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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies
Publisher: Pearson Education
Authors: Deepak Alur, John Crupi, Dan Malks
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A *Great* Collection!

This book is a real all-star! It was an easy and enlightening read. I came across some very strategic patterns and implementation strategies. It expands on your patterns vocabulary and would be a great help to J2EE architects, designers & developers in enhancing their design skill-set. I was mightily influenced by this book and trust me, you will be too!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: How the Internet Works, Seventh Edition
Publisher: Que
Authors: Preston Gralla
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Will Create A Greater Appreciation for the Internet!

A brilliant visual safari revealing the digital, virtual and visceral all and everything of the Internet for people who want it clear, quick and colorful.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Fundamentals of Database Systems, Fourth Edition
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Ramez Elmasri, Shamkant B. Navathe
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Undergraduate Nightmare

I used FUNDAMENTALS OF DATABASE SYSTEMS (Third Edition) in a graduate class I took on databases, and I've kept referring to the book since then. As a student, I'll admit that it was tough to get through this book at times. It's dense and almost impenetrable, but it packs a huge amount of information and is amazingly comprehensive.
It puts theory well ahead of practical matters, which gives the novice a good foundation from which to really get a firm handle on how all these pieces fit together. The assumption is that the student knows nothing, even B-trees are devoted several pages of explanation. The student who does know nothing will doubtless find this wealth of data to be overwhelming at first (as I did). But stick at it. This textbook is not for people looking at how to simply plug things into Microsoft Access. It's for programmers seriously looking to gain a strong background in what the fundamental elements of database components and systems are.
The text starts off simply, merely explaining in general terms what databases are and who will use them. Then we quickly move into modeling how relational databases work. Data Modeling and Entity-Relationship Models are described in-depth, and the book comes back to ER modeling and mapping repeatedly. Object Models are covered, as well as the best ways of sorting records and the best way to index tables. The authors offer a wealth of information concerning the SQL language -- so much so, that there's much that I simply haven't used since reading about it, although I'm sure that more advanced database programmers in the audience will find it very enlightening.
It continues on with Object-Oriented Database technologies, functional dependencies, and normal forms (first, second, third and Boyce-Codd normal form). Higher system views of database architecture are also discussed, giving us an understanding of how different parts are working together. Optimization, recovery, maintenance and security are naturally touched on, as are distributed databases and the basic client/server architecture relationship. As you can see, this is all very theoretical, although some real-life explanations and examples are brought in. But it is by building up a solid knowledge base that will allow the reader to truly understand systems when encountered in the classroom or in the workplace.
I've only touched on a handful of things that the book details in its 1000+ pages. It's packed with mathematical formulas, computer science algorithms, schema design, and the minutua of every database operation. Its approach doesn't make things easy, but it does contain everything you'd want to know about a given item. I had to read various sections multiple times for my coursework, obviously, but every time I studied a passage, I would uncover details and concepts that I had missed the last time. Even now as reference material, I always find myself learning (or relearning) something when consulting this book.
Although in my current job I don't require a massive amount of database knowledge, I still find this an extremely useful reference guide. To be perfectly honest, I don't know if I would find this text helpful if I hadn't taken a course that taught from it. It's certainly intimidating to a beginner. But if you're a moderate to intermediate database programmer, you'll find this an invaluable guide to filling in the gaps in your knowledge. It may be a bit too dense and scary to serve as your only teacher, but you'll probably find it an important one.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David Flanagan
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5

I have read this book in one day. That was possible because most (but not all) of the book is extremely easy to read, giving exactly the information you need, no more, no less. I knew very little about JavaScript in the morning. Now I know all about it :)
But there are parts of the book I'm dissatisfied with.
Reference part (which takes 50% of the book volume) is very inconvenient to use. It is more like index: an unstructured one-dimensional flow of alphabetically-ordered texts. I feel that a couple of upper structure levels are needed in the reference. Presently, you can only find a thing if you know its exact name or you perform full-scan of the reference.
Discussion about object-oriented ideas in JavaScript is also frustrating: I just cannot understand. It looks like this chapter is written by entirely different person, because it contradicts the clear style of the rest of the book so much.
My summary is: <SCRIPT language="JavaScript"> if(you.needToLearn("JavaScript")=="quick") grab.thisBook; </SCRIPT>