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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developing Solutions with Microsoft InfoPath(TM) (Pro - Developer)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Vani Mandava Teredesai, Patrick Halstead, Matthew Blain
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
If you must code in InfoPath, this is the only book


With all due respect to my esteemed fellow InfoPath programmer, this is the only book worth owning if you have to code complex projects in InfoPath VBScript or JavaScript. InfoPath is supposed to be the world's most cutting edge XML tool. With it's strong hooks to Web Services, it's supposed to be a thin-client tool for th 21st century. But how do you code connections to a Web Service? How do you auto populate a form using information queried from a web service? How do you query a web service from code in the first place? How do you access a UDDI catalog from code? How do you fill a list box with a number of web service descriptions to let the user choose which one is the correct service? How do you code a master-detail one-to-many form in VBScript or JScript?

This is the only book which shows you how to code this very common, typical, highly characteristic programming problems.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: 3D Game Engine Design : A Practical Approach to Real-Time Computer Graphics
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: David H. Eberly
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Priceless!!


If you are thinking of implementing a real-time graphics engine, then this book is a priceless resource. David Eberly had great taste in choosing the topics that he did.
However, there are some warnings that go along with this book. This book is not intended for those who know nothing about computer graphics. There are a lot of good books out there that cover the basics. Eberly's book assumes you are comfortable with those books and are ready to cross the gap between where they take you and what you see in modern video games. Also, there is a LOT of ADVANCED mathematics in this book. If you are a little shakey with your math skills, then perhaps it would be best to brush-up on that first. Advanced math concepts are talked about briefly, but used very often.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Francesco Balena
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
How much VB do you need?


Maybe my first review was too technical, so I'm trying again.
It is clear from the positive reviews that this book is a success for an audience of fairly advanced VB programmers. Those of us that are less advanced (I'm a beginner) might question whether the book will suit our needs, or if we are going to have the " two-star review" experience.
An example might help you decide. On p. 178 the author describes an example of an "array of arrays" using an appointment calendar with appointments stored in the array of arrays named "apps(day)". As part of the code, the statement appears:
If IsEmpty(apps(day)) Then
According to the on-line help, the IsEmpty function will always evaluate as false unless apps(day) is an empty variant. (Do you know this? If not, you won't understand how the If-statement works. The author doesn't explain, so you'll have to figure it out.) But apps(day) is an array of arrays; can it be an empty variant? The above If-statement works if:
apps(day) = Empty
which you might deduce as what the author is thinking, but if instead the reader imagines that
apps(day) = Array(Empty)
then the "IsEmpty" line must be changed to
If IsEmpty(apps(day)(0)) Then
(What do you know about array notation? The author mentions it, but not in the context of this code.) The author never spells out the constituent elements of apps(day), so the specifics are the reader's guess.
What does all this have to do with evaluating the book? The above example is not unusual. If you are happy to read at an abstract level, the gist of the examples is interesting and clear. However, if you want to implement the author's ideas using his code, his elliptical approach has gaps and ambiguities. He doesn't dwell on VB details. Depending on your background in VB, this fill-in and clarification can require a lot of head-scratching.
Bottom line: as a stimulus to imagination, definitely go ahead. As practical coding advice, be prepared to fuss.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Learning Perl...


In short, this is a good book. I'd recommend it to anyone wishing to start learning Perl.
However, it's not entirely easy to read, but then again show me a computer book that is. Also like other programming books, this couldn't have been edited! No way!! It's full of awful mistakes in code and grammar!! Believe me, when you're trying to figure some examples on a Monday morning at 5 am, the mistakes don't help!!!
On the whole, the author has done well with this book. I must say though, it would have been nice if the book referenced the Windows platform more often. The author keeps going on about how easily portable Perl is, but, didn't tell us the equivalent way of doing some programs on Windows. As you can imagine, some of the examples I simply couldn't do.
Like all other computer books I've picked up, this one recommends you to read others... why oh why oh why can't there be one massive super computer bible of a book??? Perhaps, I'll write one that is edited!!!