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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Hard to read. . .

I have tried hard to go through this book twice. I was disappointed about its writing each time. I would consider that is a torture to myself to finish reading this book. Not even mentioning I still have to pass the exam. . .
The good thing about this book is its exam questions. They are well-designed questions and can test your understaning.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Laura Lemay, Richard Colburn, Robert Kiesling
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Book For Those With Previous Programming Knowledge.

It seems many people want to learn programming in 10 minutes. This book will teach you Perl in 21 DAYS not minutes. Learning anything will take some effort on your part. If you're not willing to do it, then don't blame it on the author. If you are a total newbie (hey whats Tar?) then you should get "Instant Web Scripts with CGI/Perl" By Selena Sol and Gunther Berznieks. This is the PERFECT newbie book - it outlines all of the typical questions. It will not make you a Perl programmer, but it will teach you the basics. You will want to pick up a copy of Teach Yourself Perl 5 in 21 Days to learn Perl. The Teach Yourself Perl 5 in 21 Days book is very handy for reference - just flip to the index and it will be there.
A big 10x to David Till for a great book

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design, Second Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Michael J. Hernandez
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Effective communication between designer and end user

This book shines in the process of communicating between the people who need the database and the database designer. This book would be valuable to a business contracting to set up a database. By using down-to-earth ("mortal") terms, Hernandez makes clear the value of normalization, and his "ideal table" and "ideal field" guidelines are practical presentations of the often more theoretically presented normalization. By describing how to document a table and field descriptions, Hernandez provides documentation guidelines that are often overlooked in introductory works. It might be valuable to store the answers to his "Field specification worksheet" into a "metadata" database.
There were a few parts of the book that I thought could have been amplified. The use of "subset" tables was introduced, but lacked discussion on how to build joins between main and subset tables. Database business rules were introduced, but "application-oriented" business rules were not, and they might influence the database structure. I applaud his inclusion of documenting "views", but I would have appreciated a discussion of testing the results of a view. Finally, his "Final goodbye" to the company seems too optimistic ... often there are changes after the initial design. Still, all in all, a useful book!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An excellent book from an excellent author

"Thinking in Java" covers the fundamental features of Java programming (objects, classes, interfaces, polymorphism, input/output system, threads, applets, Swing) in a clear and extensive way, with the use of simple but very understandable examples and instructive exercises.

If you are looking for a text that really teach you Java, "Thinking in Java" is a forced choice!