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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The CSS Anthology101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks
Publisher: SitePoint
Authors: Rachel Andrew
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Fine Intro to CSS Solutions


My guess is that there are many hundreds, if not thousands, of web designers who continue to build sites and web applications using "old-fashioned" tables and HTML layout formatting instead of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). I'm one of them. The problem is that the modern trend is away from HTML table and layout formatting and towards newer standards-compliant means. The protocols and standards of the World Wide Web are evolving towards "cleaner" code, more standardized code, and more capable code, generally guided by principles and standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium, known as W3C.

In the book, "The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks, and Hacks", author Rachel Andrew provides an easy way for hold-outs to ease into CSS design. This is not a treatise or concept-minded book, but a practical introduction and guide to putting CSS to immediate use in real-world contexts that every web designer is already familiar with. The author shows how to use CSS to style text, format headings and images, create navigation, style forms and user interfaces, and work with browser-compatibility issues.

Andrew is a working web designer and applications designer and presents the material in a very straightforward practical manner - almost as if the reader was following along at a workshop. The writing is clear, all examples are illustrated with relevant code samples, and she offers the insights of an experienced professional regarding everyday problems and solutions.

The book is composed of a preface, nine chapters, and an index. Chapter 1 is an introduction to CSS showing why it is replacing HTML table and layout formatting, and the basic concepts of CSS. The other chapters are set up in a "problem/solution" format where various design issues - text styling, image layout, etc. - are presented and solved by adept usage of CSS.

Even readers who have never paid much attention to CSS will quickly get a useful, working sense of how it is used and how to use it immediately themselves. Although CSS is yet another language to learn, Andrew presents it in such a way that it seems like it is an easy learn. And it demonstrably is, as here, easy to use.

The best parts of the book are the designer tips from an experienced code-writer on how to work with code across different browsers and platforms, and how to understand that browsers have two modes of parsing - a compliant mode and a "quirks" mode. Some browsers, she shows, just have "quirks", especially Microsoft's Internet Explorer. (Surprise!). Although all the CSS tags necessary to illustrate the solutions presented here are shown, a list or chart of most commonly used CSS tags would have been helpful here. Downloadable code for all of the book's examples are available at the publisher's website - www.sitepoint.com/books/cssant1.

This is a very nice book to transition to CSS and current web standards-compliant code.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Linux+ Study Guide, 3rd Edition (XKO-002)
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Roderick W. Smith
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Needed more on the hardware side.


I took the Linux+ test recently and passed it with ease using only Roderick Smith's Study Guide to pass the test. I have been using Linux for nearly two years now, and I used "Special Edition Using Caldera OpenLinux" and "Running Linux" to teach myself the Linux operating system. Although they gave me an excellent grounding in basic Linux, I still wasn't comfortable sitting for the test since my knowledge was rather sporadic and haphazard, like that of many self-taught users, so I tried this book out to round out my knowledge and get some idea of where the exam topics were focused. And this book was right on the money. Every topic that I saw on the exam was fully covered in this book. System logging, basic administration, command line syntax, UNIX utilities . . . everything. The only weak point of the book is the hardware section, and that is not so much a weakness of the book as it is a weakness of the test. About 1/4 of the test is hardware-related topics, many of which have nothing directly related to Linux. I already had my A+, so this was not an issue for me, but for some people it may be. I STRONGLY suggest that you do not take this exam unless you have your A+ or CST or the equivalent level of knowledge. The hardware topics were diverse enough that any book on Linux would have trouble filling in all of the extra details that you need to know to get past the hardware section of the exam. So, do the A+ first, then soon after, use this book to ace your test. And most of all, USE Linux instead of just reading about it. There is no reason for a "paper cert" with regards to this exam. Install and configure it yourself, spend some time hacking and then get certified.
Thanks, Rod!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Advanced .NET Remoting (C# Edition)
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Ingo Rammer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Essential to getting real work done


So far this is the best (if not the only) source for learning how to receive events through remoting. My development problem: notify numerous clients when a record has been inserted into a table. Through what I learned in the In-Depth .Net Remoting chapter I was able to do just that, and in a robust way that can tolerate the disconnection of clients without blowing up the event raising on the server.
There is much useful information throughout the book. I really appreciated the line by line (or should I say node by node) explanation in the Configuration chapter. There is so much good info that I still haven't assimilated everything in this book.
I also found Ingo responsive when I contacted him by e-mail; however, this book is bound to get so popular I wonder if that will continue to be the case.
This is a quality explanation of .Net remoting. It does not just present simple examples, but it illustrates concepts with robustness of architecture in mind.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: OCA/OCP: Oracle9i DBA Fundamentals I Study Guide
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Biju Thomas, Bob Bryla
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not enough...


Don't waste your money on this book. Unless your looking for something to burn in your fireplace, and if you do burn it don't get down wind because you'll never get the stench out. I will certianly remember the names Biju Thomas & Bob Bryla next time I'm looking for a good study guide. This book is at the best incomplete. Too many simple questions that lead you to believe the exam will be similar. The more complex oracle study list topics are not explained at all.