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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A great book to be nibbled at

The first time I picked up this book, I found it dry, and tough to read. I bravely worked my way through almost two hundred pages because I thought these were things I should know, but had to put it away because I was falling asleep. I realized when I put the book down, that I had remembered only maybe half a dozen things, and those only in an abstract sense.
There were a couple things wrong about my approach. First, although I fancied I was a reasonably seasoned programmer, I was not a seasoned OO programmer even in my own imagination. Second, I read and read and read without coding, or even looking at any code. This is really much more useful as reference work than a textbook. Don't expect to pick it up, and learn good OOD without writing a lot of code along the way.
Do go back to this book repeatedly as you are developing as an OO programmer. First, it gives you a vocabulary for common patterns as you encounter them, which helps you not only communicate with team members (by virtue of being canon, the book's vocabulary is widely understood), but also think about the problems yourself. Second, it gives some very good advice on the use of these patterns and their use together, which means that as well as being canon, it's <gasp> darn useful.
I won't say that it's a must for every shelf... if you're not working in an OO language, even if the concepts are nice, many will not have reasonable, automatic translations into your language. However, if you are an OO programmer, you'd be missing out if you didn't have the ability to flip this book open at odd intervals when considering your design.

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
After (so many) reviews...

..there's not much more to say but I will anyhow.My confidence in my web design abilites have increased two fold. Not only can I now look at my own sites more objectively I can look at other sites too and learn more than I ever have before. While I was reading the book I was designing layouts for a web site and I went from no homepage to a clear, concise, no-nonsense homepage that truly serves a functional and good looking purpose.I will reference this book for a very long time, probably until I have memorized it! I highly recommend this book for anyone involved in any aspect of web design, from the web designer to the CEO. Great find, must have!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL: The Complete Reference, Second Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: James R Groff, Paul N. Weinberg
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Lots of Material, But Where is the Material on Functions

For a book calling itself "The Complete Reference", I find 2 pages listing functions awfully skimpy and to have *nothing* in the index on decode is mysterious to me.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Test-Driven Development in Microsoft .NET (Microsoft Professional)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: James W. Newkirk, Alexei A. Vorontsov
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Changes Your View

Many people think that Test-Driven Development (TDD) is all about testing software. In fact, test-driven development's main goal is not testing software, but aiding the programmer and customer during the development process with unambiguous requirements. The requirements are in the form of tests that the software must pass along the development process.

This procedure helps to insure that problems are found early and corrected while they are still small.

This book first discusses TDD from a conceptual point of view then gives a TDD example using a realistic application.