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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Excel Development : The Definitive Guide to Developing Applications Using Microsoft(R) Excel and VBA(R)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Stephen Bullen, Rob Bovey, John Green
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great tips and techniques in every chapter

In this excellent resource for intermediate to advanced Excel users, every chapter has practical ideas that will help you design robust applications more quickly and consistently. The 'Best Practices' and 'Worksheet Design' chapters have valuable tips for setting up your workbooks, even if you won't use programming. Advanced users can add to their programming skills, by applying the book's techniques for using API calls, creating add-ins, building custom charts, and many more features.
You can work through the book's exercises, using the CD's sample files, to build the sample application. Or skim through the book, and use it as a reference for its advanced topics. Either way, the book will pay for itself many times over.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Windows Forms Programming in C#
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Chris Sells
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The MUST HAVE Guide to WinForms Development

Whether you're approaching .NET for the first time or digging yourself out of trouble in mid-project, this is the book for you.

It's more than thirty years since I was a novice developer so I can't say this should be your very first programming book. It doesn't teach C#. It doesn't teach general programming skills. So maybe you could get lost if you'd never built a real application before.

Let's just say I've had more than a little experience building commercial applications. So when my next project was in .NET, I bee-lined to the big box bookstore and settled in for a long day of skimming every relevant book I could find. Most were easily discarded ... the 800 pound regurgitations of MSDN, the illiterate tours of the obvious, ... you know the breeds.

Then I picked up Sells on WinForms. My next few hours, wedged among the stacks, were rewarded with thoughtful, informative, clear, well-illustrated and entertaining accounts of subjects I desperately needed to know. If you are the least bit uncomfortable with delegates and events (or can't admit it to yourself but know someone who does), read the fairy tale in appendix `B'.

The early chapters on Forms and User Controls are a model of good pacing and rich detail. Sells doesn't tell us everything we could know. He tells us what we might want to know ... and why. He is superb at motivating each concept and example. Motivation aids our understanding and propels us forward through the chapters, certain of their direction and significance.

This wonderful book doesn't cover every topic and indulges some I could do without. I skipped the two long chapters on drawing, something I've never used in a business application. On the other hand, the "Applications and Settings" and "Data Binding" chapters are without peer.

Many months later, I've finished several WinForms projects ... and been well-paid for them. I'm still going back to this book, now mostly to compare notes. I've got my quarrels but I always find over-looked gems and subtleties that escaped my first few readings. Maybe I'll get around to those Drawing chapters.

One reason I come back is that I'm doing my own training these days. My company hires and trains seasoned developers and we train our clients too. Not all have .NET experience. I'm grateful to lean on Sells and I tell everyone: buy this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: REALbasic: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Matt Neuburg
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book

Neuburg has compiled here a collection of his observationsabout REALbasic, and he is clearly a proponent. His target audience, however, is unclear. At times he seems to assume the reader *does* have programming experience (he laments without explanation the lack of grep functionality) while at other times he goes to great lengths to explain elementary concepts. He admits to a certain animosity toward Computer Science majors (which he is not) yet demands that the reader absorb his pet (and sometimes nonstandard) terminology. In short, he's a schoolmarm. (Ouch! I can just feel that ruler on the knuckles.)
The value of this book, as I see it, lies largely in the doggedness of the reader (trying to figure out what the author meant), and I'd have to give the reader at least as much credit as the author, when the reader actually reaches some point Neuburg is trying to make (or finally decides the trip wasn't worth it). There is grain here, but there is chaff as well--and only your effort will separate them.
I can personally attest to the autocratic attitude this author takes when confronted with alternate views...and I can tell you that you *must* first laboriously plod through his obscure corrections, because even some code is in error as published. And still you will find that the corrections in part waste your time, as Neuburg (in character) daydreams, speculates, and pontificates...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

First of all I have seen a few guides from Brady Games, and in my opinion, this one has to be one of the worst that they have ever written. This guide contains very little information about secrets, boss strategies, general tips, hints, etc. Throughout the entire guide (yes beginning to end, and it gets worse the further you get into the guide) the book consistantly wants you to go to a website to get information about parts of the game. The majority of the time the information that you would like (and sometimes need) is not included in the guide, and is only located on the website. This gets very aggrivating very quickly. Suppose I don't have a connection to the internet, or have a computer that connects to the internet over a slow phone line. Now what does the reader do Brady Games? I can get on the internet and download a guide off of the internet that is more comprehensive than the one written by Brady Games. If I'm going to buy a guide, I would like it to cover everything in the game, and contain every little piece of information contained in the game as well. If you want to get all of the information about Final Fantasy IX from this guide you have to visit playonline and give out your personal information which isn't a good idea. Why would playonline need your personal information anyway if all you are going to do is view their website? If you are looking for a guide that will only give you the basics, and tell you which direction to go, then you should buy this guide, but if you are looking for a real comprehensive guide, then look for a different guide.