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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Jakarta Struts, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Chuck Cavaness
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
not well-organized

Absolutely great practical book about Struts 1.1.I can see it used as a tutorial as well as a reference. Easy to read and well-organized. Includes very useful diagrams and clarifications. Covers some of the evolvement of Struts 1.0 into 1.1. Warning: this is not a J2EE book. I would strongly suggest getting acquainted with servlets and JSP beforehand.This is not a book about software architecture either. In fact, most of the design questions covered are lacking depth if not directly related to Struts.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages, Vol. 1: Core Technologies, Second Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Marty Hall, Larry Brown
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The Full Monty for server side development

This book is aimed at what its authors see as a shortfall in java application development. In server side generation of dynamic web pages, java is the most commonly used language. Some developers emphasise using servlets and downplay Java Server Pages. Others do the opposite. If you troll various newsgroups, you can see arguments between the two views. What Hall and Brown posit is that this debate is a false dichotomy.
They offer a deeper understanding of both, and how often you need to implement both in real applications. These have complementary attributes that together let you fully implement a Model-View-Controller architecture.
That is one emphasis of the book. You should find it straightforward. But the other emphasis is, I believe, more useful. They show how to implement server side applications. Everything from choosing a web container like Tomcat, to showing how your app can accessing a back end SQL database like MySQL or Oracle. The full Monty, as it were.
If you are casting around for how to build an online store, say, with a shopping cart and ease of use, and you have not built one before, or you need a fresh outlook, you should study carefully the examples. In the best case, you will find templates that you can immediately modify.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Assembly Language for Intel-Based Computers (4th Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Kip R. Irvine
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great introduction to assembly

A very competent introduction to assembly programming, regardless of the platform, but great because it can probably be used with your personal computer. After a quick install off the included CD, you'll be coding and assembling your own programs in no time.
A background with digital systems is helpful - I am a computer engineering student, and I was already more than familiar with two's complement, AND, OR, and other logical operations. These topics, working with binary, are essential to assembly. However, though the book uses them a lot, it also explains them at the beginning, so pay attention.
It's very interesting all the Windows-specific things it covers: the author doesn't neglect the fact that Microsoft's assembler is by far the most used PC assembler out there, and goes into lots of MASM-specific topics. What's great, however, is that amongst the platform-specific ideas are general ideas that will work well in any assembly situation; that's an advantage of assembly, that it's so low-level it's very similar on different platforms.
I took an embedded systems class after taking the class that used this book. I felt very confident in my assembly ability, even though the embedded systems class was not using Intel processors, but PIC processors from Microchip.
By the way... I wonder if most textbooks are rated according to a student's experience in the class. Did the guy who rate this book down very low simply have a bad teacher who was really hard on his class, and then looked for problems with the book? Personally, I didn't find the lack of a debugger that bad, since I was understanding assembly pretty quickly right off the bat thanks to this book and my teacher's clear explanations.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Numerical Recipes in Fortran
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Authors: William H. Press, Brian P. Flannery, Saul A. Teukolsky, William T. Vetterling
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A set of numerical routines that may solve your problems

I purchased the "Numerical Recipes The art of Scientific Computing" to learn more about implementing Fourier transforms into my programming applications. I hit the jackpot with this series of books. The companion workbook "Numerical recipes, Routines and Examples in BASIC" provides examples of BASIC code in a printed format. A BASIC (IBM) diskette will save a lot of time typing. Ordering information is provided in the back of the book for obtaining the accessories. The "Numerical Recipes The art of Scientific Computing" series is also available in Pascal and C programming language flavors. This book series is the mother lode for paste-in numerical data reduction and processing routines.