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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Clifford Stein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Complete, thorough...

Quote from a previous review:
Instead of touching on new technologies, such as AI, graphics, or anything else remotely relevant to today's demands on programmers and designers, this book, faithful to its MIT roots, gives a pompous, eggheaded distortion to the field of computers as a whole. Its focus is mainly on such trivialities as algorithm analysis, offering about 10 pages of proofs for each simple assertion. The points that the authors hope to make have no relevance whatsoever in a world in which processor power, not meticulous code optimization, reigns.
I've had Cormen (one of the authors) as a professor in class, and my algorithms class uses this book, so admittedly my view might be a bit biased. But if you read the above (quoted) review, you might have gotten the wrong impression about this book. Cormen et. al. *intentionally* left "AI and graphics" algorithms to other authors; this isn't the place to cover those topics enough to do them justice. And as someone who has actually read the book, each proof is *not* 10 pages long. The examples are usually quite good, and concisely (if thoroughly explained). Finally, prof. Cormen always explains to his intro CS students why the study of algorithms is important, even as computers get faster and faster: some problems, poorly implemented, just *will not* run as well on a machine of today compared to a much older machine running a better algorithm. There will *always* be a justified place for the study and analysis of algorithms. Had the previous reviewer actually had met Prof. Cormen, he wouldn't be able to write the book off with the title of "pompous" or "eggheaded" either...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Larry Ullman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Nice Refresher

I didn't know much about web development beyond html, and this book turned out to be exactly what I needed to get my start in dynamic website development. I like the format of the book, which does a good job of visually showing step-by-step, one concept at a time. There are a few errors (which are corrected if you check the website), and this is my only criticism of the book. It is very thorough.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook (Pioneering Series)
Publisher: Friends of ED
Authors: Dan Cederholm
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
useful and practical book for newly converted CSS believers

very useful and practical book on CSS-based layouts. it compares alternative ways to 'markup' (write your html) and to 'style' (write your css). what i love about it is that it presents the pros and cons of each real-world methods, then you'll be able to figure out which is best for your specific purposes. and makes you smarter for next time.

most methods presented are the right way to do it, while few are hacks, but it'll tell which is which. an easy read, the kind you can jump from one chapter to another. infact so easy i finished half the book before i got it to the cashier (oops, sorry i didn't order online).

who is this book for? probably not ideal if you're not yet a believer of web standards. not for experts, as they may have read the same material when it was discusses in the author's site simplebits.com. but most suitable for those who just converted to CSS tableless design and curious to know exactly how others are doing it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Accelerated C++: Practical Programming by Example
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Andrew Koenig, Barbara E. Moo
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The BEST introduction book on C++ yet!

I have nothing to say about this book, except, among hundreds of C++ "intro-level" books available, this book is simply "the best". Why?
The answer is easy: Because it teachs C++ the way C++ should be taught.
Why re-invent the wheel if there are a lot of wheels available for you to use? Why learn to do things in "the hard way" if there is a lot easier ways to do?
C++ should be taught from its C-inherited no-more. In C, we used to do something in "the hard way". For example, just to use string efficiently, one would need to understand pointer properly, since C-string is pointer to char (char*). Just to dynamically store some instances of the object (to store the objects "as needed"), one would need to know how to manipulate pointers, which always lead to problems and confusion, to imprement the dynamic container.
And that's what almost all other C++ books try to teach you "first". And they will teach you what should be taught ealier "later". You, by that way, it takes longer to be productive, or even to be an able programmer.
Then, how C++ should be taught?
Bjarne Stroustrup, the father of C++, said clearly in one of his paper, named "Learning Standard C++ as a new Language", (available in his homepage) something like "Learning a programming language should support the learning of effective programming techniques. My favourite approach is to start teaching the basic language (variables, declaration, loop, etc...), together with a good library". And this is exactly the approach taught by this book.
I, personally, agree with the previous reviewer that with the approach used in this book, pointer and array are easier to understand than learning from the traditional approach.
Learning C++ from its standard library aspect can make you a productive programmer in much much shorter time than learning from the traditional approach, which begin with C-subset, and many programming techniques that you have to "unlearn" as you progress on.
In case that you're wondering how much you will learn from a book of this size. All I can tell you is, more than you can ever imagine. However, you will have to concentrate on what it's saying. And then, after you finish this book, you will have no (or almost no) problem when moving on to the more difficult (say, more advanced) books like those by Stroustrup, Lippman, Musser & Saini, Austern, Josuttis ... etc (all are my personal favourites).
The wheels had been invented. So why not just use them?
In short, this book is nothing more than the BEST book on introductory C++ ever written, period.