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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL/400 Developer's Guide
Publisher: 29th Street Press
Authors: Paul Conte, Mike Cravitz
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Salvation for a Windows Developer

As a VB developer, I have experience with Informix, SQL Server and Oracle. But implementing SQL on the AS400 was a challenge. This book was my salvation. It provided the necessary information to help my team develop secure ODBC access to the AS400 using SQL Stored Procedures.
We were able to create tables that provide different record format and file names, and short field names for RPG non-SQL access, as well as long (meaningful) names for Visual Basic / SQL access. We learned how to evaluate SQL naming vs. System naming. And we learned how to provide secure ODBC connections by revoking some of the "public" authorities and using SQL stored procedures with program adopted authority.
Phase II of the project will be WEB based. It's nice to know our DB2 implementation and SQL stored procedures will work whether we use Java, VB .NET or a mixed development environment.
I took my copy of the "SQL 400/Developer's Guide" to the office. People kept "borrowing" it, so I had the company buy a copy. It quickly became the most popular book in the company library. It was in such demand that several developers bought their own copies.
I hope this book is updated annually to incorporate new DB2/400 features. I would gladly purchase future revised editions covering topics like "Implementing Datalinks", "How to find the AS400 job log for ODBC requests", "Using SQL Statements to Define Database Triggers", "Retrieving Disconnected Recordsets" with JAVA and VB examples, "Creating Pivot Tables", "Populating Grids", "Multiple System Joins" (if IBM ever offers this common SQL feature), and more SQL examples.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alan Cooper
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An eye-opener on how to develop usable software

While he may be a bit redundant at times (actually, people retain information when it's repeated to them so it may not be all that bad) and it may appear to "blame" the programmers, I think this book is an eye-opener and should be required reading for everybody involved in the software development process. I just wish that there were more interaction designers available.
I'm the CTO of a small software company, and we're going to use interaction design principles in the next versions of products that we develop - because we do want to deliver not only power but pleasure to our customers!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java(tm)2: A Beginner's Guide
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Herbert Schildt, Herbert Schildt
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Final Comments

The only limitation about this book is that I wish it had more test programming questions. To that end, I have been using a book called "Thinking in Java" by Bruce Eckle which I downloaded for free from the net. It has a lot of good programming questions at the end of each chapter which I have been working through. The book is geared more for experienced C/C++ programmers, but with a little effort, a beginner should be able to get through most of the problems. In deference to the Schildt book, when I don't understand something, I often find myself going back to his book, finding the needed topic, and - boom - there is the explanation, clear and to the point.
Good luck!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle Developer Advanced Forms and Reports
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Peter Koletzke, Paul Dorsey
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Weak if you want Advanced Reports

I purchased this book unseen <I know better now> it appears to be very good for Forms, but it contains very little information on Reports, none of which I would consider "Advanced" <The reason i bought the book>. I do not develope Forms, so this was another waste of money on Oracle Press books.