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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Network Programming, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Elliotte Rusty Harold
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Network Programming Book with Few Network Topics...

Java Network Programming is a great topic and very challenging to write about. In the past decade, Client Server and Networking where the most popular topics in the industry.
Initially, Java was not an Internet/Web language oriented. Later versions, the language migrated into a more network oriented and became the language of choice among financial institutions, and others, because of its high productivity capabilities (mainly, shorter development curve.)
Here are a few points that I'd like to make concerning this book:
1. The authors took on themselves a very large assignment, rather than reducing the scope of the book, so they could deal efficiently with the content and represent it in more technical details and depth, just as O'Reilly publication does so often. The variety of topics discussed in the book could be topics for books themselves, such as Web Concepts, Threads, Java I/O...
2. A few topics are not directly affiliated with Networking, such as Threads, Java Mail API, etc. I was surprised to find the "HTML in Swing" chapter, which is a total shift from the Networking Layer to the Presentation Layer.
3. The book is missing important and advanced topics in Networking, such as IIOP, Distributed Objects, EJB and maybe CORBA. I was surprised to find a chapter about RMI - an old form of distributed objects, which was replaced by IIOP and EJB in recent years. RMI was combined with IIOP (RMI/IIOP) because its poor performance. Why would anyone want to study an old topic?
4. This book is lacking of a conceptual discussion about Networking Layers in general, to help users understand why with Java, Network Programming could be a piece of cake... Conceptually speaking, indeed, with Java it's a much easier task.
5. The bright spot here are the samples that are almost in a "copy and paste" condition. They are easy to understand and implement.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Chuck Musciano, Bill Kennedy
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
a very VERY nice, informative book

This book is not only informative, it is very organized. And contrary to what some say, the book can be used as a tutorial book. I had no expierence at html whatsoever and I was already making my own interactive web pages after reading only about 1/5 of this book. The only con about this book is that it focuses on html 3.2 which is not the current version.(oh well) If this book or anything about it is "dry", it would be the cover art. But, you can't judge a book by its cover...(besides, the koala is really cute :c))

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Refactoring to Patterns (Addison-Wesley Signature Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Joshua Kerievsky
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Wonderful! Brings patterns into coding, not just designing

Based on its title alone I had high expectations for this book. It didn't disappoint. The book takes two of the most important advances of the past decade (patterns and refactoring) and puts them together into a whole that is definitely more than the sum of its parts.

I've read many good patterns books and have been applying patterns to how I think and talk about software since the original "Design Patterns" book in 1995. However, something was always missing. Through my consulting work, whenever I introduced patterns to a new team they would take quickly to the idea and patterns would become part of how they thought-but only when designing, not when coding. Since we spent more time coding than designing, patterns played less of a role than they could have.

This book does an excellent job of bringing patterns into coding, rather than relegating them just to design discussions. As the author points out, "patterns are best viewed in the light of refactoring and that they are destinations best reached by applying sequences of low-level refactorings."

This book has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf. That is, when it's not open beside me as I program. Very highly recommended!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: SIP: Understanding the Session Initiation Protocol, Second Edition
Publisher: Artech House Publishers
Authors: Alan Johnston
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not bad, but not the best

I found the book useful as a backup reference to the spec, but not the best explanation I have seen. It was at times slightly confusing, and found that I was constantly referring back to the SIP overview in D. Collins "Carrier Grade Voice over IP" (which is very well written). From an education perspective, it was a little like a dictionary for SIP that explained concepts such as what a given header was for, but gave little info on how it is used, or what the industry is doing.
There were some call flows, but they were sparse with a few mistakes. Further, they were either very base, or very comprehensive, and did not cover many of the questions I had.
In summary, if you are looking for a readable reference to help with the not so reader friendly RFC, this is pretty good. For learning how SIP is being imlemented beyond basic call handling, keep looking.
As an option, also look at the book by Collins noted above. It is a good overview reference, and tries to address where the industry is moving from an implementation perspective