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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0 (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: David Buser, John Kauffman, Juan T. Llibre, Brian Francis, Dave Sussman, Chris Ullman, Jon Duckett
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good, But Far From Ideal

The Good:
1) This book uses a three pronged approach to drive the point home: first, they explain the concept, then they provide an example, and then cap it off by an explanation of the example. I most cases this is very effective, as all three sections are sharply constructed. 2) Last quarter of the book is composed of valuable reference material. 3) About half the chapters are near brilliant in their clarity.
The Bad:
1) It's more of an introductory book than a beginner's book! Because half of the book is used up to delve into 5 different advanced topics. As a result, confusion and disjointed explanations are unavoidable in those chapters; each of which requires a separate book. Also, as a result of wasting this valuable real-estate on advanced topics, it provides a less than complete coverage of VBscript functions, the built-in objects, and advanced HTML topics, not to mention client-side scripting (I know it's ASP, but should have had a chapter on it, at least).
2) Very scant usage of diagrams. It's a 1200 page technical book containing about 5 silly diagrams!
3) I found a number of errors. Though it's not as big a factor as others here have suggested.
In conclusion: despite these major flaws, it's almost certainly the best beginner's ASP book, which isn't saying much given the age of the subject. If you are a serious beginner, then you are going to have to rely on other resources as well.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
horrible book. Very hard to read and not very explanatory.

I dont understand why this book is highly praised. This book is overated. First of all, the authors give little explanation to how these patterns are used. After reading the patterns, I could not apply them to my code. The book is very hard to read. If you are going to learn about design patterns, I suggest buying head first design patterns.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secure Programming Cookbook for C and C++
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: John Viega, Matt Messier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Voluminous and comprehensive

If you are interested in encryption, you should probably get Bruce Schneier's Applied Cryptography, which is generally considered the standard summary of the field. But suppose you actually want to use some of the symmetric key or public key methods he describes? If you want to code from scratch, his book is a good starting point. But if you want to quickly avail yourself of the best existing methods and you don't want to reinvent the wheel by recoding? Also, it can be risky to do that. A mistake made in coding a crypto algorithm might render it insecure. Better to use reviewed, tested code.
If this describes your needs and you code in C or C++, then this book will be invaluable. Extensive code fragments that show how you can interface to existing crypto packages. Very detailed. You won't find theorems or any elegant maths here. No Chinese Remainder Theorem or Fermat's theorems. You have to already know or accept the theoretical underpinnings.
Given this, the book takes you into the nitty gritty of every major publicly available cryptosystem. With up to date assessments of their comparative strengths.
All of the above is aimed at application developers. The book also has sections for sysadmins of both unix and Microsoft operating systems, replete with suggestions on patching and good practice.
Don't be daunted by the book's heft. It is encyclopaedic in scope, and access is reasonably random access. The authors have striven to comprehensively span the field. You don't have to read from start to finish before you can commence using it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The User Manual Manual : How to Research, Write, Test, Edit & Produce a Software Manual
Publisher: UnTechnical Press
Authors: Michael Bremer
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Only for beginners

I bought this book along with several other books about "technical writing".

My general impression was very poor.

It does not really give much information about how to write a good user manual (how information should be structured, how to make sure that your readers are given clear instructions about using a given product, etc.)

On the other hand, it focuses more on social or organizational issues like "what should I do I nobody wants to edit the user manual I have written", "what should I do if the development team does not provide the technical specs of the product", etc.

For people interested in a very good book about how to write user manuals (or technical documentation in general), I strongly recommend "Developing Quality Technical Information : A Handbook for Writers and Editors (2nd Edition) (IBM Press Series--Information Management) ISBN: 0131477498.