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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Mastering Windows Server 2003
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Christa Anderson, Michele Beveridge, C. A. Callahan, Lisa Justice
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Thank You, Mark Minasi!!!

This book is just amazing! As someone who is fairly new to administering Windows 2003 (um, and Windows 2000 and Active Directory), it has proved to be a GODSEND! This is THE book that I grab everytime I need to learn how to set something up. Mark has this incredible ability to feel like he is right in the room with me, looking over my shoulder. His explanations are great. And, I for one, am glad that I get LOTS of pages for my money. I didn't know the first thing about DNS, Active Directory or Windows 2000/2003 Server when I picked up this book and now my test domains are simply humming along. I picked this book up in a bookstore after reading bits and pieces at the bookshelf. I came out to the Amazon site to get the ISBN number for a colleague when I read some of the reviews. You guys are crazy. I've read a ton of technical books and none of them come close to this one, in terms of what you get for the money. And why on earth would you think that you should be able to print from the CD? What's the copyright good for, if I could print a copy out for all of my friends. I'm sure it took a lot of effort to write this book and I, for one, am willing to pay for it. I'm sold. Thanks Mark. You made my life much easier.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Test-Driven Development in Microsoft .NET (Microsoft Professional)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: James W. Newkirk, Alexei A. Vorontsov
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Too shallow

The book provides only shallow explanation of how TDD is supposed to work. Oversimplification may lead to bad code. For example, Red/Green/Refactor principle is only good if your first test is comrehensice enough. Imagine you are writing a parser for a complex language (HTML, C++, whatever). You simply can't write it piece by piece, i.e. write test for parsing a simple construct and then add more code to parse more complex constructs. What you end up with is a bunch of spagetti ifs. Your first test should be large enough to force you to use lex/yacc approach. The grammar does not have to be complete, but the framework has to be there from the beginning. Stack example is way too simple. C'mon, decent developer should be able to implement it correctly on whiteboard in 30 minutes. NUnit software is mentioned too many times, the book begins to look like a commercial.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Introduction to Programmable Logic Controllers
Publisher: Delmar Thomson Learning
Authors: Gary Dunning
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

What the publisher's blurb and the other reviews DON"T say is that this is a LAB MANUAL! If you don't have the appropiate software it's value is very limited. I will be returning it to exchange for a real "Intro to PLC's".

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective Java Programming Language Guide
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Joshua Bloch
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Brilliant, succinct and highly professional

IMHO, The Java Bible is out. It is that simple. I think this book deserves noless popularity and respect than "Effective C++" which set the high standardto the "Effective" series.
It's definitely not a beginners book, this is the book that core Java developersshould memorize by heart. This book is written by the Sun expert who bothdesign and develop Java run-time libraries (Collections, in particular, which isone of the prettiest species in Java) and is definitely aware of their successesand failures. Out of his experience Joshua brings hundreds of "how about this"unexpectable situations - those I doubt you was ever thinking of before.
It contains 57 issues covering topics about:- creating objects (how about static factories vs constructors ?)- methods common to all objects (ever thought that overriding clone, equals, hashCode and toString is easy ?),- designing interfaces of your classes and interfaces (ever realized how immutability is important ? ever wondered which one of the inner classes fits best ?)- substitutes to C constructs (don't say there are no unions and enums in Java)- general programming and methods (ever knew that overloading is dangerous in it's nature and that ( 1.00 - ( 9 * 0.1 )) != 0.1 ?)- exceptions (ever wondered how should you react to some particular failure - terminate the JVM, throw the exception [which one ?], return null ?)- threads (ever thought that double check locking is broken and that notify() is more dangerous than notifyAll() anh what are 'alien' methods that cause deadlocks ?)- serialization (making your object serializable should never be just declaring it this way ! How about readResolve() and defensive readObject() ?)
Amazingly - this book contains tons of essential information but Joshua'ssuccinct style simple put it into 230 pages and 57 items. I don't think there'sany sentence or chapter you may ignore - every word author says worths rememberingvery good and very carefully. I read it once but I'm definitely going to re-readit once in a while.
If you need other proofs - just believe me that most of the Java articles onJavaWorld and JDC reference this book in that or another way. If James Gosling issaying "Some might think that I don't need any Java books, but I need this one",doesn't it mean that you and me definitely need it too ?I wish I could give it 6 starts, really.
Happy reading !