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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Practical WebObjects
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Charles Hill, Sacha Mallais
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Belongs on the shelf of every WebObjects developer

Well, I am not much of a fan of books on programming. Learning from book just doesn't work for me. I advocate learning by doing: grasp the basics and then set yourself challenges to resolve with the documentation at hand.

Nonetheless I recommend this book to everyone who is serious about WebObjects. I have read this book cover to cover. Admittedly I practiced 'accelerated reading' on parts I know inside and out. This book is an interesting read as it tries neither being a reference nor tutorial. It is more of a guide and mainly a problem solver.

The authors do an excellent job of explaining crucial concepts like the request-response loop, the EOF stack, object graph concepts, validation, etc. Unlike other books this one cuts directly to the chase. For beginners some chapters act as road map through Apple's documentation. Mind you, this book does not target the complete novice. Alongside the usual prerequisite of strong knowledge of OO and web application concepts, some WebObjects experience is required. Those who bring this along can expect a substantial boost up the learning curve.

To more advanced user this book is more than an excellent way to recap core WebObjects concepts. Its a problem solver - the WebObjects edition of the Swiss army knife. The authors present ready-made solutions to many common tasks. This is book will save you hours if not weeks. And it does so while completely explaining not only the solution but also the reasonings and techniques behind it. This makes the book an interesting read and it just may spark the idea needed to solve even problems not covered.

Unfortunately the book's strongest points also make for its weaknesses. For one, I find the book to be a bit too confined in the current state of things. It discusses bugs in both the current incarnation of the frameworks and the developer tools. Such information is bound to become outdated rather sooner than later. While helpful I don't think a printed book is the appropriate media to vehicle such volatile information.

My other gripe is that the authors don't make it sufficiently clear that the proposed solutions and approaches are not the only ones out there. They were chosen based on the authors personal preferences. Diverging opinions exist and the reader would do well - and should be advised by the book - to dig for further views.

All in all "Practical WebObjects" is an excellent book. It belongs on the shelf of every WebObjects developer. Novice or expert.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2003 (VB .NET) in 24 Hours Complete Starter Kit
Publisher: Sams
Authors: James Foxall
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Foxall's Book- Excellent for Beginning to Advanced VB'ers

James Foxall's "Visual Basic Book .Net 2003 in 24 Hours" is a winner. The change to VB.NET from Visual Basic can be challenging. James starts out introducing the Graphical User Interface environment. That is important as the GUI can be intimidating to new Visual Studio programmers. James is thorough in his examples. He always reminds you to set the startup form for each project. He tells you how to write short procedures, introduces you to modules, and he discusses objects and collections. I am nearing the end of his book and look forward to his introduction on web development. James Foxall's book won't be the only one you need for learning VB.NET. But for the beginner and intermediate programmer, I recommend that his book be your first book to read.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XSLT : Programmer's Reference (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Michael Kay
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
great great book

Great book. Can't believe how much work was put into it. Seems to have a usefull, concise example for every problem I've encountered. Useful as a reference as well. I wish more technology books were like this. Book is appropriate for beginners and experts alike!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Practical Guide to Solaris
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Mark G. Sobell
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
For the inexperienced

I was quite disappointed by this book. It really should have been titled "An Introduction to Solaris". For anyone who has experience in the UNIX world there is little to be gained from this book.