I am killing it with faint praise when I say that the best way to describe it is that the advice is practical. However, in the emerging art form known as web design, that is as good as it can get.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning the bash Shell, 3rd Edition (Nutshell Handbooks)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cameron Newham
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Can't Live Without It


O'Reilly has become the de facto for techie books. They are immensely helpful when you just want to dig your feet in and get hardcore with coding. They make for easy reads. Examples are practical and clear.
I find this book to be a great reference tool when working on the Unix command line in the Bash Shell environment. I highly recommend this book if not for reading purposes but as an excellent source of feedback if you are not sure what commands you should be using.
Whilst you do have manpages, which are often handy, this book brings you clarity and elaboration when coding may not come to you that easy as it does for others. Learn Bash without bashing your skull on the keyboard in frustration.