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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Steve Oualline
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
good book

I am torn as to give it 4 or 5 stars. I'd really like to give it 4 1/2 stars but I have 4 or 5 to choose from.
I don't know if it's just that I've read about pointers so many times and finally got it but this book seems to me to have the best explanation on them yet. I mean most books tell you about them but in trying to describe them they loose me on why I should use them. This book gave a quick explanation of what they are and then showed a practical example of how they are used. To me, this was very important.
This is also the first book I've read that really explained the preprocessor to me and now I finally understand that #include "whatever.h" really isn't c-code but rather preprocessor stuff. It contained very good explanations of this and macros.
While I don't know that I would recommend this to a beginner, it certainly helps the intermediate programmer (which I feel that I am) move up a little. It is also one of the first technical books that I really didn't want to put down and that I read like a novel. While I skipped over most of the exercises, as I felt I would go back to them, I felt a lot of the questions that are in the book are good examples of how to spot common errors. Mostly stupid programmer errors like forgetting to close a comment which I think helps make the book more "practical" like the title suggests.
If you write code for a living, this probably isn't the book for you. If you don't already know a programming language more complicated than BASIC or don't have some basic knowledge of C then this book is not for you. HOWEVER, if you've taken a class in c, read a book but didn't really feel like you've really understood c, this book is for you.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Steve Krug
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Common sense and humour - a great book!

A very good and truly common sense guide to the all-important subject of usability. The author has good humour, and a good sense for the essential things. This is not a 1000-page bible, but a 200-page full-color guide for you and me, that you will 1. understand perfectly, 2. enjoy reading, 3. remember every time you see (or design) a website. It has the essentials laid down without any unnecessary funfair.
I enjoyed it very much and I think I would send one to a couple of very experienced web designers who just don't "get" that websites are designed for real people to be used in everyday life and not to be some sort of experimental work of art that noone has access to. Great job, Mr. Krug!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Access Cookbook, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Ken Getz, Paul Litwin, Andy Baron
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I'm a ColdFusion guy, so read this review with that in mind:

This book I would recommend for people who use Access as their back end, and need to add some automation to their back end. It deals mostly with using VBA to solve problems, like:
* How to create an input box where you can get some better info than the standard VBA one
* Call Excel functions, and apply them to Access data
* Figure out which users have a shared database open, if you're
doing a blended Access/CF solution
* Managing report printing (see next set of bullets)

I recommend checking out this book under the following circumstances:
* You have internal and external clients hitting your database. In a situation like that, you can have your internal users access the database using a well-designed Access application, which this book will give you some tricks on how to create.
* In the alternative, you want to manage and analyze your data, and create print reports. That's where Access just as a stand-alone application gives a substantial advantage over any Web technology.

For a ColdFusion developer, there are some topics in this book that probably wouldn't do much good:
* Adding Smart Tags functionality to a database - if you're expanding beyond the reach of Microsoft Office, Smart Tags prove to be a nifty proprietary parlor trick
* Using Access' security management tools to manage user rights to database objects. If I run a Windows server, I would use Challenge and Response to create NTFS based permissions on my pages in my application that manage data. Otherwise, I'll use application-based usernames and passwords, same net result.
* Exporting Access data as XML using pre-defined schemas. Not bad, but ColdFusion has far better technology.

Don't get me wrong - those last three bullets are not any disrespect to this well-written, well-organized guide. I'm just looking at, "What topics would interest you if you're a ColdFusion developer?"

If you do want to learn more about Access database development as an art unto itself, this is not the place to begin. This is the place to arrive at.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C++ Coding Standards : 101 Rules, Guidelines, and Best Practices (C++ in Depth Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Herb Sutter, Andrei Alexandrescu
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An indispensable book for serious C++ programmers

Sharp tools must be handled with care. C++ is such a tool providing exemplary expressiveness without sacrificing one iota in the efficiency of the generated code. This remarkable feat comes however at a price. C++ programmers are given more than enough rope to hang themselves; several times in a single line of code.

Sutter's and Alexandresu's C++ Coding Standards comes here to rescue providing 101 rules and guidelines for writing safe, readable, maintainable, and efficient code. The advice is organized into 12 different parts covering organization issues, design and coding style, functions and operators, class design, modules, templates, error handling, the standard template library, and type safety.

Most rules are C++ specific and objectively true: no space is wasted on generic programming advice that can be found in a number of other books, or subjective style guidelines that differ from site to site. The authors really know what they are talking about, and therefore write in an authoritative manner that suits the book's purpose. The structure of each element - summary, discussion, examples, exceptions, references - allows readers to tailor their reading pace according to their needs. In a summary, this is an indispensable book for all serious C++ programmers.