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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Advanced PHP Programming
Publisher: Sams
Authors: George Schlossnagle
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Great outline; average implementation

PHP *needs* capable writers, like this one. Developers, who take time to write, seem rare - compared to writers, who rarely get to do development projects, anymore. This author is clearly a very experienced practitioner. He outlined a great table of contents.

He advocates and provides guidance for adhering to best practices, regarding design patterns, scalability, caching, unit testing, profiling & tuning etc. The last 1/6 of the book is about C language PHP extension. Excellent "Further reading" suggestions are provided at the end of each chapter.

Out of a high-volume PHP site developer, since 1999, I would expect creative examples. If your site provides Fibonacci sequences and readability scores web services, you'll find this book highly useful. Though on page 1, the author PROMISES NO* "foo-bar" examples, he provides plenty (on pages: 19, 53, 56, 68, 102, 158, 166, 227, 230, 255, 268, 274, 325, 373, 405, 466, 483, 484, 563). Since a reader devotes plenty of time to contemplating foo-bar examples, I came to realize why they bother me so much ... they're unimaginative (i.e. mentally lazy), regarding pragmatic applications for the technology.

I found myself constantly marking comma's in the text - to ease the readability and follow what was being said. If the author doesn't know where to put comma's, the editors should! There's no bold text - to illustrate lessons within the code. As far as I can remember, there's no offer of complete code (e.g. from a website), either.

This is a good, author with generally readable writing style and a wealth of experience to convey. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from buying this book; there's a tremendous amount to be learned and gained from this ... probably the most advanced PHP text, available. I'm just a bit disappointed, because, though it's very good, it could have been world class. I would buy future books from this author; I hope that they get even better!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Don't bother . . . it's useless

Superb overview, teaches everything you need to know to get up and running just as quickly as the title promises!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: PMP Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Peter Nathan, Gerald Everett Jones, Peter Nathan, Gerald Everett Jones
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I passed with an 89% thanks to this book!

I have just passed the exam thanks to this book. I used this as well as the PMBOK Guide and other study material.
This simple review refreshed my knowledge on project management - along with my on the job real world experience - was all that I needed. I didn;t need an intro course to PM, but a refresher, a quick easy-to-read guide that would give me insights to passing the exam. It did the trick

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning J2EE 1.4: From Novice to Professional (Apress Beginner Series)
Publisher: Apress
Authors: James L. Weaver, Kevin Mukhar
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Reference

As a professional software developer, I've used some of the J2EE technologies on projects. I picked this book up to fill in knowledge gaps on some the features of J2EE that I hadn't used before. As I expected this book does a good job of covering the basics, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this book also covers some advanced topics. I expect that even experienced developers will find themselves referring back to this book not only for a refresher on the basics, but as a reference for advanced topics as well.
There is a little bit of tongue in cheek humor sprinkled through the book, such as one section heading called "Using JNDI to Phone Home". If you don't get the joke, read the first chapter on EJB's and you will. If you get the joke and are groaning, then you haven't hung around with enough software developers. That kind of thing constitutes high brow humor at my company. I can't wait to get back to work and use it.
The first chapter is an overview of web based applications, and where J2EE technology fits into the picture. It paints the big picture view that should be enlightening to most everyone, other than the seasoned web developer.
The second chapter is either the most, or least important of the book. It is instructions for how to setup the Sun J2EE environment on your machine, and the PointBase database. If you already have access to a J2EE 1.4 environment, then you may not need this chapter. The examples in the book are using the Sun tools, so you may want to follow the setup to make it easier to step through the examples in the book.
Chapters 3 & 4 are about JSP's and go from the basics to some pretty advanced topics, such as tag libraries, and expression language. I found quite a few bits of valuable information in these chapters.
Chapter 5 is about servlets. Servlets have been around for a quite a while now. If you aren't familiar with them, this is a good introduction to the technology.
Chapters 6 and 7 are about database access. Writing web applications really start getting fun when you start thinking about hitting the database. These are a couple of meaty chapters that start with the basics, straight JDBC/SQL, and then cover some advanced topics like stored procedures, database locking and isolation levels. I was pleased to pick up a lot of new and valuable information in these chapters.
Chapters 8 through 11 cover EJB's. Again you are taken from the basics, through advanced topics. EJB's are a tough subject, in my opinion. But, this book does spend a lot of time explaining how to configure and deploy them, which isn't obvious. If you aren't familiar with EJB's, being able to follow along with the examples in the book, having followed the chapter 2 setup, will be a big help. If you can make it through creating and deploying your EJB's, then the book covers some advanced topics like container managed relationships (CMR), EJB-QL, and EJB design patterns.
Chapters 12 and 13 cover web services. Before I read this chapter I would not have considered web services, a J2EE topic. It is certainly a web application topic, and something that seems to be emerging more often as a solution in web applications. However, I didn't realize how J2EE now makes some accommodations to support building a web services application with J2EE technologies. Again, interesting material in these chapters.
I am anticipating that I will be referring back to this book quite often.