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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent and Thorough


This book was extremely thorough in its preparation for the Certification Exam. I found it better on several topics (Threads, Collections) than several other books I read. The practice questions and sample exams were much more difficult (and therefore helpful) than others as well. Even now that I have become Certified, I keep this book around as a reference for some of the tricky language and API features. Definitely worth it, although I would supplement it with some of the good web sites and possible another book as well (I also read the Sybex one)



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook (Pioneering Series)
Publisher: Friends of ED
Authors: Dan Cederholm
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Booster for those who've passed their XHTML & CSS exams


First off, this book is definitely not a reference book, if you want to code up in XHTML and CSS, then you need to do the groundwork which is covered in other books. What this book does do, is show you how to practically apply these technologies in everyday situations of web design, and show patterns of commonly accepted, useful tricks and techniques.

Invaluable to the freshly converted - yes - but make sure you know your stuff or this book will leave you floating nowhere. There are no explanations, or details on XHTML or CSS, you must have a reasonably good grasp of both.
The book assumes we are here to learn the simple applications without being confusing. Thats cool, but the book also assumes you have a good working knowledge of CSS, so its simple, but not so simple. I was disappointed that there was not much depth to the examples shown, and some of the potential pitfalls were not indicated. For example, on the chapter on CSS positioning, were given a float method, but its not explained why this is not ideal or where to find more information about the related issues. That stuff would seem relevant to the readers of this book.

Anyway, i enjoyed it, it was really useful - all the applications are excellent, but be careful as you will probably get stuck without a grounding in XHTML and CSS.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Oracle SQL, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Sanjay Mishra, Alan Beaulieu
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Helps you with 10g


[A REVIEW OF THE SECOND EDITION]

Those of you dealing with the latest Oracle 10g, and perhaps frustrated with the quality of the Oracle documentation, might want to consult this second edition. Its greatest difference compared to the first edition is simply that it deals with 10g, whereas the latter talks about 9g. Mishra and Beaulieu explain, with extensive detail and examples, the new features. Like support for unix-like regular expressions within SQL statements. Given that many Oracle users probably hail from a unix/C background, they will welcome this.

Also, for mapping between XML and SQL data types, 10g now integrates XML. This will reduce the impedance mismatch between the object oriented and relational outlooks that bedevil many programmers who have to deal with both.

The only problem I found with this book is its lack of mention of competing databases. Because the authors explicitly assume that you have already committed to using Oracle as your database. Fair enough. But perhaps occasional comments in the text, about how a given command or feature is not possible in another database would be useful and appreciated by Oracle users. Heck, to be fair, on this point, the book is at no relative disadvantage. For example, I have texts on dB2 and MySQL that likewise say zilch about their competitors.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Unix Power Tools, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Shelley Powers, Tim O'Reilly, Mike Loukides
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
a great intro to text and file processing in unix...


I continue to learn from this book. It has a really useful review of text and file processing, including a detailed description of 'find'. I like the way it is organized with lots of short sections with plenty references to other sections - sort of paper-based hyperlinking. In my opinion, many of the tools described have been replaced in everyday use by perl commands, so a new version describing the equivalent perl commands would be useful.