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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Chuck Musciano, Bill Kennedy
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent


This book truly is a definitive guide and anyone interested in web development should have this on hand! The authors cover every single tag along with all the related attributes, even those deprecated in the HTML 4.01 standard, and unlike several other books I've looked at, they do not restrict the topics to the purpose of these tags but also advise the reader on when and where to use them. Clarifications of browser differences help the reader be more cautious when writing HTML. Furthermore, the book offers insight on effective design, both of the web page and of the HTML code itself, which I found to be very helpful. Also included is information on CSS, character entities, history of HTML, and HTML DTD's. Something else I found interesting is the assertion that HTML is not a programming language. I applaud the authors for making that distinction- it is a widespread misconception that HTML is a programming language, but actually, it is not.
The cover may be unattractive and the reader may think that the book is dry and technical, but that's not true. The authors do take a conversational approach, occasionally adding humor and sarcasm (but not in a condescending tone like other authors!) making the book fun and easy to read.
HOWEVER-- I would NOT recommend this book to the absolute beginner. The organization is not exactly suited to the needs of a beginner; the book gives more information than is necessary before moving onto the basics (in fact, even while discussing the basics of HTML, the beginner might be confused) Instead, this book should be read by someone who may have dabbled in HTML but now wants to be a serious web designer. For someone just starting out in web design, you might take a look at something from SAMs or the popular HTML Goodies by Joe Burns. (Just make sure that you get something that is up-to-date, as HTML standards are continuously under review and subject to frequent modification.)



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Unix Systems Programming: Communication, Concurrency and Threads, Second Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Kay Robbins, Steve Robbins
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Used this book for a college class taught by the author!


I took a course in Operating Systems with Dr. Steven Robbins at The University of Texas at San Antonio and (naturally) we used this book for understanding the architecture and programming of the UNIX System. The book is much like its author - organized, logical, and clear. Despite being biased, I still heartily recommend this book to anyone who would like to "get to know UNIX better." It is extrememly well organized. The examples are abundant and enlightening. Although the writing can be terse at times, it is always cogent and unambiguous. IMHO, the thing that sets this book a class apart is the constant focus on concurrency and the POSIX standard.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web-Based Training : How to Teach Anyone Anything Anywhere Anytime
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: William Horton
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent e-learning overview


Most of the book covering e-learning are too much based on northamerican politics and standards since that's the reality for authors but, Horton's ideas and guidelines can be applied virtually in any country. He english is very to understand, he does not use word taken from slangs, or any "strange" word.
Chapter Organization is very good, every chapter can be read as whole unit, without going backward and forward reading other chapters because ideas are completely developed within a chapter.
Horton, is my fav. author on e-learning topics.



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
Four stars if you know UNIX or are already a developer


This is not a bad book, but I'm still surprised by the generosity of the reader reviews. Perl is something of a cult, so I think in a lot of cases a positive review means "I like Perl" more than it means "I like 'Learning Perl.'" People hesitate (understandably, I think) to insult a book that's closely associated with a great open-source language.
I myself think Perl is great, but I have some serious problems with the way this book was written and edited. The authors can't seem to decide whether this should be an easy book for programmers, a difficult book for non-programmers, or even (at times) an easy book for non-programmers. That is to say, the tone, style, and assumptions about the audience change throughout, sometimes from page to page. Key concepts are glossed over with a minimum of explanation (the chapter on hashes, particularly, is a disgrace); then, defying all reason, very simple concepts are overexplained for two or three pages. The authors have been too close to their subject for too long, and they seem to have forgotten what they learned and the order in which they learned it. Maybe a newbie co-author might have helped.
If you are an experienced developer or are comfortable with UNIX, you'll get a lot of benefit from "llama." Otherwise, though, start with another book, or learn something about UNIX first. Then return to this book, and you should have an easier time of it.