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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The original


This book is refered to from almost every pattern article or book I have seen and is well know for being the classic pattern book where all the others derive from. Written before the Internet boom most of the examples are related to GUI programming in C++ or SmallTalk, but it is still easy to think about how to use the patterns in the presentation/business/data layer of a modern application (there are also plenty of other books that covers that).
The best part of the book in my opinion is the implementation section that exists for each pattern, where the authors discuss specific implementation issues in regards to the pattern just described. Often I caught myself thinking about these issues while reading the pattern and it was very satisfying to see that this was known issues and that they were discussed.
The reason I do not give 5 stars is that the book can be a little bit dry reading from time to time.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Certified Developer Study Guide
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Matt Voerman
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Good content overview, but poorly edited


Executive Summary:
Overall the book helped me prepare for the exam, and I'm glad I had it for that purpose.
It is good for giving a broad overview of exam topics, but read it with caution and be prepared to research the content if it doesn't seem to make sense -- otherwise the occasional unclear writing and bugs in example code listings will give you grief.

Positive:
Since the author was one of the subject-matter experts for the test, he presumably knows the range of topics which will be covered on the exam. This book gives a good idea of what those topics will be, and provides a good introduction/overview to most of them.
Some other reviewers have mentioned that the practice questions don't match well with the actual exam questions. This was one of my biggest concerns going into the exam. I personally found that the practice questions match very well with the real exam questions, specifically in terms of how question style and difficulty. What doesn't match is that there are too few practice questions (even including the extra ones on the book's web site) to adequately cover the breadth of each chapter. So there are many areas that don't have any practice questions, but which are still tested on the exam.

Negative:
This book is in great need of editing for technical details and, in a few cases, clarity of writing. Here are my gripes:
- The book was apparently just adapted from the previous (Flash MX) edition of the book. There are numerous references to Flash MX which should have said Flash MX 2004. (There are also some legitimate references to Flash MX.) Most of these are benign, but it still makes me question the quality of the book. I found at least one case where the information was correct for Flash MX but is wrong with MX 2004.
- There have been a handful of places where the writing was unclear and gave a strong impression that the author was just skimming over the content and had difficulty explaining it clearly. In two such cases, I thought the writing was really confusing so I looked up the topic in the Flash help, only to find that (in both cases) the confusing text is word-for-word out of the Flash help!
- The book is plagued with bugs in the example code (most commonly changing variable names mid-way through the example).
- There are several examples of the (somewhat deprecated) ActionScript 1.0 Object-Oriented Programming. Some of these appear in early chapters which are talking about much simpler topics, which would have been very confusing had I not already read a book on OOP in AS1. I don't remember seeing anything using the AS1 style OOP on the actual exam.
- The code and content in the chapters on how to write ActionScript 2.0 classes are all very wrong and will not compile (and give misinformation and don't give important details). I honestly don't think that they tested the code on even an early Beta of Flash MX 2004 or they presumably would have found these things out. Admittedly this is a particular sore point for me, since I am a big fan of the new AS2 OOP model; it didn't seem to make a difference from what I saw on the exam. Don't expect to learn any valid AS2 from this book. (See Colin Moock's Essential ActionScript 2.0 for stellar coverage of that topic).

Note: I originally wrote this review before taking the exam. After taking the exam, I came back and made some changes based on how I think it really compares to the exam. So if you read it before, that is why it may look different now!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
You all need to study and stop been lazy!


Unless you are a knowledgeable computer tech or otherwise can understand where the mistakes are located in the book, then this is definitely the worst book you could have ever selected. I did buy it and have been sorry ever since. The best source for study is THE ALL IN ONE A+ CERTIFICATION EXAM GUIDE by Michael Meyers. Dummies must have hired dummies for this book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle PL/SQL Programming, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Steven Feuerstein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This is a very informative book.


This is a very well written book, a must for any ORACLE PL/SQL Programmer. Along with the ORACLE Built-In Packages book, they both provide undocumented features and helpful examples.