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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Programming for the Absolute Beginner
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Joseph Russell
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

I attended Sun Microsystems SL275 (their basic Java programmingcourse for people with C and C++ backgrounds). One of my jobs was to write a courseware for high-school students. The coursewas not a good basis for a high-school level programming course.As such, I bought this book and it only took me a month to writethe Java for High-School courseware. I ended up with a StreetFighter type game that needs to be completed by the students.
The author tends to discuss concepts that are a chapter or twoahead but I found this normal especially when it comes to ObjectOriented Programming.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, Don Roberts
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have...

This is an excellent guide to some activity that almost 99% of we, the real programmers, do all the time: refactoring. Is true that some of the refactorings are common to us, but the merit of Fowler is the effort to catalogs them for an easy reference and communication. The book is an excellent reference for this simple quality. I didn't remember any of the refactorings that hasn't any pertinence to the most common OO programming language (C++, Java, C#, VB.NET). This book study the process of writing code as a technique that can be studied, comunicated and learned, more than simply learn the syntax of the language. Also there are not so many references outer for coding style and techniques that this book seems an "oasis in the desert".

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Visual Basic.NET How to Program, Second Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel, Tem R. Nieto
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Absolutely the worst!

This is absolutely the worst book I bought on VB. I consider myself a beginner programmer and I work with ASP.NET.
This book's layout alone makes reading frustrating. It is so visually cluttered that you cannot concentrate on the topic. I counted 15 different compinations of colours and typefaces on a single page!
The content is (very) poor. Things are rather mentioned than explained and never go deep enough. The authors are mostly preoccupied with mentioning terms of programming jargon than clarifying and going deeper. For example, you 'll learn that "Private" methods are also called "utility" or "helper methods" and thats all, no other explanation of what "private" is and how to use it! I 'm not joking! Not to mention that neither what a "method" is was explained in the first place!
I also found out that "Live Code" method is nothing more than code blocks with their explanation, something that every book does and worse, in this book you have to constantly go back and forth between pages because they try to show to much stuff in a single block of code instead of breaking it down to pieces.
Overall, this is a very bad book that won't teach you anything in depth neither on a conceptual nor on a practical level. I 'm very surprised by the 5 star ratings here. I guess they refuse to regret their money...
Go for one that stretches the OOP features of VB.NET. An exceptional one is "An introduction to OOP programming with VB.NET" by Dan Clark,Apress.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen, Marie Tahir
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Essential for all web designers and usability experts

This is an important addition to any web/usability professional's library. Jakob Nielsen and Marie Tahir (of the Nielsen/Norman group) have created an extremely readable analysis of 50 "big-time" website homepages. As a credit to the authors, a random flip through the analysis pages will bring you a gem of wisdom, or a bit of dry, (occasionally sarcastic) aesthetic humor.
The first fifty pages (or so) is devoted to homepage guidelines... the statisical review could be very useful for redesigning a homepage around best practices. The final 200+ pages are devoted to critical analyses of specific homepages including staple homepages from Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Yahoo, to a more eclectic selection like the Art Institute of Chicago Museum, Asian Cuisine, and the Florida Department of Revenue. The reviews were about 4-6 pages each with at least two full screen prints. The second screen print also had an enumerated "key list" with a corresponding pithy description on each usabilty issue.
There are a few usability 'motifs' that stand out in the analyses. I think you will find the issues cover a wide range of "common" usability problems.
Some of critical comments felt a bit like nitpicking or perhaps the author being a bit "hyper-critical", but most were spot on. Slavishly "fixing" every item mentioned in usability critique doesn't necessarily improve homepage usability, fixing the majority will ... and there are plenty of useful tips, and good advice to take back to the design shop.