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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JDBC API Tutorial and Reference, Third Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Maydene Fisher, Jon Ellis, Jonathan Bruce
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
an exceptionally comprehensive volume

JDBC is one of the most mature and widely used Java APIs. Even after the arrival of more recent tools and technologies like EJB's CMP and JDO, JDBC still remains a simple, fast, and reliable way of storing objects' state in an RDBMS. While conceptually this technology is quite straightforward, its evolution has made it more complex and voluminous. Many books have been trying to explain the main aspects of it over and over again, but the 3rd edition of "JDBC API Tutorial and Reference" goes far beyond that. The book is divided into two major sections: the Tutorial and the Reference. Actually, there are four tutorials in the Part One: Basic, Advanced, MetaData, and Rowset. Here well-written explanations are followed by clear and detailed examples. It is remarkable that Part Two, The Reference, is not your typical API reference with simply method signatures or redundant explanations of their arguments. This is an extremely well thought through description of how to use JDBC 3.0 API to achieve a particular goal. Every class has a solid overview, examples, schemas -- everything one needs to get the job done. The book also contains an Appendix for JDBC driver developers and another Appendix covering JDBC 3.0 API changes. This book provides the most clear and comprehensive JDBC coverage that I have ever seen. It is not just a matter of its size of over 1200 pages, but although the result of a well designed book structure and clear delivery.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MySQL (3rd Edition) (Developer's Library)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Paul DuBois
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
By Far the best MySQL Book Available

This is an outstanding book on the MySQL database. Paul DuBois systematically takes the reader from a MySQL tutorial to advanced topics in MySQL database administration. Since I have installed the MySQL database I have barely put this book down. The chapters on the Perl DBI API and PHP are alone worth the price of the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is thinking about using MySQL.
I already owned the O'Reilly book on MySQL and there is no comparison. The O'Reilly book barely scratches the surface of what MySQL is and what it can do as a relational database. I have since given the O'Reilly book away.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Object Thinking (DV-Microsoft Professional)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: David West
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
I really wanted to love this book

And I did - but I'm not sure how broad the appeal of a work such as this will be.

Readers looking for a 'pure' programming book will be disappointed; readers expecting a theoretical introduction to object-oriented programming will probably find themselves overwhelmed. The other groups of readers for whom I feel saddest will be those where English is their second language and readers predisposed to hostility towards Agile programming methodologies (http://www.agilealliance.com/home) - for them, this book will be an exercise in frustration.

The language in this book is written at a higher level of vocabulary than is typical - perhaps not atypical of a philosophy textbook (which is much closer to what this book is), but certainly outside the norm for books about programming. And it is because of this emphasis on philosophy that I find myself only able to give the book 3 stars. I loved it - but a lot of people will be put off by Dr. West's vision of titanic struggle between formalist culture and relativist culture, technocrats and managers against geeks and code poets.

On an emotional level, I get it. At an intellectual level, I get it. The process he's describing, the methodology he proposes, totally gel with the way I've long thought about my programs. Even when I was writing largely procedural code, I was holding in my head metaphors that made it a lot easier for me to visualize what I was trying to achieve. West believes that by training developers to accept fuzziness and chaos, to embrace uncertainty and relativism, to adopt an almost Zen-like approach to software-by-metaphor, better software will come about.

This book is almost a Gnostic text of sorts - to the believer or not-quite-believer actively seeking the message this book tries deliver, it will be a wonder. To a skeptic or traditionalist, it will seem like heresy. Ultimately, that's too bad - I think there's a lot of wonderful material in this book that'll be lost, and I do think my profession will be the less because of it.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Electrodynamics (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: David J. Griffiths
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This may be the best textbook on any subject ever written.

This textbook may well be the best textbook on any subject ever written by anybody. When I took my course at Grinnell College using this book, it was as though there were no need for lecture. The professor even admitted that with a text this good, the subject pretty much teaches itself. I cannot recommend a book more highly than I recommend this book. This language used to convey the information is so well-motivated that the student does not have to work on understanding what is going on.