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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Martin Fowler
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Required reading, but definite J2EE bias


I am a fan of Fowler's and especially his "Refactoring" book, which I also rate as a must read for the serious programmer.Fowler's new book is an attempt to do for Enterprise Application Architecture what "Design Patterns" (i.e., GOF) did for OOP.Unfortunately,while it is an excellent book, there are issues...
1)First, Design Patterns is a very dense and scholarly read. It is also, frankly, a difficult read. However, after you have spent a couple of days trying to digest a pattern from Design Patterns, you realize, in many cases, you have had an experience with something profound. Even the GOF authors, in the preface, attempt to console readers by admitting "We didn't understand it all on the first writing!". Fowler's book, by contrast, is not on the same level, and can be understood on a first read. Perhaps this is what other reviewers were sensing when they indicated it was for the novice architect?
2) Fowler does NOT address security. How then,does the word "Enterprise" get the priviledge of adorning the title of his book? Enterprise design should be secure design. But, this will usually require a trade off --- more secure, less performance...or less secure, more scaleable...Fowler does not consider this. Example: A chapter is devoted to the "Table Data GateWay" pattern. The gateway pattern might be OK for J2EE...but it is not the most secure, or the best for performance,in .Net... The problem is it constructs its SQL statements in line, rather than using stored procedures. This allows SQL insertion attacks if your coders are sloppy, and also does not take advantage of the precompiled nature of sprocs.
3)There is a J2EE bias. This probably is a good thing as the J2EE architectures tend to be more mature and contain good ideas...but you should be aware of it if you are a .NET programmer. Not all of the patterns will be immediately useful to .NET, but will require a careful implementation.
4)Fowler passes on some of the tough questions. On page 93, while discussing RPC calls versus XML based messaging, he says "my preference is for a message - based approach that's inherently asynchronous." I agree. (RPC style is not the really suited for async, whereas document style messaging is) He then says it is too large of a topic, so does not cover it. Well, if it is the best way, it needs to be covered in an Enterprise level book, no?
While I may seem to be critical of Fowler's book, I really think it is excellent with fine ideas. But, especially if you are from .Net, implement the patterns with care, and then only you have checked against Microsoft best practices. This is not to say Microsoft is always right, but get the second opinion anyway.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Mastering Windows 2000 Server
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Brian M. Smith, Doug Toombs, Mark Minasi
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book....and it's HUGE!!!


This is a HUGE book. My Windows XP Inside Out book looks little compared to this thing. I mean, that book is gigantic, and so is the amount of information contained here.
Mark knows how to write well, he does so by keeping the reader interested in the topic. If you're thinking about managing your own server, then you must get this book. Not only that, but here you learn everything else that you need not only to manage a server. Users will learn how to configure DNS, Active Directory, DHCP, File servers, Print Servers, Domain Controllers, Security Policies, User Accounts; in other words, how to administer a server based on Windows 2000.
My complaint is the following. This book, while is has a lot of Windows information, it also contains information that the reader might find important but irrelevant or obsolete at time of reading. Examples: The birth of DNS, the birth of the Internet, the birth of Windows, WINS, and blah blah.
Yes, these are useful topics, and of course, the more you know the better; but I think they should have been included in a different book. I found myself skipping a lot of chapters and sub-chapters because of this.
On the other hand, the information is quite helpful if the user has time to read. If you just want to learn how to master Windows 2000; you'll find yourself skipping a few chapters.
This book is VERY broad & I recommend it to administrators or people who are administering a server version of windows. For regular version of windows 2000 just get another book; this one is mostly for server stuff. Even though you can learn about user accounts, file and securities, it's mainly directed to administrators. If you just want to learn Windows 2000, look at a regular version of Windows 2000; and not the server version.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: OCA/OCP: Oracle9i DBA Fundamentals I Study Guide
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Biju Thomas, Bob Bryla
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
it worked for me


Compared to the excellent coverage of OCA exam objectives by Sybex's Study Guide for 1Z0-007, this titles does not deliver at all. I used this guide to prepare for the exam along with the Oracle Press title and found that the latter covers the exam material in much more detail. Even the level of practice questions in the Sybex study guide are nowhere even near the level of difficulty the real exam poses. These questions should be revised keeping in view the test format (Basic/Mastery Sections). Even the coverage of materials is superficial and not enough to give the candidate the confidence to take the exam. My suggestion would be to use another book along with this study guide (I strongly recommend the Oracle Press title - the CD has some excellent questions).



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: OCA/OCP: Oracle9i DBA Fundamentals I Study Guide
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Biju Thomas, Bob Bryla
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
it worked for me


Compared to the excellent coverage of OCA exam objectives by Sybex's Study Guide for 1Z0-007, this titles does not deliver at all. I used this guide to prepare for the exam along with the Oracle Press title and found that the latter covers the exam material in much more detail. Even the level of practice questions in the Sybex study guide are nowhere even near the level of difficulty the real exam poses. These questions should be revised keeping in view the test format (Basic/Mastery Sections). Even the coverage of materials is superficial and not enough to give the candidate the confidence to take the exam. My suggestion would be to use another book along with this study guide (I strongly recommend the Oracle Press title - the CD has some excellent questions).