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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL Pocket Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jonathan Gennick
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
DML short reference for ORACLE, DB2, SQL Server and MySQL

"SQL Pocket Guide" is a short reference book for SQL DML (Data Manipulation Language = insert, update, delete, select verbs) and derived statements (merge in ORACLE, replace in MySQL is missing) for the following databases:- ORACLE (9i und 10g)- DB2- SQL Server- MySQLJonathan Gennick explains the ANSI SQL commands and the special implementations of the different databases. For every statement you will find at least one example that can be tested on Jonathan's example data (available from the O'Reilly website). This book does NOT describe the DDL (e.g. create table) or DCL (e.g. grant) statements of the respective databases. Maybe this book should have been named "SQL (DML) pocket guide" to avoid different expectations.
Being an ORACLE person, I can not comment much on the correctness of the information about the other databases, however I found it quite interesting to see the comparison (ORACLE seems to implement most options).
I found the organization of the book a bit strange when I read it from cover to back (I would have placed type conversions and literals together). If you are using this book as a reference this should not concern you because I found the index to be very good. A chapter numbering (or bigger differences in the font size for the chapter levels) would have made it easier for me to keep track of the subchapter level while reading.
The coverage of the DML statement's possibilities is quite high and lots of exceptions are covered. I (re)learned a lot of things like WITH in ORACLE, NVL2, CASE statement, RETURNING with UPDATE, INSERT und DELETE when I read this book.
I will continue to use this book as a starting point when I don't remember how to use a certain SQL/DML feature (reference lookup). "SQL Pocket Reference" already saved a colleague of mine valuable hours (because I just reread about the MERGE statement). You will not be able to learn SQL with this book but you will probably save some time with it, if you write DML a lot.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Francesco Balena
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
good but not 5 stars

I just started reading this book and am on page 120. For anybody that has VB experience, this book is a treasure. I've already come across at least 10 things that will save me time in my programming. I plan to read this book from cover to cover (which I don't normally do with programming books). It is clearly written and gives reasons for doing things one way as opposed to another. For example:
"Using a controlling variable of a specific object type usually offers better performance than a generic Variant or Object variable. Iterating on the elements of a collection using a For Each...Next loop is generally faster than a regular For...Next loop because the latter forces you to refer to individual elements using their numeric incdices, which is a relatively slow operation."
Personally, I love this kind of information. However, in my brief examinations, the book has already shown two shortcomings: its index and its code.
I've found the index to be a little skimpy at times. I've already found on a couple of occassions that it took a while to find the simple answer that I was looking for. I suppose that this is because the book was written to be more readable than as a reference book.
I've also found a few things in the code that don't make sense. For example, in the function GetFiles (p.239) the variable path2 is defined (dimmed) as a string. However, this variable is never used in the function. Because this is the first snippet of code that I've examined with any detail, it kind of raises my eyebrows. I wonder what else I'm going to come across in the code.
Overall, the book is very readable. I would reccommend it at an Intermediate level. The book would be perfect for anyone who has programmed some VB and is starting to get a little deeper. It would also be perfect for someone with a large amount of programming experience, but with little VB experience.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Absolute Beginner's Guide to C (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Greg Perry
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Great book for beginners

Perry knows how to clearly explain the C language and keep the readers interest. The chapters are concise and not overloaded. The language is very clear. The only problem is that he could have given a few mpre examples. Still deserves 5 stars for clarity.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Advanced PHP Programming
Publisher: Sams
Authors: George Schlossnagle
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
A Random Walk Through Web Programming with PHP

This not a terrible book -- it's a decent book with a poor title. It should be called something like "A Random Walk Through Web Programming with PHP." There's certainly nothing advanced about it. This book would be ideal for someone who has just learned PHP but lacks any real knowledge of computer science.