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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Somewhat Disappointing: Good information, bad format.

I was very interested in getting the Visual Quickstart Guide for XHTML. I have been a fan of the VQS series since I first encounterd the DHTML Visual Quickstart Guide.
I must admit, though, that I was somewhat disappointed in this book. It was not as well constructed as many other books in the series.
As with all VQS guides it has a companion web site. This is a very good site, especially with the examples and the Q&A section. Ms. Castro provides plenty of good information and the examples can explain many things that are not described well in the book.
I suggest that more benefit would be had from these examples were the readers to have access to multiple browsers. The way the pages appear in each browser are very informative.
The problem I had was, well, approach. The first part of the book dealt primarily with the HTML aspects of web design. While this is useful to a point, it seems overbearing, especially if your primary focus of reading is to gain a greater knowledge of XHTML.
In addition to this, the format seems more geared toward a web base than a paper base. Many times, she wrote that a topic would be discussed more completely on page such and such. While I understand that this is a good way to avoid repetiveness, as well as to cut down on the size of the manuscript. But the constant reference to other pages became wearing. For the most part, I felt that these references would have been better as a hotlink on a web page, than as a page to turn to in a book.
This approach turned me off, as I would have much preferred a slow design-up style of writing, from the beginning steps to the actual coding. For others it may not seem as irritating.
A great deal of information was presented in the book. Many tags were discussed, though not all. Much of ths was not presented in an entertaining way, and after some time, I had to rest from the book because it seemed dry. This is not something I had encountered in other Visual Quick Start guides I had read.
I also feel too much time was spent discussing deprecated tags. These tags are an important part of HTML, though I was more interested in the XHTML and CSS portions of the book. I would also have poreferred a discussion of transitional strategies.
If you are experienced at coding HTML, you are likely to find less value in this book than one new to HTML. If you are interested in XHTML and have HTML experience this is not the best resource, though some of the information provided is valuable.
Based on the format, I would have given this book one star. Based on the overall HTML content, I would probably have given the book three and a half stars. Based on XHTML content I could only give this book two stars. However, bearing in mind the utility of the VQS guides to novice HTML coders, I have to give this 3 stars.
I cannot recommend this for experienced Web Developers as there is little information that is particularly advanced.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Official Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
VVEERRYY helpful

While the writing is good and the production values utterly lavish, the maps are a disaster -- labelled with letters and numbers that don't often correspond with the legend, when there is a legend at all. More typical is the beastiary in the back: every monster has a pretty picture, but it's almost impossible to understand the icons used to show the enemies' attacks and what they're vulnerable to. Not the most practical guide, but a nice souvenir nonetheless.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Andre Lamothe
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
If you are truly serious about game programming then...

If you are truly serious about game programming then this is the only book to pickup. Mr. Lamothe writes in a very simple tone explaining away everything. He assumes nothing and explains everything.
This book is not for someone that does not have a semi-concrete understanding of C/C++ and object oriented programming. The Windows game programming book for dummies is not for dummies. It skimps on areas that this book dives into and I am sincerely thankful to Andre for teaching me DirectX programming.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP and MySQL, 3rd Edition
Publisher: SitePoint
Authors: Kevin Yank
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This is a great beginners book

I bought this book and am very happy with it. I've bought a lot of books on PHP that really suck, not because the author didn't know the subject, but because the author stunk as a teacher. This isn't a reference book, it's a how-to tutorial and it succeeds at what it set out to do. It teaches PHP and MySQL to newbies. I've used it and have loaned it out to others in my company and they love it. Read this one first and then, if you want to, move on to more in-depth books on PHP.