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Essential CVS
Essential CVS
by Jennifer Vesperman
Edition: Paperback
57 used & new from $0.01

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, but not very well organized, September 5, 2003
This review is from: Essential CVS (Paperback)
Essential CVS by Jennifer Vesperman is a very informative book on CVS ever published. Most developers working with CVS - Concurrent Versions System - will appreciate tips, tricks details provided by the author. It covers all the aspects of managing projects using CVS that most of us will ever need.
I especially appreciate the author's discussion on tagging and branching strategies. She compares available branching strategies, talks about pros and cons of each in details to help you pick the one you see more fit.
She also provides tips and tricks, ranging from absurd (such as switching your sandbox by editing your CVS/Repository file) to intimidating (such as playing with the repositories directly). These tips will help you understand the system's internals, which hopefully will result in productivity (if not in disaster).
At first, I found her discussions a bit redundant - you can read the same point repeated several times on the same page or the same chapter over and over. Although it annoyed me to some extent, people not familiar with CVS may appreciate this feature of the book.
She assumes her audience to be familiar with UNIX systems. Although I'm fine with it (I live in Linux), others may not be. Most of the UNIX-related chat are found in her file-utility commands, as well as bash scripts, in addition to some user account/group management.
The organization and writing style of the book is far from ideal. CVS itself is a very exciting topic for software developers. The author of Essential CVS fails to reflect this in her discussions. Her discussions are close to manpage-style, with some detour onto tips and suggestions from time to time.
I believe ideal style for a book on CVS would be a scenario-driven style, which introduces a project, a problem related with managing it, and advances into the features of CVS one solution at a time. Realize, that is it different from cook-book style, which is a Question & Answer styled writing.
Good examples of scenario-driven styled writing are "Apache The Definitive Guide" by O'reilly, which builds a server with a tiny configuration file, and advances to more feature-ful implementation; "MySQL" book of New Riders, which introduces a conventional grade book and advances into more complex RDBMS implementation of it; "DNS and BIND" of O'reilly and etc.


Essential CVS
Essential CVS
by Jennifer Vesperman
Edition: Paperback
57 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, but not very well organized, September 5, 2003
This review is from: Essential CVS (Paperback)
Essential CVS by Jennifer Vesperman is a very informative book on CVS ever published. Most developers working with CVS - Concurrent Versions System - will appreciate tips, tricks details provided by the author. It covers all the aspects of managing projects using CVS that most of us will ever need.
I especially appreciate the author's discussion on tagging and branching strategies. She compares available branching strategies, talks about pros and cons of each in details to help you pick the one you see more fit.
She also provides tips and tricks, ranging from absurd (such as switching your sandbox by editing your CVS/Repository file) to intimidating (such as playing with the repositories directly). These tips will help you understand the system's internals, which hopefully will result in productivity (if not in disaster).
At first, I found her discussions a bit redundant - you can read the same point repeated several times on the same page or the same chapter over and over. Although it annoyed me to some extent, people not familiar with CVS may appreciate this feature of the book.
She assumes her audience to be familiar with UNIX systems. Although I'm fine with it (I live in Linux), others may not be. Most of the UNIX-related chat are found in her file-utility commands, as well as bash scripts, in addition to some user account/group management.
The organization and writing style of the book is far from ideal. CVS itself is a very exciting topic for software developers. The author of Essential CVS fails to reflect this in her discussions. Her discussions are close to manpage-style, with some detour onto tips and suggestions from time to time.
I believe ideal style for a book on CVS would be a scenario-driven style, which introduces a project, a problem related with managing it, and advances into the features of CVS one solution at a time. Realize, that is it different from cook-book style, which is a Question & Answer styled writing.
Good examples of scenario-driven styled writing are "Apache The Definitive Guide" by O'reilly, which builds a server with a tiny configuration file, and advances to more feature-ful implementation; "MySQL" book of New Riders, which introduces a conventional grade book and advances into more complex RDBMS implementation of it; "DNS and BIND" of O'reilly and etc.


Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
by Jakob Nielsen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $38.11
113 used & new from $0.01

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 50 Web Site Deconstructed, May 29, 2003
According to this book, users spend most of their time on other sites than your site... When a user visits your site, he/she will be bringing a large load of mental baggage accumulated from prior visits to thousands of other home pages. So by the time they reach your web site, users have accumulate a generic mental model of the way a homepages are supposed to work, based on their experience on these other sites.
It is a very interesting point. According to authors of the book, there are few large web sites that might count themselves among the first 10 to 20 sites visited by new users. And design of these web sites dictate the design conventions that a user will expect when he/she visits other web sites.
Example of some of these conventions mentioned in the book are:
upper-left corner is the best place for a site logo
upper-right corner are more generic locations for search widgets and "help" links
Navigation of the site is best usable either as a tab-style (such as in amazon.com) or as a column on left side of the page (such as in CNN.com)
Links should be blue-underlined, and visited links should be purple-underlined
footer navigation links should be only for "foot-note-related" content and should be limited to no more than 7 links
on and on it goes
So how do authors derive these conclusions? The process is actually very interesting. They conduct studies of top 50 chosen web sites and group their findings into conventions.
The book also "deconstructs" those 50 chosen Home Pages, and provides annotated analysis. You may find it interesting. Among those are such sites as About.com, Accenture.com, Yahoo.com, BBC Online, CNET, Disney, eBay, Microsoft, IBM and many more.
Although majority of the book is on annotating home pages, authors also give some generic tips on home page design. Some of those tips I recall are:
liquid page layout is preferred over fixed sized tables
the most optimal page width is 760 pixels (for fixed layout)
page length of the homepage should be around two full screens, but not more than four
frames suck big time
horizontal scrolling is the curse
"Guest Books" are not for pros
Do not use exclamation marks!
and on and on it goes
While reading homepage annotations, I felt very strong emphasis on the title of the homepages (the one between <title> and </title> tags). These tags are easily left un-noticed, one would think. But properly chosen titles make big difference while bookmarking your page. Try it yourself.
In other words, do not start your titles with "The" and "Welcome", because in person's favorites lists, it would be misplaced in the alphabetical order.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone venturing in Web Designs.
P.S. Although the book is on Home Page usability, the book itself doesn't seem "usable" at all. Size of the book is so clumsy that doesn't fit in a standard sized book shelf.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2009 2:09 AM PDT


HTTP: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides)
HTTP: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides)
by David Gourley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $38.42
66 used & new from $14.07

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only book of its kind!, May 12, 2003
I had never thought of HTTP in such a broad scale before I read "HTTP::The Definitive Guide". Apparently, Web sites and Web browsers are not the only things that should come to mind when one thinks of HTTP. Flexibility of the protocol made it home for so many breakthroughs of the Internet. It's amazing that there were no comprehensive textbooks covering the topic until today.
Organizing such enormous data in a 500-line book is a challenge already. But authors managed to go even beyond. The result was a well organized, comprehensive and amazingly easy to follow book.
The book is organized into 6 large sections. Each section is split into Chapters. Wherever appropriate, authors use figures and diagrams to illustrate the point.
The first section, called "Web's Foundation" covers most of the things an average web developer may already have known. It starts off with a chapter on HTTP Overview, and covers such topics as URLs, HTTP Messages - requests and responses, connections - parallel, persistent and pipeline. Some of the highlights are HTTP versions and their differences, URL conversion algorithms and status codes.
The second section, called "HTTP Architecture", is probably the most informative section with lots of gory details. It discusses existing technologies that make things happen - players of the Web. Starts with Web Servers that actually serve the original content. Takes you step by step what exactly happens once the Server accepts the request from your browser and displays you the page. Other technologies, such as Proxies, Caching, Gateways, Tunnels and Relays are very well covered. They even talk about Web Robots (a.k.a. Crawlers) and allocate over 30 exciting pages on these both annoying and incredibly useful "creatures". The section is finished with a brief overview of HTTP-NG, also called "Next Generation HTTP".
"Identification, Authorization, and Security" is the next section, that talks about just that. Detailed coverage on Cookies, Basic and Digestion Authentication available. Walks you through the architecture of HTTPS, a.k.a SSL/TLC and algorithms used.
Fourth section is on Encoding, Internationalization and Content Negotiation.
Fifth section is on Content Publishing and Distribution. Types of web hosting and Publishing systems - all covered. Also allocated good deal of time on explaining Redirections and Load Balancing - very useful topic. Wraps up the discussion with a chapter on Logging and Usage tracking.
Last, over 100 pages of the book are all useful Appendixes.
If you really want to understand how the Web really works (I mean, really), this is a "must have" book.


Learning XML
Learning XML
by Erik T. Ray
Edition: Paperback
59 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who wants to learn XML should have it, November 10, 2002
This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
After joy and excitement of "Perl & XML" title of Erik Ray, I decided to try his "Learning XML", and I enjoyed it even more!
At every step of a discussion, the author makes sure he doesn't loose the reader and tries to get as clear as possible to ensure author and the reader are on the same page.
When introducing an important syntax, always provides an indexed small diagram/image with detailed annotation. Also annotates real-life examples provided in the book.
The chapters area well organized.
Chapter 1, "Introduction" gives a brief picture of XML, how its being used today, potentials, tools needed and validating them.
Chapter 2, "Markup and Core Concept" is definitely the heart of the book. The chapter lasts about 40 pages, and covers the core of XML and its syntax. By the end of the chapter, one can find tips to "Get the Most out of Markup", and a real-life example of a DocBook, followed by annotation.
Chapter 3, "Connecting Resources with Links" talks about XLink and XPointer, the specifications you need to be able to manipulate links and locating the portions of text in a markup. Touches upon Formal Public Identified (FPI) and explains the syntax. By the end of the chapter gives an XHTML example followed by annotation.
Chapter 4, "Presentation: Creating the End Product" is mainly about CSS and its syntax. Pros and cons are covered.
Chapter 5, "Document Models: A Higher Level of Control" is about documenting your markup through DTDs or XML Schema. Very well presented!
Chapter 6, "Transformation: Re purposing Documents" was the one I spent most of my time on, and the one I found the most valuable to be able to publish my first XML/XSLT web site (which I already did).
Chapter 7 and 8 are "Internalization" and "Programming for XML" respectively. In the Programming chapter, all the examples are in Perl. I didn't find this chapter that useful, but I can take as an Appendix to his "Perl & XML" book. That's where that chapter should've belonged anyway.
Anyone who wants to learn XML should buy this book.


Perl Cookbook
Perl Cookbook
by Tom Christiansen
Edition: Paperback
104 used & new from $0.01

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Perl programmer should have it, November 10, 2002
This review is from: Perl Cookbook (Paperback)
In the past, I've had a bad experience with Cookbook-styles. One example would be a "CGI/Perl Cookbook". But this one is nothing like its counterpart.
To be able to follow the cookbook, you're expected to have a basic knowledge of Perl, Perl data structures and IO filehandles. The rest is "in order to get there, do like this, because of that" - style. Very easy to follow, very concise and at the same time informative. What you will appreciate the most of this book is, it doesn't just give you a solution, but it also teaches you the solution.
The book consists of 20 chapters, each chapter dedicated to a distinct subject, such as Strings, Numbers, Dates and Times, Arrays, Hashes, Pattern Matching, File access, File Contends and so on. Each chapter, consists of smaller sections, called "Receipts". Each receipt is dedicated to a solution of one commonly encountered real-life problem.
For example, Receipt 8.6, "Picking a Random Line from a File" introduces the problem , gives a very elegant solution: "rand($.) < 1 && ($line=$_) while <>", and provides a one page exciting description of the algorithm, followed by references.
Although I've been involved in Perl extensively for the last 3 years, I still catch myself skimming through the receipts to compare my solutions to that of the book. Frequently I end up discovering something new and exciting.
The book is definitely of value. Any Perl programmer should have it.


Programming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Softwar
Programming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Softwar
by Shawn P. Wallace
Edition: Paperback
49 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an "O Really!" reaction by O'Reilly, November 1, 2002
I have no other option but accepting most of the negative reviews submitted to this book ( Graphics Programming with Perl and GNU software ). The book is definitely one of the horrible books that O'reilly was ever unfortunate enough to publish. I believe a similar title by "Manning" publication does a better job than this one. If you need the facts, read on.
If you want to purchase this book to learn how to program web graphics with Perl, stop right here and go to CPAN.org. Search for GD, GD::Graph and ImageMagick and read their manuals. That's all this book does any ways.
The only chapter I enjoyed was chapter one, "Image File Formats", which at least taught me something I hadn't known before.
Outlines of the chapters follow.
Chapter one - "Image File Formats" covers most of the basics you need to know to understand the anatomy of graphics, their compression algorithms and different formats available for the web, as well as their pros and cons. This is the chapter I enjoyed most. The chapter lasts over 30 pages.
Chapter two - "Serving graphics on the Web" talks a bit about serving images from within Perl. Talks how the browser loads the images, image load time and image caching. Shows the <IMG> tag, and its attributes. Lasts another 30 pages.
Chapter 3 - "A Litany of Libraries" lists references to some of the graphics libraries available on the web. I would expect to see this chapter as an appendix.
Starting chapter 4 - "On-the-Fly graphics with GD" is the start of all the disappointment, and to some extent, annoyance. After a clumsy introduction to GD and some of its classes and methods, starts coding a chess board. The application itself is not so useful, but the code is worth consideration. The chapter also lists all the methods available through GD classes with some description of each.
Chapter 5, 6 and 7 are written in the same style as the above sibling. They concentrate on Image::Magic (also known as PerlMagick), GD::Graph (previously known as GIFgraph ) and Gimp respectively. Chapter 7 teaches how to write Gimp Plug-ins. You might consider this chapter if you're a Gimp user/fan.


Perl & LWP
Perl & LWP
by Sean M. Burke
Edition: Paperback
Price: $31.68
65 used & new from $0.01

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative and useful, August 7, 2002
This review is from: Perl & LWP (Paperback)
As a web programmer, I had dealt with several such projects dealing with web automation and writing simple crawlers even before I read "Perl & LWP". The book was the first book I've read on the subject, and I'm by no means disappointed. The book is very well organized, very informative and nails the subject in the head. I am pleased.
I noticed some inaccuracies in the discussions, some chopped off paragraphs and sentences. But this doesn't affect the usability of the book much. Author Sean Burke does a great job in walking one through the most of the aspects of web automation and data extraction in the web using Perl and LWP (libwww in Perl ).
The codes the book gives are very well organized, well written and easily debugable. The steps are pretty consistent across all the examples:
a) Inspect the HTML source code of the page;
b) Determine the tokens and patterns of interest;
c) Write the first code;
d) Fine tune the code;
As usual, I'll be commenting on individual chapters to give you an idea of the
coverage of the book in more details...


The Words 1
The Words 1
by Said Nursi Bediuzzaman
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from $7.94

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's nothing to tell about this book, June 30, 2002
This review is from: The Words 1 (Paperback)
My poor english can hardly find proper words to express the value of this book the way it deserves. Bediuzzaman teaches Islam from a different angle! Reveals the true meaning of the religion in a very simple and easy to follow way.
Each chapter consits of a story.... the story that shows the importance of religion, without which human life is so miserable and meaningless.


JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
by David Flanagan
Edition: Paperback
110 used & new from $0.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It didn't disappoint me!, June 30, 2002
Probably it is not for newbies.. not sure
I am not new in Javascript. My first book was "javascript bible" by Danny Goodman, which got me started with it couple of years ago.
Last year, by accident, I came accross O'reilly's Safari subscription project, and decided to refresh my Javascript knowledge. One of the books I checked out was David Flanagan's "Javascript The Definitive Guide".
I read several chapters from it, and I cought myself enjoying it more than enjoyed my previous similar titles. So I decided to buy the 4th edition of the book, and was not disappointed. So what things does David do differently? Read on!
I remember "Javascript Bible" by Danny Goodman starts off with hands on examples, which anyone without any knowledge of Javascript can try out in his/her editor. This is not the case with "Javascript The Definitive Guide". If you have no idea how Javascript works, you will not see a working real-life example untill Part II (page 181). Untill then, the author explains the core syntax of javascript, how javascript interperator works, how it wraps things into two objects: while interperating - Global and Call objects; talks about variable scopes and Garbage collection, objects, arrays, operators and other good stuff. It will tell you the different between object properties and variables ( or does it say there're no differences? ), talks about Regular Expression and nested functions.
People who have little or no programming background tend to find this chat quite boring and meaningless ( as I would've couple of years ago ). But if you have some Javascript background, or at least know how Javascript works in the browser, and what to strengthen your knowledge of Core JS, you will find this book very informative.
Part || is dedicated to Client side Javascript. That's where your browser comes into play and all the fun starts. Only here it will tell you that "Global object" mentioned in the Core Javascvript part is called "window". Talkes about CSS and DHTML, Scripting Cookies, DOM. It covers every single aspect of Client-Side JavaScript that a good Javascript book should cover.
The rest of the book consists of very well designed references, that you will be using most of the time.


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