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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Web Site Design from Start to Finish
Publisher: How Design Books
Authors: Anne-Marie Concepcion
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Foundation for Web Design

This book fulfills its title promise by providing comprehensive professional information on where and how to start designing a web site. The text is clear, logical and easy to read. The author included a glossary and a host of resouce information. The page design is well done and inspiring. I learned far more from this book than from a ($)6-week state university course on web design. Ann Marie knows her stuff! I recommended this book to my class peers and to the university.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns C#
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Steven John Metsker
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Works best in conjunction with GoF Design Patterns

This book reminds me of the 'Numerical Recipes in <x>' books. They were the thin adjunct books that accompanied Numerical Recipes which showed the examples implemented in various languages. The books were no good on their own, you needed Numerical Recipes to understand them. This book has the same problem. It doesn't introduce the patterns from scratch, it assumes that you have read the GoF book and that you can use it as the base source material.

That being said the author puts together, succinctly, with both diagrams and code, C# examples for all of the GoF design patterns. Even though in some cases there is very little code because the patterns have been integrated into the structure of the .NET framework.

I think this book is worth a look for anyone writing C# on a daily basis and who is a patterns fan. It's something you need to evaluate before you buy because, frankly, you may already know most of what you are going to see.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Developing IP Multicast Networks: The Definitive Guide to Designing and Deploying CISCO IP Multi- cast Networks
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Beau Williamson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
All-in-One IP Multicast Guide!

You can master IP Multicast concept with only this book. No more book is required...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Google Hacks, 2nd Edition (Hacks)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Something for Everyone

This book is useful, fun and, in parts, bemusing. It presents one hundred numbered "hacks" that range from simple, but very useful tips, to moderately ambitious programming efforts.
The great strength of "Google Hacks" is that it has something for everyone. The first few chapters are perfect for those who have no knowledge of programming. The bulk of the book is appropriate for those who have at least some programming experience and are interested in accessing Google programatically. There are many examples scattered throughout that will be of interest to webmasters who want something cool for their website. The final chapter, "The Webmaster Side of Google", is devoted to managing your web site's lineament on Google.
Particularly appealing is the fact that, although most of the programmatic hacks are in Perl, there are examples in no fewer than nine languages. Html, java, php, python, C#, .NET, VB, asp, and possibly other languages, are represented.
Many of the simple tips presented early in the book illuminate useful methods that Google.com itself should do a better job promoting. Google's special syntaxes are a prime example. Want to find John Doe in Mira Mesa? Enter "rphonebook: John Doe 92126" in google's text box. The rphonebook: tells google to look in the residential phone book. 92126 is the zip code for Mira Mesa. The site syntax is very useful. To quickly find the mirror sites for redhat, use "site:redhat.com mirrors". There are many more special syntaxes that use the colon character
Some of the hacks are for amusement only. One must be in the right mood to properly appreciate the "Google Mirror" hack (#91) or the "The No-Result Search" (#86).
The neighborhood hack (#65) may be the most ambitious in the book. It consists of about five pages of Python code. It collects all the sites that link to a given site, then within the collection determines how many times each site is referred to by one of the others. The hack was written by Mark Pilgrim, who has also published a free Python book. You can try the hack yourself at diveintomark.org, where you'll also find a link to Mark's excellent book.
How quickly will "Google Hacks" become dated? Certainly the web itself is growing exponentially. There can be no doubt that Google will change and grow as well. However, I suspect that the majority of principles exposited will continue to work and be relevant for years to come.
"Google Hacks" came out in Februray 2003; it is mid July as I write this review. Given the length of the publishing pipeline and the rate at which things change on the web, I expected significant portions of the book to be out of date. This was not the case. I only found a couple of urls that had changed as well as a single typographical error. The folks at O'Reilly must have gone over the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb!
Acknowledgment: The review copy of the book was donated by O'Reilly to the Kernel Panic Linux Users Group.