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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent, if brief.

The concepts in this book are desperately needed on the vast majority of websites. However, as another reviewer has stated, there is nothing new in this book if you've read Jakob's online column at useit.com. In fact, the book often contains word-for-word extracts from Jakob's web column and reads more like a web site than like a book. It is also deceptively brief, as it contains many screen shots to illustrate the points in the text. While some of the examples are very effective, I would have preferred a more in-depth examination of the principles and fewer illustrations.
Nevertheless, the book is worth buying just to have it available as a print reference. If all web designers took Jakob's advice to heart, the web would be a much friendlier place.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JUnit in Action
Publisher: Manning Publications
Authors: Ted Husted, Vincent Massol
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Every programmer should own this book

I think we can all agree that unit testing is a good thing that can be painful to implement. The main problem with unit testing is building tests that are easy to run and maintain. That is where JUnit enters the picture. JUnit simplifies the task of creating unit tests and this book simplifies the task of understanding and using JUnit.
The book starts with the basics of using JUnit but then moves on to explaining the intricacies of JUnit. UML diagrams clearly show the flow of control within JUnit and your unit tests. The author gives a good description of how to integrate JUnit with Ant, Maven, and Eclipse. The book also shows how to do unit testing of Servlets and JSPs which can be much more complex to test. The author demonstrates both the use of Cactus as well as the use of mock objects for J2EE testing. In fact, the best part of the book is that the author helps you determine how to decide what type of testing strategy is right for your application.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found the author's comments clear and insightful. The author supplies plenty of code samples with explanations of not just how but why we do our testing a certain way. The author's own experience is passed on to us with his "best practices". Anyone who is writing Java code should read and understand this book. The quality of the code you produce will vastly improve.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development Managers
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Not just for Agile Development

Although this book is from the Agile-series, the approach and advice extends to any methodology from the heavy (and still used) waterfall SDLC, to XP and agile methods.
Key steps in this book will show you how to streamline your development methodology in accordance with lean thinking:- Eliminate waste by cutting the fat out of processes, reducing rework, viewing your SDLC as a value stream.- Amplify learning, with an emphasis on iterative planning, feedback loops and team communications.- Decide as late as possible, which is enabled by concurrent activities, depth-first versus breadth-first problem solving, and other effective tools and techniques.- Deliver as fast as possible, based on analogies between manufacturing pull systems and scheduling, and how to accomplish the same in development.- Empower the team, which is a fundamental element of lean thinking. The tools and techniques presented in this section of the book are a mixture of common sense, leadership and management.- Build integrity in. If ever there were a direct connection between the lean thinking approach to manufacturing and software development, it is here. Tools and techniques given include model-driven development, refactoring and testing techniques. - See the whole, which emphasizes system thinking, metrics, optimization, and the supporting tools and techniques.
Any or all of the above can be effectively applied to any SDLC or methodology and produce results. Lean thinking was developed by Toyota as a manufacturing paradigm, which has been extended through that company and is applied to business processes outside of the manufacturing domain. That this team of authors has applied it to software development is not as unnatural as it may seem at first glance given how vastly different software is to create versus cars, for example. But, the paradigm has been proven outside of manufacturing before this book was written, and the basic philosophy and principles can be applied - which this book evidences.
If you want to look at development from an entirely unique perspective purge the words agile, XP and any other methodology from your mind while reading this book. I can almost guarantee that you'll find something in every chapter that you can put to immediate use in your own organization. As an aside, a book on software testing that is consistent with lean thinking in many ways, and closely aligned to the content of this book is "Software Testing Fundamentals: Methods and Metrics" ISBN 047143020X.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Magic Lantern Guides: Canon EOS Digital Rebel EOS 300 D (A Lark Photography Book)
Publisher: A Lark Photography Book
Authors: Rob Sheppard
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The true manual for the EOS 300D / Rebel

The manual that accompanies the camera while showing you the basics of the unit does a poor job of telling you what can be done. This book is an essential first step to understanding how to use the advanced features (creative zones) of the 300D. I'd recommend that you look into books on composition, white balance, color and other photographic techniques in addition though to master the camera.