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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Active Server Pages 3.0 in 21 Days
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Scott Mitchell, James Atkinson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Perfect guide to Active Server Pages

This is a well written, easy to understand, step by step guide to Active Server Pages. You don't know ASP? VBScript? Programming? HTML? Anything to do with Web programming? This is a perfect guide for you. It will show you how to create server side scripting using VBScript - the most commonly used language for ASP (Microsoft technology) - but the author does mention that there are non microsoft solutions for UNIX/Linux and that Javascript, jscript, Perlscript can be used as languages. I would recommend you use this guide only for a Microsoft driven ASP project - IIS 5.0 (Windows 2000), SQL Server 7.0 (Database examples) and Visual Interdev 6.0/Frontpage 2000 (color coded editor - if you don't need color coding then use Notepad). You can download evaluation copies from Microsoft.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Architecture and Internals
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Be very clear about what you're getting here

Nearly a half of this book consists of a rather detailed (almost on the programming level) exposition of the Windows NT/2000 operating system. Please reread the previous phrase and make sure it registered: I didn't say MS SQL Server, I said the *operating system*. Imagine the two latest Richter books (for Win2K) with most code excised, plus the Solomon/Russinovich one combined: that will be the first half of Henderson's book. I'm not sure I understand the reason for all this information to be in there.

The rest is good, no questions (although there's some overlap with his other (very good) TSQL books).

I find such a structure extremely unusual, unnecessary, and, due to an absolutely exorbitant amount of redundancy in the general OS area--unsuitable for anyone with even a moderate exposure to Windows programming. It looks suspiciously like padding to me, and again, the amount of it is simply mind boggling; I've never seen anything like that before. Four-five hundred pages of padding? C'mon.

Now, one man's padding is another's bible, OK, I suppose this may be a feature rather than flaw to some. But please be aware of this and choose accordingly. I won't pretend to be an ultimate judge here (as for myself, I didn't buy this book).

Just to be fair in general, I'll add that Henderson is a knowledgeable guy and a good writer, which is a rare combination. So I'm not saying the book is bad: I would probably buy the second half of it (for half the price). And I'd easily give this second part four stars, maybe five.


Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications Third Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This book's got style!

An excellent reference book. No problem getting consensus when using this to set style standards within a software documentation department. I'd love to see a new edition that addresses Web-based applications. What say you, MS Press?

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Performance Optimization and Tuning Handbook
Publisher: Digital Press
Authors: Ken England
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best SQL Server Book I've Seen

If you want to really understand SQL Server, and get a better insight on database technology in general, this is the book to read. Ken England covers everything from SQL Server's internal workings (how it accesses tables & indexes) to query and index optimization. This is the kind of thing they don't teach you in college. Real-world, useful examples and techniques abound in this book. For instance, England goes over a few undocumented DBCC commands and includes an extended section on using the query execution plan to fine-tune indexes and queries. Also covered is the use of lock hints (as well as the underlying technology), hardware considerations, and a lot more.
That said, I would recommend this book to anyone who deals with SQL Server on ANY level, from DBA's to web developers. Pair this book with The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL by Ken Henderson and you've got a great start on real database development.