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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning JavaScript Second Edition
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Paul Wilton
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Outstanding book!!

Beginning JavaScript by Paul Wilton is a great book !!! I have 31 computer related howto/learning books on my bookshelf at the present time, on subjects such as C/C++ Programming, Windows Programming, Linux Programming, Perl, Emacs, etc. etc., so I have some experience with different writers and different styles and methods of presentation/teaching. This book may be the best of the lot. Programming Windows95 by Charles Petzold is the only one that is probably better -- but not by much.
The book is laid out in a logical, orderly, consistent manner from beginning to end. First you are presented with a concept. Secondly, you are given an example of fully functional code. Thirdly that code is fully explained, line by line. The book starts out with simple concepts and builds on them almost effortlessly. First you learn the core language, then you learn how to attach the JavaScript code to the base HTML document. Later you learn how to dynamically change the HTML document "on the fly" using JavaScript. Next,you are presented with -- interaction with the user through forms, string manipulation using regular expressions, Date objects and methods, Time, and Timers, Cookies, Dynamic HTML, Databases and server side scripting. I appreciated the fact that the examples given in the first 9 chapters work in both major browsers, so you are not immediately presented with confusing browser incompatibilities that complicate the learning process, but you are made aware of the incompatibilites later in the book when you are more able to understand them.
As an aside, if I am a "little shaky" on one of the properties' or methods' syntax, and want to go back and review the concept, the material is quite easily found. The index is good as are the appendices where the DOM's and BOM's are laid out in detail.
The book is exceptionally "meaty". Don't skip over any text or explanation of code, because you will miss myriad little tidbits of information and programming techniques that will prove most valuable.
Some of the reviewers have complained about mistakes and typos. I have found most of the mistakes to be typos and the typos to be trivial matters, easily recognized. Of the 70+ examples give that I have done and experimented with up to chapter 10, only one didn't work as laid out in the book. (ch7 GlobalFunctions.htm) And from the thorough instruction given up to that point, I was able to correct the mistake and get that example to work also.
In short, using this book, you can go from knowing nothing about JavaScript to building almost any kind of website you've ever encountered, from storefronts, to "virtual amusement parks". My hat's off to Mr. Wilton.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-290): Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Dan Holme, Orin Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

Having worked in the training industry for several years, I've found that learning through questions (i.e. the Socratic method) is one of the most effective methods of knowledge transfer. That's one of the reasons why I enjoyed the Self-Paced Training Kit. In addition, I thought the questions were very appropriate. By that I mean that they were very similar to the actual exam in format and difficulty. However, unlike some of the illicit practice exams floating around the Internet, they aren't word-for-word rip-offs of the actual exam (a practice I abhor).
The treatment of the material is certainly adequate and given the relative lack of Server 2003 information currently in existence, actually quite a pleasant surprise. The references provided are also sufficient and other readers will enjoy the fact that many of them are available free of charge. In addition, I thought there was a good amount of value-added provided through the CD (e-book is great because it is searchable making for easy location of key concepts) and the discounted exam voucher.
It'll be a while before we can judge how this book will stack up against its competition but given the fact that there is relatively little competition out there right now I'm pretty certain this book is the best of what's currently available.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Visual C# .NET
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Jason Price, Mike Gunderloy
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Worst of all the books that I bought

I bought the book based on the reviews that I read here. I was very dissappointed when I got the book. I've bought the MCAD books and the Que exam prep books and felt that both provided more indepth information than this book. This book basically lies on the floor collection dust. Don't waste your money!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning CSS : Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Richard York
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Easy to recommend this book to others...

I received a review copy of Beginning CSS - Cascading Style Sheets For Web Design by Richard York (Wrox). I'm impressed with the way he covers the material...

Chapter list: Introduction; Document Standards; The Basics of CSS Anatomy and Syntax; Data Types, Keywords, Color, Length, and the URI; CSS Selectors; Pseudo-Element and Pseudo-Class Selectors; Inheritance and the Cascade; Text Manipulation; Font Manipulation; Liquid Design and the CSS Box Model; CSS Buoyancy: Collapsing Margins, Floating, and Vertical Alignment; Styling Lists and the User Interface; Backgrounds: Setting the Scene; Positioning; Styling for Handheld Devices and Print; Styling Tables; Styling XML; Cross-Browser Compatibility; Exercise Answers; CSS Reference; CSS Color; Browser Rendering Modes; Index

For me, the book really kicks into gear starting with the CSS Selectors chapter. York starts to cover all the different statements and concepts of CSS in a readable and understandable format. He states the release of CSS where the documentation can be found, along with what level of browser first supports the feature. This is great information as you're trying to figure out if a feature is cross-browser compatible. After an explanation of the feature, there's a "Try It Out" section that shows actual code and screen prints that illustrate the concept. This is always followed by a "How It Works" part that dives into the code a little deeper to cement your understanding of the feature. The chapter then ends with a summary and some exercises you can do to push yourself a bit more.

Something you don't see in a lot of CSS books are chapters on CSS formatting for handheld devices. As PDAs and web-enabled cell phones become more common, CSS that addresses this target is increasingly important. I also appreciated the separate chapter on cross-browser compatibility, specifically dealing with common IE bugs and how to best handle them. Since the book has a 2005 copyright date, the information is probably more up-to-date than other books that are a year or two older.

This is definitely a book I'd feel comfortable recommending to anyone working on learning CSS.