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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ed Tittel, Stephen J. James
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Poor choice.

I may be a dummy but what the heck is this book trying to teach? I thought the topic was HTML. I guess I was wrong. You won't learn much with this flop that is for sure

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One
Publisher: Deke Press
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A wonderful Photoshop tutorial enhanced by training video

I admit that Photoshop has intimidated me with the range of options and powerful tools it offers. Over the years I have been using more and more Macromedia's Fireworks which has served me well when it comes to web graphics. However, with a digital camera on hand I find myself needing specific skills to manipulate images and incorporate them into photo collages.
This is where the new book by O'Reilly and Deke Press, has filled a gap. I have much respect for New Riders, another publisher whose books adorn my bookshelves. But I have to admit that the "Down and Dirty Tricks" approach, while handy for finding quick solutions, has not been successful in teaching me the fundamentals about Photoshop manipulation.
The "Adobe Photoshop CS one-on-one" book starts with helpful chapters on organizing photos by using metadata. This is a feature of the CS edition of Photoshop which is enough to make one want to update (I am looking for the right price :-).
Then the book continues with explanation of the Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows, which would enhance any image, whether taken by a digital camera or scanned from the old print.
The book goes on with Correcting Color Balance, Cropping and Resizing images, Creating and Applying Masks, Building Layered Compositions, Adding Text and Shapes, and Printing and Output options (I am being selective in listing the topics covered by the book).
The book's descriptive style is enhanced by an included 2-hour training video by the author, Photoshop expert Deke McClelland.
Combining the narrative of the book with the persuation of the video works nicely and produce an easy to follow yet rich in content book. Highly recommended!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: CSS Pocket Reference, 2nd Edition (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Eric Meyer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Helpful quick reference

If you're looking for quick information in a size that's easy to carry around, purchase this book. It's an excellent addition to the O'Reilly Pocket Reference series.
When I'm trying to remember the format for a particular style or how well it's supported by the various browser versions, I don't want to have to dig through a large reference manual. Instead, I reach for this book, quickly look up the style (listed alphabetically), get the information I'm looking for, and continue working. This is the reference I carry between work and home.
The book starts with a condensed description of how CSS1 works and how to use it. The majority of the reference describes the CSS1 properties, pseudo-elements, and pseudo-classes. Each entry includes the allowed values, a description, a few examples, and browser support for both Windows and Mac browsers. Additional notes describe any browser-specific issues. A browser support summary chart completes the book.
Even if you have Eric Meyer's Cascading Style Sheets, The Definitive Guide, you will still find his CSS Pocket Reference a useful addition to your bookshelf.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Martin Fowler
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best J2EE / .Net Design Pattern Book

This is the best book I've found on J2EE and .Net patterns. I think it's destined to become a classic. I found the discussions on when to distrbute ('sell your favorite grandmother first'), Unit Of Work, Domain Model and Data Mapper patterns extremely useful. It has changed the way I think about enterprise applications.
I think it fits somewhere between the original 'Design Patterns' book, by Gamma, et al, and a book like 'J2EE Patterns' in terms of its scope. 'Design Patterns' describes existing patterns that are applicable to any kind of application. 'J2EE Patterns' describes patterns in terms of one platform (although many of them apply to other platforms as well.) Fowler's book describes a set of patterns that work with a certain kind of application, business apps, but that are applicable to more than one platform.
It's better than the 'J2EE Patterns' book, which doesn't do a good job explaining which parts of J2EE to avoid, and which 'patterns' are in fact workarounds for problems in the platform itself. (For example, the 'Composite Entity' pattern.)
I have to strongly disagree with the first reviewer. Fowler does explain which patterns work best on which platform. The first section of the book gives a good road map for deciding which set of patterns to use for your app. He mentions explicitly that .Net pulls you in the direction of Table Module, but that with J2EE you would be less likely to use that pattern.
As far as the patterns being available in frameworks, I still find it useful to know about the patterns the framework implements. That way you know which framework to select. We recently went through an O/R mapping tool selection process. Reading the Unit Of Work, Data Mapper, Repository, Lazy Load and Identity Map chapters helped *immensely* in that process. Likewise reading the Front Controller pattern gave me some new ideas on how best to utilize the Struts framework. I totally disagree with the notion that "learning about the patterns that are associated with these frameworks will provide little value". Ignorance is definitely not bliss here.
Finally, the idea that because the book 'just' collects and names patterns that already exist somehow decreases its value is hogwash. These are tried and true patterns that many developers have found useful. Naming and clearly describing common patterns is very helpful. This is exactly what the original 'Design Patterns' book did. By this logic, I guess the original reviewer would have given 'Design Patterns' only 3 stars.
It's a great book.