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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager's Guide
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Craig Larman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Adios Waterfall

Yes, indeed, Finally. Abundant proof in one book that the traditional waterfall approach is a terrible way to manage software projects, and is therefore slowly being displaced by agile and iterative approaches. Larman does a devastatingly thorough job of debunking waterfall once and for all.
The book cogently and painstakingly explains how several of waterfall's practices have been conclusively linked to project failures, and how, on the other hand, the practices of Agile and iterative methods like Scrum and XP reduce project risk. Larman summarizes research findings encompassing thousands of projects, and quotes the supporting opinions of standards bodies and industry thought-leaders. The net effect is compelling, to say the least.
If you are an Agile skeptic, this book may rattle your conviction. If you are fence-sitter, it may convince you. And if you already have Agile fire in the belly, then certainly this book will stoke that fire. After reading it, I am left wondering how intelligent, experienced software development management can justify the continued use of a process that has wasted so much money and caused so much pain.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Stored Procedures, XML, and HTML (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great sample code

The CD is loaded with over 600 samples of well-written, well-documented code.
Innovative approaches and advanced techniques are everywhere. You combine this with the thorough explanations of the code in the text itself, and you have everything you need to master stored proc programming.
I've been building Sql Svr stored procs for over 5 years now and I still learned lots of things I didn't know. Great code and clear explanations makes for one heckuva book

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C, Second Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
THE Cryptography book

Most books that focus on cryptography tend to be academic and very dry reading. Not this one; Schneier has crafted an easy to read book that covers cryptographic techniques and issues.
The book is divided into four major sections: Cryptographic Protocols, Cryptographic Techniques, Cryptographic Algorithms, and a section called "The Real World" that discusses examples of how cryptographic protocols and algorithms are actually used. It also discusses political issues.
The book contains the source code (in printed form) to many of the algorithms discussed in the book. The algorithms include: DES, IDEA, Blowfish, RC5, SEAL and others.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good book to learn java if you already have programming exp

Some months ago I purchased "A Programmers Guide to Java Certification". Working through it in preparation to take the Sun Programmer Certification exam, I have found this to be an excellent book, very well-written, very readable, very thorough and with excellent program code examples which illustrate the subtle points really well. I cannot praise it highly enough.
I'm 50 years old, with 20 years experience of COBOL programming and should point out that I have not read any other similar books and haven't actually taken the SJPC exam yet, so cannot comment on how well it prepared me for this. However, with no commercial Java programming experience, this book has made me confident about taking the exam - an exam which Sun Microsystems says cannot be taken without programming experience.
Prior to starting the book, I had completed course M874, a postgraduate course on Java, with the Open University in England. This Java 1.1 course only covered the language basics however. The book provides the rigourous, no-nonsense, complete story on each aspect of the Java language syntax. It repays close attention to the code examples.
Note however that not all of the book is relevant to the exam, so you can leave some chapters (Swing, Graphics, etc) until after the exam. There is an appendix to cross-reference the exam objectives to the relevant chapters, but please note that since the first edition, the Programmer Certification exam objectives have changed, so that chapter 18 Files and Streams is now relevant to the exam.
Thus the book not only covers all of the exam objectives, but also has chapters which cover other essential aspects of Java.