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B. Eaton "twiglet27"
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How to Use XML (BP)
How to Use XML (BP)
by John Shelley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of British, 16 Sept. 2005
This review is from: How to Use XML (BP) (Paperback)
This book really is superb. To qualify that let me explain that it's the first publication that was able to sell XML to me in plain English - both in its explanation of the benefits and the usage. This opened my eyes to whole new branches of technology including web services and distributed multi-tier applications. If any more praise were needed I actually managed over 13 chapters of this book before having a glazed-eye moment (anybody who regularly reads technical manuals will understand) - it really is that good.
Only points to note are that the bulk of the book is actually devoted to explaining XML with DTDs - in my experience, XSD schemas are more prevalent to the point that only early adopters and legacy systems are still using DTDs. However it does spend a good few chapters covering XSD schemas and namespaces so there are no deficiencies in the content.
In short, a very clear and readable explanation of a very dry (nay boring) subject.


Learning XSLT
Learning XSLT
by Michael Fitzgerald
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clear reference and tutorial, 16 Sept. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Learning XSLT (Paperback)
I'm not a huge fan of O'Reilly books - I purchased this because it looked like the best of a bad bunch. To be fair, however, it is actually very good. The author explains things well enough and covers as much as one would need to know to reach an intermediate level with XSLT. It also provides information on versions other than 1.0 and the variety of XML/XSL processors out there.
Although this book provides a guide of sorts for XML, it does get complex at times and it's easy to become lost in a sea of jargon - so I would advise that if you haven't already got some experience or knowledge of XML, then you should get a good book on the subject (John Shelley's How to use XML is excellent).
The only fault I could attribute to this book is that the subject of namespaces, while present, is not covered in any great depth - but it's still a fine piece of work that I would recommend to anybody intending to be doing what it says on the cover.


Babylon 5: Season 4 [DVD]
Babylon 5: Season 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mira Furlan
Offered by Speedyhen Ltd
Price: £14.84

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The paragon of excellence, 25 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Babylon 5: Season 4 [DVD] (DVD)
Season 4 of Babylon 5 really is superb both on an episodic and arc level. True, it's unlikely that you'd be purchasing it not having seen the first three seasons, but even so (most of) the episodes work well outside of the bigger picture. Certainly, when compared to its contemporaries (notably Deep Space Nine) one realises how B5 is in a totally different league. Everything about it oozes quality: from the political intrigue to the sweeping space battles, the character developments to the humour that hits the mark more often than not.
The season answers some questions and poses others - it covers a broad range of the story arc including the end of the Shadow War (which could only be considered an anticlimax if one hadn't been paying attention to the story thus far), the fight to reclaim Earth (a salutory lesson in the true nature of democracy), and the growth of characters into new and interesting realms.
On the downside there are still a few times when the picture quality becomes poor, but these are few and far between (certainly less so than previous seasons' DVDs).
It's a real pleasure to watch (some years since I last saw it on the television) and the quality of everything; the effects, the acting, the storyline; is evident. This is, to paraphrase a certain brand of lager, probably the best sci-fi in the world (sic).


Bulletproof Web Design: Improving Flexibility and Protecting Against Worst-Case Scenarios with XHTML and CSS
Bulletproof Web Design: Improving Flexibility and Protecting Against Worst-Case Scenarios with XHTML and CSS
by Dan Cederholm
Edition: Paperback

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for developers, designers, and hobbyists., 23 Aug. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you design or develop web sites then you really have to read this book. You may, as I did, think that you know a thing or two about putting together a website. Well this book in combination with Mark Pilgrim's dive into accessibility guide, and Dave Shea's CSS Zen Garden, have taught me otherwise.
While other texts explain the why, this explains the how - and it does it very well too. This is a hands-on book that takes a number of websites, points out what is wrong with them, and re-creates them using web standards. That is not to say the book preaches in a condescending tone about standards - it simply points out why the bad way is bad and the good way is good. It then does what so many standards evangelists fail to do and actually give practical guidance on how to improve websites.
Even if your eyes haven't been opened to the negative effects of poorly marked-up and low-accessibility websites you will not regret buying this.


User Interfaces in VB .Net:: Windows Forms and Custom Controls (.NET Developer Series)
User Interfaces in VB .Net:: Windows Forms and Custom Controls (.NET Developer Series)
by Matthew MacDonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: £39.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but not entirely comprehensive, 10 April 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're starting out with VB.NET and haven't created any custom controls yet then this is a good place to start. Otherwise it's probably contains a lot of information you already know.
I bought it so I could get to grips with design time support for custom controls and also to extend the datagrid. On the first score it was very helpful, on the second it didn't do too well. It does have some interesting ideas about creating multi-tier applications and structuring projects, but otherwise it left me feeling like I hadn't actually learnt that much.
It was published in 2002 and that is fairly evident with a lot of the content. Unless you're really on the low rungs of the VB.NET ladder I would recommend looking for something else.


The ZEN of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web (Voices That Matter)
The ZEN of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web (Voices That Matter)
by Dave Shea
Edition: Paperback

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile reading for web developers and non-web designers, 10 April 2005
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This book is not a CSS tutorial, rather a sales pitch and guide for 'correct' use of the technology. It uses the csszengarden.com website as a case study for explaining how to make innovative use of CSS by explaining the structure, then the thinking behind the various designs submitted to the site. So it's actually more of a guide to design - but one that I would recommend that web developers read.
I say this as a (sometime) ASP/ASP.NET/PHP developer, who up until this point, "doesn't do design". I saw it as an inconvenience in the creation of otherwise technically brilliant (modesty eh!) web applications. Yet the whole css zen garden concept could actually make the life of web developers a lot easier.
Developers could eschew design altogether while creating web pages/forms that offer true flexibility for real designers. But the beauty of this book is that it actually gives hints, tips, and pointers, that in the absence of a designer in teams of programmers, could help make web developers into half decent designers.
This is more of an interest book that will hopefully change the attitude of the new breed of unwilling web designers that the .NET framework has created. It may also help designers that aren't currently working with new media to bring their talents to the web in a way that doesn't involve using Macromedia Flash.
It's not perfect but it will open your eyes.


Hitchhiker's Guide to SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services (Microsoft Windows Server System)
Hitchhiker's Guide to SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services (Microsoft Windows Server System)
by with Peter Blackburn
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I needed, 2 Mar. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for two reasons: first; anything by Bill Vaughan is bound to be worth reading; and second, I wanted an easy way to expose reports to the outside (non-intranet) world. Thus this book was worth every penny.
This really is an excellent piece of work - and enjoyable to read at that. It covers everything from setup and deployment, through to security, using the SOAP interface, and report design. It will be of use to system architects, developers, infrastructure managers; in fact anyone with a stake in data reporting.
It's also surprisingly easy to understand given the depth of coverage (although there are some sections that had my eyes glazing over). Anybody, technical or otherwise, thinking of getting up to speed on Reporting Services should find it quite useful, nay essential. Buy it now - it is, to quote Mr Weasley: "Bloody brilliant"


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2 Disc Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2 Disc Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £6.15

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A return to form...almost, 6 Feb. 2005
I have to preface this review with a statement that this is much better than the previous film and on a par with the first. Yes, the tone is different and the realisation of the dementors is excellent, but it is directed with real enthusiasm and pace for which it is to be commended.
On the subject of direction, there is a scene at the beginning where Harry is under his bedcovers that given the Director's previous work could be almost taken as a double entendre. I laughed myself silly while other sat there clueless - I love schoolboy humour!
True to form with the franchise there is a fairly good savaging of the source material - we never actually find out how Peter Pettigrew 'died' (ok, we've all read the book!) or how and why Sirius broke out of Azkaban. There's only one game of Quidditch played and the firebolt doesn't make an appearance until very late in the film. But even as a purist where the books are concerned I have to say that this was fun to watch! It's got enough continuity errors in it to write a Nitpicker's Guide but it makes for delightful viewing. Go on, you know you'll buy it anyway!


Programming .NET Components: Design and Build .NET Applications Using Component-Oriented Programming
Programming .NET Components: Design and Build .NET Applications Using Component-Oriented Programming
by Juval Lowy
Edition: Paperback

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too abstract...but all .NET developers should read it, 6 Feb. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had to update my previous review of this book for the 2nd edition for 2 reasons:

1) The 2nd edition is better
2) It all makes much more sense now

That said my previous remarks about the book being dry, lacking in context, and reading like a thesis still stand. Even if you think you're a good .NET programmer then it's still very likely that this book will perplex (and possibly bore) you. That said you should read this for no other reason than Juval Lowy wrote it and he knows what he's talking about. He is, arguably, the best .NET guru on the planet and he wants us all to be more disciplined and professional in our .NET development, which is a good thing.

My suggestion is that you get a copy of this book in the first instance to cure your insomnia. But I guarantee that if you are a conscientious developer, you will find yourself referring back to it again and again (and wishing you were that clever). If we all read this then the quality of .NET apps would improve drastically and governments might not waste half a billion quid on systems that don't work.

I still wish it had more pictures and simple contextual explanations though!


The Ultimate VB .Net and ASP.Net Code Book (Books for Professionals by Professionals)
The Ultimate VB .Net and ASP.Net Code Book (Books for Professionals by Professionals)
by Karl Moore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £39.49

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful bordering on invaluable, 6 Feb. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'd have to say that this book isn't as good as it makes itself out to be, but that does not a bad book make. I'm a fairly experienced VB6/VBA/VB.NET developer but the .NET Framework is a big piece of kit so it never hurts to have a few good tricks up one's sleeve. This book provides that, but probably not to the extent that author would have you believe (not a Yorkshireman of the Harry Enfield ilk I hasten to add).
That said, I would thoroughly recommend this as an essential addition to a developer's bookshelf for a number of reasons. For one, there's bound to be at least something in here that's useful and/or interesting, no matter how experienced you are. There were a number of tips in this book which in themselves were of little use to me but had the side effect of making me aware of a whole new branch of .net functionality, or simply a better way to solve a problem than the one I'd thought of. I have to admit that I only found about 20-25% of the book useful but quality not quantity is what matters.
Second this book considers VB.NET for what it was designed to be: a rapid development tool. So the tips are geared towards productivity gains rather than architectural considerations (I say this as one of the increasing band of the anally retentive who considers architecture supreme). Admittedly that does lead to one of its failings; encouraging poor architectural practices - but then a lot of Microsoft provided features go against their best advice. But if you need answers or suggestions that will help you get that app out the door faster then this is the tome to peruse.
Finally, Karl Moore does have an appreciation that converting between languages is often made more difficult than it needs to be. The VB6 transition is (fairly) well handled and the VB.NET to C# converter is excellent (in tandem with Juval Lowy's advice I have now taken to coding my business server components in C#).
So unless you really do know all there is to know about VB.NET (you memorised all the inheritance hierarchies? You need to get out more!!) then there's bound to be something in here that will be useful in one way or another.


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