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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Good Book, Bad Revision

I gave the 2nd edition of this book 5 stars for its readability and concise coverage of the Perl basics. Unfortunately, the 3rd edition adds very little and takes away many of the best parts of the 2nd edition. The chapter on report formatting was completely removed in this edition. I guess we will have to call it Pel instead of Perl. (The "r" in the name stands for "reporting," but reporting is no longer covered at all in this book).
The second edition also had an excellent chapter on CGI programming with Perl. This was also sent to the dumpster. Another casualty was chapter one which previously contained a well crafted introduction to the language called a "stroll through Perl." It has been replaced by a boring and traditional introduction chapter.
So, what were the additions that warranted the creation of a new edition in the first place? The chapter on regular expressions was spilt into three chapters. A good idea, but the coverage is almost identical to that of the previous edition. A little more explanation is added in various chapters here and there, which is good. But, this edition also contains many more footnotes, which is bad! The authors seem obsessed with footnoting the most obscure and bizarre details in footnotes, and there are footnotes on almost every page. (Of course you don't have to read them, but like looking at a bad car accident, I just can't resist).
This is still a good tutorial on Perl, but the second edition is so much better I would recommend buying it instead of the third edition. Unfortunately, newer does not always mean better.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Digital Printing, Second Edition
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Harald Johnson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I never believed there was so much to know about printing!

This is the third book I've purchased from this publisher, and all of them have been excellent. I hadn't been looking for a book on printing, but when I picked this one up in the book store I was amazed to find there was so much I didn't know. All the information is useful, and I am very glad I stumbled across this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Object Primer : Agile Model-Driven Development with UML 2.0
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Authors: Scott W. Ambler
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Do it. Please.

This is an excellent book that deserves to be on your short list of books about modelling...especially beginners. It continually drives home the point that UML and modelling are means to end (working software), not an end by itself. The author explains each UML diagram, with examples of how and when to use it. However, this is not a dry reference. He freely expresses his opinions and experience about how useful these diagrams are in the real world. How refreshing!UML can be overwhelming for beginners. This book shows that it doesn't have to be.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering BEA WebLogic Server: Best Practices for Building and Deploying J2EE Applications
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Gregory Nyberg, Robert Patrick, Paul Bauerschmidt, Jeff McDaniel, Raja Mukherjee, Gregory Nyberg, Robert Patrick
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great resource for all levels of WebLogic developers

I read the book cover to cover and I must say this is by far the best WebLogic book I have read. It is very up-to-date (covers WLS 8.1), and it pulls all the WLS programming best practices that are scattered around a dozen or more newsgroups and web sites into a single volume. Unlike similar books that cover WLS in the context of J2EE alphabet soup, this book focuses on the following topics: web application, EJB, JMS, Security, Admin, Performance Tuning, Development and Deployment env setup, and Web Services, which represent >90% of your J2EE development needs. You will find practical info in every single chapter, and I found the discussion around entity beans, JMS, and JVM tuning exceptional. The "bigrez" sample is a miniature real world application, and the discussion on its design helps to tie the whole book together. For WebLogic beginners, don't look anywhere else - this book will get you started fast. Even for people like me who has a few WLS projects under the belt, you will come away with new information, and it also reinforces some of your hard-learned lessons.
Just a small complaints to conclude this review: I would move Chapter 13 on dev env best practices to Chapter 1, and reduce the amount of discussion on JSP. I also want to see some detailed examples on complex CMP relationships, as well as a separate and in-depth chapter on clustering that covers distributed JMS, MDB, and entity beans of various concurrency/caching startegies.