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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
Words of wisdom from a master teacher

There is a great deal to like about this book and almost nothing not to like. In the Preface, the author says that his intent is not to retread ground already plowed well by others. You see this philosophy at work throughout the book. Again and again, he goes to great lengths to avoid repeating the Books Online and other books already in print. What you get here is fresh material that picks up where the other books leave off. It takes you to the next level as a SQL Server practitioner because it does not waste your time repeating what you already know or what you could easily find elsewhere.
Because of this, the coverage is necessarily not for beginners. Henderson does not take you from knowing nothing about stored procedure development to knowing everything about it in one book, nor could he or any other author. Instead, he says upfront that there are probably better books than his if you are a beginner and just now starting with stored procedure development. He aims a little higher than that -- he aims for the intermediate to advanced developer and covers things that only someone who has spent considerable time actually building SQL Server applications would know about.
Examples of this abound. For example, you won't find coverage of the syntax for many commands in this book, but you will find detailed coverage of T-SQL coding conventions and how to integrate Query Analyzer and Visual SourceSafe. Henderson obviously assumes that you will read up on syntax when you need to in the BOL. You won't find much on justifying the use of stored procedures over ad hoc TSQL (Henderson obviously believes you shouldn't need any convincing about the value of stored procedures, otherwise you wouldn't have bought the book), but you will find detailed coverage of T-SQL design patterns, database design and normalization, and the quirks of T-SQL error handling. Time and again, Henderson focuses his energies on covering the real issues real practitioners face when building SQL Server applications using stored procedures. He deftly steps around what you can find in the BOL and elsewhere and leaves the easy stuff to others. Right about where you have exhausted all the other books have to tell you about stored procedure development, you find Henderson waiting to take you to the next level.
Besides the general direction and focus of the coverage, another thing I really loved about the book is Henderson's style of writing. He has a gift for explaining difficult concepts in terms practically anyone could understand. He doesn't cut corners: when a complex topic needs further explanation, he goes into it depth. For other, more obvious subjects, he says just enough so that you can follow him without delving into the obvious or insulting your intelligence. The mix of in-depth discussion with summary info on lesser-important, more obvious topics is done just right: I found the discussions downright engaging more often than not. Finding an author with the technical know-how necessary to instruct others at an expert level and the teaching ability to do so successfully is rare indeed in this day and age. Henderson pulls it off masterfully. [...]

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Eric A. Meyer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent, Comprehensive Guide to CSS1

Most people who have happened to work on web pages know something about stylesheets--yet very few actually know how to properly take full advantage of their features even at the "level 1" standard fairly well supported by most web browsers today.
If you've struggled to make a web page look like you want it, resorting to multipe FONT tags, tables, and formatting tags, then you need this book. If you've written a stylesheet or two but find yourself creating and applying styles to the point it seems more trouble than it's worth, this book is for you. From what I learned, I cut both the size of stylesheets and web pages for a number of both personal and company web pages--at times by more than a half--simply through a better understanding of the workings of stylesheets.
Beginning with the basics of what stylesheets actually are and building upon that basis with concepts like cascading, selectors, elements and pseudo-elements, the book will give readers an understanding of CSS difficult to appreciate merely through reading over other people's web pages or through trial and error. An exhaustive treatment of each sort of style--from fonts to inline elements to boxes--follows and covers nearly everything one could want to know about CSS1.
That said, the book could use an update as since 2000 the browser wars have evolved as has the application of CSS2, which is only touched upon by the book. However, unless you are already a pro at styles, you'll likely find this an invaluable reference, much as any title in the O'Reilly series.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Analysis Patterns : Reusable Object Models (Addison-Wesley Object Technology: Addison-Wesley Object Technology Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Martin Fowler
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have...

This book is required reading for all Architects and Modelers. It helps one frame how to build reusuable systems not only from the technology perspective but will give you insight into how to structure actual business process. It will encourage you to think in alternative ways.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCSA/MCSE: Windows Server 2003 Environment Management and Maintenance Study Guide (70-290)
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Lisa Donald, Suzan Sage London, James Chellis
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5


I was not pleased with this book.

The cdrom contained some kind of bug which prevented me from reading
the enclosed pdf file.

Sybex support rudely suggested the problem was with my PC.

I pointed out that my PC has no problems reading the pdf files
on their site.

avoid avoid avoid