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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, Don Roberts
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Just get it!

I think that this book should be on evey programmer's shelf. Having all of the refactoring patterns in one place makes the book more than worth the price.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Larry Ullman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent investment

I have been out from the html league for quite some time and I needed to catch up with the new kids on the block. PHP, I didn't know a thing about it or how to implement with html. A friend of mine, as a hobby he started to use php and he told me it was easy to use. I wasn't sure to how to use it until I bought this excellent book. It explains it like if you were on class. Easy examples that every programmer should do as practice and change a few things to get the full experience. Every exercise will be a prerequisite to do the next one. I have fun and learn. As an extra, you can learn mySQL and essential tool to put php together.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Windows Forms Programming in C#
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Chris Sells
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Understanding WinForms with Chris Sells

Chris Sells has used his knowledge and writing talents to provide a clear picture of the WinForm world, browsing each notion in the right order and explaining one complicated notion at a time when needed.
After digesting the WinForms basis in the chapters 2 and 3, you'll understand how the pieces are working all together, from the Application class to the WndProc method, last frontier with the old Win32 world without forgetting features not often detailed such as the HTML help system or the MDI layout.
The Chapters 4 to 6 are dedicated to GDI+ and give you a complete reference of color, brush, pen, shape, path, images, font and text. You'll see the basic stuff but also how to handle transparency, animation and optimized drawing, advanced string formatting and Transforms.
If you have to send your rendering code to a printer, chapter 7 is for you: you'll learn how to use the common dialogs and how to put your code in the right place during the printing workflow. Maybe a complete document printing example would have been better for code reuse than the different smaller examples.
From here, the chapters dig deeper in complicated notions and this is where its value shines. With the chapters 8, 9 and 10, you'll see how to use the existing controls and how to build your own controls that smoothly integrate the Visual Studio IDE and enhance code reuse. The localisation and resource usage in the managed world are clearly described and you won't loose hours trying to access resources in your code anymore!
The chapter 11 focuses on your program execution through the Application, Registry/RegistryKey and Environment classes. The section related to the application settings and Isolated Storage itself is worth the price of the book!
The mecanisms behind data access, dataset and data binding are detailed in Chapter 12 and 13.
If you want to check that this book is really for you, look for Chris Sells articles on MSDN and MSDN Magazine web sites. The last two chapters about Web based deployment and multi-threaded GUI treat how to solve the same kind of problems. As you'll see, the rest of the book offers the same level of quality, with details and solutions you'll find nowhere else.
I have a tiny regret: I would have expected more "under the cover" journeys based on decompiled views of .NET assemblies for an even better understanding of the relationship between classes of the Framework. I'll have to keep on playing with Anakrino and Reflector, waiting for your next "Inside/Undocumented WinForms" book Chris :^)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning JavaScript Second Edition
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Paul Wilton
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent text for JavaScript courses

I've seen many a book that failed abysmally to teach what it claimed to teach. For this reason, it's a treat to find a book like Paul Wilton's Beginning JavaScript, a book that lives up to its hype.
I am an instructor who teaches Web Development, and I use Wilton's book as a text for my beginner and intermediate JavaScript courses. The thoroughness of Wilton's treatment of the fundamental concepts cannot be beat. Yes, he is sparse in his discussion of ASP, but why anyone would expect him to do otherwise is baffling. This is not a book on ASP, but JavaScript. It also is a BEGINNING book on JavaScript, so one should not expect discussions that go beyond that level.
For anyone considering learning JavaScript on their own, or for any instructor wanting to provide a good reference source for their JavaScript students, I highly recommend Paul Wilton's Beginning JavaScript.