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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Technology Study Guide
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Mark Cade, Simon Roberts
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Overview for Exam For the Experienced

I found this book almost PERFECT for my needs. Short, concise, and focused on the exam. The sample questions were also very reflective of the exam. If you pass the sample questions, you are probably ready for the exam. With what you learn from the sample questions, content as well as question style, you should actually do a bit better on the exam. That was my experience- about 75% on the book questions, 87% (42/48) on the exam, with no extra study after my initial reading.
And considering the purpose of architect certification is to certify someone with 5+ years experience and deep understanding of design and architectural issues, then a more detailed book would be a thick painful experience. Also, a more detailed book would commit the authors to exposing more of the exam content, and devalue it as a fair measure of an architect. The fact that it requires a wide professional background with some core reading is excellent. If you struggle with the exam, enjoy the honest feedback! You have more reading to do, and experience to gain.
With sufficient experience in Java, UML, design patterns, security, general IT and web knowledge, and basic architectural principles, the book more than suffices. Basic EJB knowledge is sufficient since the book doesn't expect a programmer's knowledge of APIs and such.
If you are new to architecture, my recommendations are similar to another reviewers:UML Distilled, Martin FowlerDesign Patterns, Gamma et alMastering Enterprise Java Beans, Roman, Amber, JewellEJB Design Patterns, Floyd Marinescu
And if you don't know enough about design patterns and UML to pass those chapters before even reading the chapters, you may be taking the exam a bit prematurely.
I will agree with one statement- the book lacks chapters on some of the objectives. But, considering that they might be considered fair prerequisites for someone qualified to take the exam, I'm not complaining. Though, in looking over my exam results, most of my wrong answers were from the sections without corresponding chapters...common architectures, legacy connectivity, messaging :(. I think my proclivity for screen-scraping did me in.
All-in-all, a masterful book and exam.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Optimizing Oracle Performance
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cary Millsap
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Outstanding coverage of extended sql trace

I found Cary's book outstanding.

1. Coverage on generating and understanding extended sql trace is excellent.

2. One of the very few book on Oracle tuning, which deals with a "methodology". I have read several books before this on optimizing Oracle performance and none explains any methodology. This book instead of diving straight into v$ view and statspack data, first makes a ground of what approach should be taken. So its like, what needs to be done and then how to do that.

I find this book incredibly useful.


Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Jakarta Struts, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Chuck Cavaness
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great practical book about Struts

Absolutely great practical book about Struts 1.1.I can see it used as a tutorial as well as a reference. Easy to read and well-organized. Includes very useful diagrams and clarifications. Covers some of the evolvement of Struts 1.0 into 1.1. Warning: this is not a J2EE book. I would strongly suggest getting acquainted with servlets and JSP beforehand.This is not a book about software architecture either. In fact, most of the design questions covered are lacking depth if not directly related to Struts.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Photoshop CS Killer Tips (Killer Tips)
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Scott Kelby, Felix Nelson
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not what I expected!

I am no photoshop pro but I must say I only found about 2 "tips" useful in this book out of a 200+ pages. The rest were common sense like "typing in a circle".. Most of this information is supplied with the manual. Another "tip" listed is changing the color of text & how to change the text font...
I was really looking forward to learning something useful =/
So if you have no idea about what your doing this this book is for you! It would make a great reference guide. But if you know the basics like how to merge visible layers I would recommend you read something else.