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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C++ How to Program (4th Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
The flawed masterpiece

'C++ How to Program' by Deitel & Deitel is one of those books that set out to be the one and only, the perfect textbook that teaches you everything about C++ to everyone from the absolute beginners to the truly advanced programmers all at once. The book falls very short under the weight of its own ambition. By just reading the table of contents, it seemed that the book properly offers the complete coverage of the syntax of the C++ language, and each topic seemed to be presented in the sensible order which facilitates the readers to learn C++ step by step without getting lost or tangled up with the bits of coverage all over the textbook. The only thing presented in the sensible order in this book is the table of contents. Despite the quite large volume, Paul and Harvey (D&D hereafter) decided to babble aimlessly in very verbose fashion without any focus or making any sense. I mean the language they employee is English only in appearance. D&D could have babbled in Russian and I wouldn't have known the difference. They don't seem to have the fundamental ability to deliver their knowledge to the readers in clear fashion, and the level of knowledge of C++ has nothing to do with it. Now 'C++ Primer' by Stanley Lippman and Josee Lajoie or 'The C++ Programming Language' by Bjarne Stroustrup are indispensable guides for the advanced programmers that will teach you so many techniques your ordinary textbook do not cover, and yes, they are definitely not for the novice programmers. This is not the case with D&D. I mean C++ is arguably the toughest programming language to master, but it doesn't have to be this painful just to browse through the textbook. From the get-go, D&D clearly aimed to please both "technically oriented people with little or no programming experience, and experienced programmers who want a deeper treatment of the language" (from chapter 1 section 1). This is such a contradiction. As a result, what could have been an impressive textbook became an expressway to frustration. Sentences tend to be written in the overly complex fashion without serving much purpose. They are just totally confusing and incomprehensive. Much concise, terse, and simplistic writing style is desired and would have done the job better for everyone. The higher level of knowledge on C++ doesn't have to be translated into more complicated writing. It gives out the wrong impression to the beginners that it is their lack of C++ knowledge that hinders the understanding of the book. D&D's ability to convey their knowledge to the readers doesn't match with their impressive programming career. The coding style is awful and definitely not recommended to anyone although it is not syntactically wrong. Too many details are explained in the context of C language as if the knowledge in C is assumed before learning C++. Layout and color scheme are extremely disoriented and tiresome to your eyes. The coverage of each topic is scattered all over the textbook. D&D just love to say "We will later discuss about...", "We previously discussed about...", and so on instead of focusing on each topic one at a time and then moving on. There are too many pop-out boxes for various tips and warnings that are repeated over and over and over to the point they are disturbing. D&D arrogantly try to write the textbook that teaches you all the syntax of the language and the lawbook that teaches you all the semantics and the techniques of the language at the same time. They set out to achieve the impossible and succeed to do neither. This book is too confusing for the beginners to the point that people will hate C++, and it is too repetitive and shallow for the advanced programmers. If anyone can overcome these difficult obstacles, however, this book has quite a lot of information. I would not recommend this book to anyone who just start learning C++. Believe me when I say this because you will be committed to the mental asylum within the first few minutes if you attempt to learn C++ with this book. Try 'Absolute C++' by Walter Savitch instead. If you have a solid knowledge on C++, D&D's book can be a decent reference book. Then again, you are better off with 'The C++ Programming Language' by Bjarne Stroustrup, 'C++ Primer' by Stanley Lippman and Josee Lajoie, and 'Effective C++ Series' by Scott Meyers if you are able to enjoy D&D's book.

The latest edition is marginally improved compared to the previous edition. The biggest difference is that the coding style is much easier to read now and more comments have been added to the program examples. The color has been toned down just a bit, but not enough to ease the pain on the eyes. Some of the lectures have been sequencially rearranged and some new methodology has been used for inheritance and polymorphism. But the core is essentially identical with the previous editions. Although this book has enormous potential to be the best C++ book in the market, the book still has the identity crisis. It really doesn't know which group of programmers it aims to help. It still is unfairly too complicated for the novice programmers and not enough substance for the advanced programmers. This is quite a book, a flawed masterpiece, so to speak. Only if D&D decide to shift the emphasis and focus on one group and lose the other, this could be a great book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Digital Design: Principles and Practices and Xilinx 4.2i Student Package (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: John F. Wakerly
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A very nice book on Digital Design

It is not an easy task to write a book that guides the reader from the very basic knowledge to the understanding the advanced problems of digital design and to keep the reader not to get it off for many hours. This book shows it is possible. It covers all that is necessary to master the digital design and contains answers to many questions that are usually not discussed in other similar books - e.g. why a latch and not a flipflop is used to store address in a microcomputer, and a lot of others. The ABEL and VHDL languages that are explained here help the reader to keep up with the modern design tools. Many examples illustrate the theoretical exposition that is (up to several minor exceptions) clear and comprehensible. I think it is the best book I have ever read in this field.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL Server 2000 Stored Procedure & XML Programming, Second Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Dejan Sunderic
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
More than Just Stored Procedures!

If you write or maintain apps that use SQL Server or train people to do this, this book is a "must have"! Not just stored procedures, but triggers, user-defined functions, XML and more.
Sunderic includes not only "how", but "why and why not". Several ways to accomplish a given task are described, with pro's and con's for each. It's an INTERESTING book just to browse!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows 2000 Scripting Guide
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Destined to be a classic

I completely agree with Alex. This book is a significant achievement. The authors explain Windows scripting concepts and operations in clear, practical terms with examples that are immediately useful. Even more importantly, they knit together the underlying structures that support scripting in a way that no other publication on the market can match.
Each chapter is logically structured with just the right mix of theory and implementation. Each major concept builds on the preceding topics to build a clear, cogent picture of how scripts interact with the various elements of the system. The editorial quality is excellent throughout. I have not encountered proofing errors or other production flaws.
I highly recommend this book to any system administrator who wants to use VB scripting to simplify daily operations. It is the best in its class, bar none.