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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: User Stories Applied : For Agile Software Development (Addison-Wesley Signature Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Mike Cohn
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The only game in town


Many books have been written about requirements gathering as a discipline, and many more about techniques for doing it. To my knowledge, this is the first book dedicated to "user stories", the form of software requirements capture used in Extreme Programming (XP). At first blush, you might think that there isn't enough to the topic to warrant a book, because the beauty of user stories is their simplicity. But Mike Cohn shows that there is indeed plenty of potential material -- and useful material at that. My only complaint about this book is that the proofreading could have been more careful; there are too many "stray words" left over from editing.

In "User Stories Applied", Cohn explains what stories are, what makes a good story, and how stories are written. He uses copious examples throughout, and I enjoyed the self-test questions at the end of each chapter. My favorite part of the book comes near the end, when he works through how the initial set of stories would be developed using a nontrivial example (an eCommerce web site.)

Although user stories are traditionally associated with XP, they can be used without it, and Cohn shows how stories fit in with other agile methodologies (Scrum in particular.) If you need to capture requirements for agile projects, or if you're sick of writing ISO standard requirements documents and think there must be a better way, then this book is for you.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference (2nd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Danny Goodman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
a true help for experienced scripters


Goodman + O'Reilly = fabulous! Finally something that really gives you the information you need about the futzy details of javascript and dHTML. I am so glad that the first few chapters were not the beginner basics that you find in so many books these days.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Electrodynamics (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: David J. Griffiths
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Amazing Book, couldn't get by without it.


Simple, clear, good examples, organized and great practice problems.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C++ for Game Programmers (Game Development Series)
Publisher: Charles River Media
Authors: Noel Llopis
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Awesome! A Great C++ Book!


This book is not about game programming. It is about using C++ effectively to write game code. It is for "Programmers" who use C++ to write game code. Just wanted to clear that up for some of you boneheads who were expecting some kind of graphics tutorial.
Anyway, I devoured this book in a few days. It is written in the fasion of Scott Meyers indispensable "Effective C++" series. Noel explains what the compiler may or may not do for you. For instance, you may be surprised to learn that your inline functions may in fact not be inlined. Noel explains why and how to better your chances of getting your function truly inlined. If you are used to always writing copy constructors, Noel will show you when not to in game code. The breakdown of the virtual function table for an object with multiple inheritance was an eye opener. He also supplies a memory manager worth it's weight in gold! (How do you weigh code...?)
Also covered are the STL, Abstract Interfaces (great for implementing your graphics pipeline in BOTH Direct X and OpenGL), Plug In's (very cool coverage) as well as implementing your own Run Time Type Checker you can use in your Linux code as well (MicroSoft's RTTI bytes).
What Noel stresses throught the book is if your code is doing something a hundred thousand times each frame, you better know what it's really doing! The code snippets are perfect. They are not complete examples you can rip off and drop into your own code. But they do show you enough to make you say "Ah ha! Thats how its done." If you are a software engineer by profession, you will find yourself hurrying to work to see where you can improve that dog you are working on. I carry a book bag every day with 5 or 6 programming books that should be in every programmers library. This book is now one of them.
Finally, if you want a sample of Noels writing, run out and pick up a copy of the April 2004 issue of "Game Developer" magazine and check out his article on "Optimizing the Content Pipeline."