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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Cookbook, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Ian F. Darwin
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
More than a cookbook

The examples in this book are truly useful. I am an experienced programmer just starting with Java and in finding an answer in this book, I often discover better ways of doing related tasks as a welcome side effect.
In addition, the author presents each code example with a thorough and useful explanation. His writing style and attitude are humble, opinionated, direct and humorous. This is the only book in my java collection that's a pleasure to read.
I tried using Java examples in a nutshell... I haven't picked it up since obtaining "cookbook". Plus I look to "cookbook" first before either java in a nutshell (except for simple reference) or java servlet programming.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Visual C++ 6
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Ivor Horton
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

I have never been dissapointed by a Wrox title and Ivor's book was no different. The best description of C/C++ programming is "just enough rope to hang yourself". I have a fair amount of C++ experience and reviewed the book for teaching purposes. The text neatly divides C++ basics from Windows programming an excellent and necessary approach. The C++ portion of the text very cleanly presents the language and more importantly the nuances that make C++ the power that it is. Readers should be challenged by some of the code examples (and their terse power) and then delighted with the realization of the power of the syntax. The Windows portion of the book clearly builds from the half way point of learning the language and provides a clear and detailed primer for those wishing to learn MFC coding. No doubt this text will be used for a number of my courses.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: User Interface Design for Programmers
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Joel Spolsky
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Fun to read

This book is an excellent first book on UI design. It covers a lot of ground and is easy to read. The author is both witty and entertaining. An excellent read.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Robert C. Martin
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The best OOD book out there...

Agile Software Development is a great Object-Oriented Design book that presents it's subject in the context of Agile Development. The book delivers solid design and programming advice in a very "light" style. Not light in that it avoids technical detail! No, Bob seems to have taken the principles of agile development and applied them to the art of technical book writing.
The book is divided into six sections and has four appendices. There are numerous UML diagrams and many code examples in C++ and Java. If you don't know UML two of the appendices will introduce you to it.
The book takes a top down approach to presenting the material. You are first given a quick overview of agile development practices. I particularly liked the Testing and A Programming Episode chapters from this section. The second section presents five high-level design priciples that every developer should learn and apply.
Case studies dealing with a payroll system, weather station software, and testing software are then presented. Each case study section starts by discussing the design patterns that will be seen in the case study. Section Four discusses subdividing the payroll system into packages. Six principles and a set of package Dependency Management metrics (I've known them as the "Martin Metrics" for years) are covered. The book wraps up with the two UML appendices mentioned above, a comparison of two imaginary developments, and an interesting article by Jack Reeves.
In my opinion Agile Software Development Principles, Patterns, and Practices is the best OOD book out there.