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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

This is a wonderful book for learning Java. It's quirky, graphically oriented style makes it readable and brings you the information from several different angles. It uses the latest ideas in learning (coupling information with play) to cement the concepts in reader's mind.

The use of graphics is excellent. For example, a disussion of objects might include an Animal class that is extended to a dog, cat, and hippo class. Most books would discuss this analogy textually. This book has a family tree of the objects with photographs of each kind of animal. The picture brings home the idea.

The book's other strength is that it talks about objects first. In the old days (80's, 90's) we mostly learned languages by learning how to write statements in the language. The helloworld program is an example of this kind of teaching. Objects were considered an advanced topic.

In a strongly object-oriented language like Java, it makes more sense to learn about objects first, as the basic unit of programming, and build from there.

The book is not a reference book, and if you are looking for how to use a specific class or do a specific task you'd be better off with a different book. But, if you are just getting started with Java, this is a great start!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Aaron Hillegass
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
you need this book

It's books like this that make you realize that you want several books like this.
There's really no such thing as an introductory Cocoa book - Cocoa is something for C programmers who have a desire to write GUI based apps from an object-oriented perspective. Cocoa's grad school; there's no particular undergraduate degree required; just good test scores and a desire to learn from people who have thought about hard problems longer than you have :-)
Cocoa is a big, sprawling subject. This book is a great slice through a complex subject. A really great slice. The best slice thus far.
But we still need about 2 or 3 more books at this level, and 2 or 3 more at a more advanced level.
Want to learn about Cocoa? Then buy this book. Now. Start programming with it. And when you realize that there are other books you still need, Aaron will have done his job. Hopefully he'll have another book ready by then :-)

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

Probably it is not for newbies.. not sure
I am not new in Javascript. My first book was "javascript bible" by Danny Goodman, which got me started with it couple of years ago.
Last year, by accident, I came accross O'reilly's Safari subscription project, and decided to refresh my Javascript knowledge. One of the books I checked out was David Flanagan's "Javascript The Definitive Guide".
I read several chapters from it, and I cought myself enjoying it more than enjoyed my previous similar titles. So I decided to buy the 4th edition of the book, and was not disappointed. So what things does David do differently? Read on!
I remember "Javascript Bible" by Danny Goodman starts off with hands on examples, which anyone without any knowledge of Javascript can try out in his/her editor. This is not the case with "Javascript The Definitive Guide". If you have no idea how Javascript works, you will not see a working real-life example untill Part II (page 181). Untill then, the author explains the core syntax of javascript, how javascript interperator works, how it wraps things into two objects: while interperating - Global and Call objects; talks about variable scopes and Garbage collection, objects, arrays, operators and other good stuff. It will tell you the different between object properties and variables ( or does it say there're no differences? ), talks about Regular Expression and nested functions.
People who have little or no programming background tend to find this chat quite boring and meaningless ( as I would've couple of years ago ). But if you have some Javascript background, or at least know how Javascript works in the browser, and what to strengthen your knowledge of Core JS, you will find this book very informative.
Part || is dedicated to Client side Javascript. That's where your browser comes into play and all the fun starts. Only here it will tell you that "Global object" mentioned in the Core Javascvript part is called "window". Talkes about CSS and DHTML, Scripting Cookies, DOM. It covers every single aspect of Client-Side JavaScript that a good Javascript book should cover.
The rest of the book consists of very well designed references, that you will be using most of the time.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Official Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
FF7 Guide's Got the Goods

Although admittingly, it is kinda hard to screw up a video gamestrategy guide. As it is a hugely immense game with many secrets andlittle places to go, David Cassady really went through the gamemeticulously, and his information is straightforward and accurate. The only problem with this guide is that he goes into too much detail at some points and not enough at others. For example, some of the boss fights go into plenty of detail while others are basically like, "Go in there, put on Haste and Wall, and just keep attacking." Those battles are often harder than they seem. Also, the book is in narrative form, which means that, except for headings, there isn't much organization. Key points aren't really obvious, so it's kinda hard to find what you're looking for in a pinch. But for all the effort and info packed into this book, it's definitely above-average and well worth the $. Highly recommended.