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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Moving to VB .NET: Strategies, Concepts, and Code
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Daniel Appleman, Dan Appleman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Hit the mark!

This book was all I expected and more. It not only teaches VB .Net by example, but also positions VB .Net with VB 6 and explains Microsoft's reasons for dumping COM to go with CLR (Common Language Runtime). Issues of deployment and productivity are explained in a candid way, unlike the shill-like explanations that come out of MS Press. I'm on the Dan Appleman-as-a-guru bandwagon.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: An Introduction to Database Systems (Introduction to Database Systems)
Publisher: Addison Wesley Longman
Authors: C. J. Date
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Practitioner's Bible

What the Torah is to Judism, what the New Testament is to Christianity, so is "Intro" to relational database theory and practice. One can not reasonably consider themselves a competent practitioner (or even student) of the topic without thorough mastery of "Intro".

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon--The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Authors: Steven L. Kent
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
From Pinball to XBox

"Ultimate" is an apt word for the title of this book. Kent covers everything from the beginnings of pinball to the modern day consumer wars between XBox, Playstaion 2, and Nintendo's Game Cube.
Whether your an avid gamer, someone interested in the business, or just want to take a stroll down the video game memory lane this book will more than please. Having dropped my fair share of quarters in the arcades and owning numerous video game systems this book had my curiosity peaked. Sure it's mammoth, but once you start it, stopping will be hard. Using non-technical writing with a lot of paraphrases from different industry leaders thrown in, the reading just glides along. The chronology of the piece at times gets ahead of itself but quickly falls back into place without losing its pace. Also, keeping up with the industry personnel can get a bit confusing as CEO's, programmers, and salespeople move from company to company. Kent however does a fine job in explaining who everyone is and what they've done.
Besides a better understanding of the business, the biggest thing I got out of this book was a good old case of video game nostalgia. Hearing some of the names of the older, and sometimes forgotten systems (Commodore 64, Jaguar, Colecovision) and their arcade counterparts (Missle Command, Lunar Lander, Sea Wolf) brought back endearing memories of dumping quarters in the "latest" games down at the arcade and sitting up all night trying to figure out the newest game on the Atari 2600. Sure the games today are faster and definately better looking than the ones of yesterday but I'd be lying if, after reading this book, I didn't catch myself on ebay seeing if any of these older games were available.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XDoclet in Action (In Action series)
Publisher: Manning Publications
Authors: Craig Walls, Norman Richards
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book starts with an overview of code generation and how and why XDoclet fits into your development projects. Xdoclet can generate code, deployment descriptors and configuration files. The authors fully explain how XDoclet integrates with Ant. If you understand Ant, you can easily follow the examples.

The authors then go through tutorials on how to use XDoclet with different aspects of Java development, EJB, web layer, JMX, Struts, etc. The example code and xml files are well documented and easy to follow. One of the best parts is the summary sections that how you how you benefited from using XDoclet and the number of files (code and deployment descriptors) that XDoclet generated for you. The last part of the book is a reference section, so this book is all you need to start using XDoclet.

Reading this book will also give you guidelines on the proper way to code a J2EE application using design patterns and source code organization. The authors cannot explain every topic covered in great detail, so you must understand the underlying framework (Struts, Hibernate, etc.) to use XDoclet, which is summed up by their admonition, "Don't generate what you don't understand." This book shows you how to solve real-world problems with XDoclet solutions. I would recommend this book (and XDoclet) to every Java developer.