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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Step by Step--Version 2003 (Step By Step (Microsoft))
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Michael Halvorson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
He's done it again!!

Michael Halvorson has written another great teaching book! It is everybit as good as his VB6 Step by Step book. Without his step by step clear desciptions I never would have passed the 70-176 VB6 Desktop exam on the first try. The cerification books are OK but I was constantly going back to Halvorson for clearer explanations of concepts, etc.If you are serious about programming or just want to know more about those buttons and boxes you see in your software applications - this book is your ticket to understanding it more!! I constantly recommend his books to new programmer's - as I do so here.....

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Unleashed (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Ray Rankins, Paul Jensen, Paul Bertucci
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A good ubiquitous source for dba's and developers

I've spent quite a bit of time reading various SQL Server 2000 books at my local bookstore trying to evaluate which book I need. I'm a web application developer of content management systems, and custom web based tools and my primary systems are based on SQL2K. I wanted a book that covered as many of the topics that I needed information on, but at the same time went into enough detail to be useful. I mean you could get SQL 2000 High Availability which is like a 700 page book from Microsoft Press that talks nothing but high availability and nothing else. However I can't really justify spending on 4 or so books, and my job is not that of a DBA anyways.
I'm very pleased with SQL Server 2000 Unleashed. It gives enough detail that I as a developer can take advantage of advanced features of MSSQL, understand more how the internals of MSSQL work which allows me to optimize my queries... and since I'm a one man team and have to take care of my database server, it provides best practices on maintenance, backup, indexing strategies, etc... I was also interested in learning more about high availability, what the options are, so that I can propose a solution and the options to my manager. My I.T dept was telling me to use Log Shipping for various reasons, a DBA from a sister company was recommending Fail Over Clustering for various reasons... I was bouncing back and forth on what to do, but after reading up on the high availability section in this book my questions were answered.
Definitely an important read for those developing applications that use MSSQL for a DB, and an excellent reference for database administrators. Plus the wording isn't too dry.
Hope that helps in your decision making. BTW the Microsoft Press book SQL SERVER 2000 HIGH AVAILABILITY is also an excellent book if you're a DBA and have to implement H.A in a large high transaction critical environment...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Head First Java, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Head First This Way

Head First Java is an excellent book. If you are not technologically oriented, if you have heard "The Java Jive", if perhaps you have techie friends and want to understand half of what they say, then this is the book for you. I purchased another Java programming book guaranteed to teach me Java in less than a few months and stopped reading it after ten pages because it was essentially a dictionary of computer terms. This book is different. It starts from the beginning. It explains what the different terms mean. It tells you how they work and gives examples of this. All without being bogged down with terminology. I now know what a class and method are - all those tiny but presumably obvious details which you should have learned in computer programming class but didn't.
It's a great book.
The only criticism I have is that it assumes you know how manipulate your computer to the point where you can start typing in programs. Alas, this took several days to figure out and might have totally scared someone else off.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This is great

If you plan on learning XML, this is the real deal. Every thing is covered in depth. Castro even mentions how to integrate this with flash to make slide shows, games, and other flash-lets (as I like to call them).
Get this book to organize your databases. Get this to make your web page code more concise.Get this book if you are interested at all in any web development fields.
This book takes all aspects of the XML language and integrates all that Castro knows into feasible, easy to swallow pieces made for the beginner. Highly rated.