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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Applying UML and Patterns : An Introduction to Object-Oriented Analysis and Design and Iterative Development (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Craig Larman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Learn to think in OO by example

It is easy to run out of space just by listing the topics introduced in this book, nevertheless here are some of them: OO fundamentals, UML 1.4, design patterns, Unified Process, domain modelling, mapping of design-to-code (Java), architectural analysis, framework design and the list goes on... The content is organised in 6 parts, including a total of 36 chapters spread over 600+ pages. Long book, many topics... If you are after a quick or thorough description of a single topic then naturally this is not the right reading.
The core offering of the book is the middle 4 parts that describe the analysis & design of the case study (a POS system). We are taken through the inception and 3 iterations of the elaboration phase of the UP. It is almost minimalist-UP, as the emphasis is on just doing what is necessary and not creating text/ diagrams for documentation purposes only; the code is the ultimate real model. Naturally, use-case driven, iterative and incremental development is highlighted. In addition, during the OOAD, we are taught how to harness the UML and not only shown the notation and elements that it contains. A good number of patterns are described, again while being applied to the case study, from the GRASP (essential if your background is not OO) to the GoF patterns and many others. The title and subtitle of the book are definitely justified.
The author explains all techniques very well and provides precise definitions and examples that hit the spot. In fact, every decision taken when designing for the case study builds on notions previously introduced, thus demystifying OO design; Craig Larman proves it to be a science and not art or magic. Furthermore, numerous references are given for the principles illustrated as well as pointers for further reading (which sometimes are needed given the introductory nature of the writing).
In reality, few developers are completely agnostic to all the topics covered in this book (and if they are, then it is the perfect read). Hence, given the intertwined exploration of all areas, few readers are going to avoid reading about material they already know. Following from the previous point, it is natural that the book does not serve as the best of reference titles; although its well-organised index, glossary and in-cover tables/ diagrams do help. In any case, this excellent book would make an ideal university course book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Code Complete, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Steve McConnell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Like a Fine Wine, Code Complete Improves with Age

Code Complete 1 completely changed the way I wrote programs in the mid 90s. Reading CC1 made me realize that I was still an amateur programmer and reading it marked the beginning of my career as a professional programmer. In more recent years, much as I liked CC1, the book began to show its age, and the examples especially started to look dated.

I pre-ordered CC2 and have spent the past 2 weeks devouring its contents. CC2 does not disappoint. McConnell has once again distilled his insights into a practical handbook that should be on every software development professional?s bookshelf.

CC2 provides numerous benefits: it?s a complete software-construction reference. It provides dozens of checklists. And it contains no hype. It?s valuable to beginning programmers, team leads, and technically oriented managers. The tone is conversational with just the right amount of humor. Throughout the book, it?s clear that Steve has ?been there, done that.? Thank you Steve!!!

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

The guides to the past final fantasy's were a great help and provided much useful information. However, with this guide and the 'playonline' addition, the user gets almost NO information without having to go "online" to get more. Simply [bad] to be quite honest. Boss battle strategies are kept short and offer more "playonline" help to the user if he finds that the HP count of the boss is simply not enough to work with. This guide flat out [horrible]

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Graphics Programming with GDI+
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Mahesh Chand
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good for what it covers

This book is all about GDI+ drawing, which is basically every thing defined in the System.Drawing namespace. I didn't expect information on Printing and building interactive GUI applications, which was kind of neat. Definitely some interesting and useful stuff and ton of sample code.