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The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering
by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
The Mythical Man-Month is one of the classics in the field of software program management. Brooks draws on his experience as the head of operating systems development for IBM's famous 360 mainframe computer and distills his wisdom in an easily accessible form. The latest edition contains four new chapters, which outline Brooks' most recent experiences. This book should be read by anyone who manages and cares about software development.
This book is an amazing experience. Whether you come to it with the intention of learning more about how to manage software projects, or simply an interest in the black art of OS programming it's guaranteed to be an exhiliarating ride. It's not only succinct, refusing to delve into details we wouldn't comprehend, it also contains enough general commentary to make it useful for anyone involved in large projects with creative people (which basically includes just about any form of productivity whatsoever). What makes the book approachable is Brooks' style, which can only be called simple. What keeps you interested in the book are the metaphoric range it has (calling OS programming a tar pit is a considerable reach of the imagination, and yet so obvious) and the rather pragmatic advise Brooks provides at every turn of the page. If you read the book carefully enough, you realize that it makes a series of suggestions about how computing is changing us and the way we create. Brooks may or may not have anticipated this, but his use of the distinction between "essential" and "accidental" difficulties forces one to think long and hard about how these are changing the world of the artist, and the world of art. Just how much writing today is a result of the writer's "liberation" from the static manuscript, either hand/typewritten? What does one lose when this discipline goes away, and what does one gain. Without the accidental difficulties, does tackling the essential ones lead us to inelegant solutions? Or does it simply extend our range, making it possible for more among us to create, and the creative genius to make more than he/she would have otherwise. Throughout the book, what kept coming back to me was the image of a Renaissance painter and his bevy of apprentices. One never knows to what extent the painting's essence was created by the master who drew the outlines and the students who painted the details.
The "father" of Visual Basic, Alan Cooper, presents a methodology of user interface design that he has distilled from many years of creating award-winning personal computer software. This book does not focus on code; instead it discusses highly technical topics in clear English. Readers may not agree with everything Cooper has to say about software design, but they will find his ideas pertinent, thought-provoking, and perceptive.
This should be required reading in every university computer science program. Most programmers have tons of books on their shelves about coding, but nothing about the people who are actually forced to use their programs - the users. Most of us put code first, users second (or third, or fourth...) This book will completely change how you think about software design. I had a design epiphany while reading it. It takes programmers and turns them into designers. An 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.
CGI Programming on the World Wide Web is aimed at programmers who are getting started with CGI. While this book teaches you the basics of CGI, it also goes far beyond the "everyday" variety of CGI applications. After introducing you to simple techniques, the book dives into detailed examples with advanced real-life solutions in CGI. The book includes examples of embedding counters into HTML pages, displaying dynamic graphics and pie graphs, animating graphics using server push and client pull, incorporating relational databases into your Web site, passing data between multiple forms, creating graphical interfaces to applications using clickable imagemaps, implementing mail and search gateways, and communicating with other Internet services such as Archie and Usenet. Almost all programming examples in this book are written in Perl, the most popular language for CGI. But the techniques shown in this book can also be applied to any language you choose.
An excellent introduction to the backdoor of Web publishing Shishir Gundavaram shines as O'Reilly's latest author in the best introduction available on CGI programming, the "back-end" of Web site creation for the internet. Gundavaram begins his work with a detailed description of the CGI protocols and how they interrelate to web programming. Using Perl 5.0, one of many languages available for CGI programming, Gundavaram quickly moves on to discuss the creation of interactive forms on the Web, linking these forms to available databases of information, and making the client's browser remember information about a user from session to session using Netscape's "cookie" technology. Finally, Gundavaran includes information about testing CGI scripts and on increasing their security, certainly two important aspects when using potentially dangerous programs on internet-accessable web machines. Perhaps the best aspect of Gundavaran's work is its emphasis on examples. From guestbooks to games, Gundavaran shows how easy it is to increase interactivity on a web site using CGI and forms. Overall, Gundavaran's creation is a information-packed, no- nonsense reference and tutorial guide to CGI programming.
Computer Programming Expert Editor's Recommended Book, 05/01/97: COM (Component Object Model) forms the foundation of OLE and ActiveX as well as Microsoft's vision for componentized, distributed computing. Inside COM explains COM from the ground up, beginning with a lucid overview of what COM is and what benefits it offers programmers, then delving into the details of its actual operation. While Rogerson provides code samples in C++, the book isn't about C++ nor is it overwhelmed with program listings. Rogerson masterfully starts with a high-level view that doesn't get swamped in unnecessary detail then later fills in the gaps and addresses advanced topics. He offers just the right approach for programmers who might be intimidated by COM's apparent complexity.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 04/06/97, rating=10:
This is the best book for programmers who are new to COM. Unlike Inside OLE by Brockschmidt, it focuses on COM as a mechanism. Inside OLE, on the other hand, focus mostly on various interfaces implemented by COM. I wish this book would have come out about 2 years ago when I first started looking at COM.
Computer Programming Expert Editor's Recommended Book, 04/01/97: Relational databases are powerful tools for organizing data, but learning to use them effectively can be painful. Relational Database Design for Mere Mortals explains the concepts of relational-database design in an easy-to-digest fashion that covers both the theoretical underpinnings and their practical implications. Hernandez covers all the basics--table and field structure, keys, relationships, business rules, and more--but always keeps his feet on the ground with advice for real-world implementations and a particularly strong section on analyzing your current database infrastructure.
James Ehlers(Ehlers@worldnet.att.net), 04/20/97, rating=10: The most "real world" book on database design I've ever read If you have ever built a database, or if you ever plan on it, this is the book to read! In clear and simple language this book will teach you the fundamentals of proper and effective database design. I have been building databases for the last couple of years and this book has taught me more about design than any other book that I've read to date. Michael's "Software-independent approach" is great! Weather you're a veteran developer or a novice, weather you use Access, C++, Visual Basic, Power Builder, etc., you will learn a wealth of information from this book. It should be required reading for anyone planning on building a database!
General Computer Books Expert Editor's Recommended Book, 06/01/97: Sad Macs, Bombs, and Other Disasters and What To Do About Them, Third Edition is the definitive guide to have on hand when your Apple Macintosh rolls a bomb in your general direction. (For the MacNovice, the bomb indicates a terminal system error.) The book is the complete guide to troubleshooting the Mac, and has an entry for every imaginable disaster that might befall your Mac from bootup to shutdown. Along the way, you'll find some incidental treasure--advice on tuning your Mac, using virtual memory, decoding the deep mysteries of the System Folder, and performing routine maintenance tasks to keep your system cranking along at top speed. This edition also features new information on PCI Macs, PowerPC Powerbooks, coverage of Mac System 7.5/7.6 issues, and an entirely new chapter on Internet protocols, Web browsers, PPP and similar issues emphasizing "problems and solutions."
Sad Macs is not only well written, it's elegantly organized. Besides the kind of comprehensive index you might wish for in a troubleshooting guide, the author also includes an elaborate "Symptom Index." The final third of the book is devoted to "Fix-It" guides to specific problem sets, such as diagnosing problems with system extensions, and throughout these guides are usefully cross-referenced. If you've got a Mac, this is an essential utility, and a must-have desktop reference guide.
If you support or own a Win95 PC this is a MUST!! While this book isn't a "hold your breath suspense novel" it is certainly one of the best friends you will have when your PC stops working or worse your Win95 network stops and the boss starts screaming. In fact you may find that it is your only friend at this point. The guidelines to performing an upgrade to Win95 are straight forward and easy to understand. There is more than enough detail to help an advanced user while the inexperienced user can certainly pull out the information they need quickly. The troubleshooting section of the book is detailed and is actually helpful which is much more than many other technical titles I own. I can't say enough about how this book helped me upgrade my company's entire PC network quickly and with very little pain. The book helped head off many problems before they became problems and anyone who supports end users and their PC's knows that the quicker and easier an upgrade goes the happier everyone is in the end. There are very few technical books I recommend as strongly as this title.If you have or support a PC using the Win95 operating system DO NOT wait. Buy this book!! You will not regret it for a second. Jim Brownrigg Flint, MI
DNS and BIND discusses one of the Internet's fundamental building blocks: the distributed host information database that's responsible for translating names into addresses, routing mail to its proper destination, and many other services. As the authors write in the preface, if you're using the Internet, you're already using DNS - even if you don't know it. This new edition covers two versions of BIND: 4.8.3, on which most commercial products are currently based; and 4.9.4, which we believe will be the basis for the next generation of commercial name servers. It also covers topics like DNS on Windows NT, integration between DNS and WINS, new security features, and more. Whether you're an administrator involved with DNS on a daily basis, or a user who wants to be more informed about the Internet and how it works, you'll find that this book is essential reading.
Customer Comments - Ronald R. Martinsen - rating=10: A must read for any serious Win32 programmer. As a Software Design Engineer at Microsoft Corporation I am constantly reading books on programming topics. Every so often I run across a book that I deem as "the book" for specific subject, and make it a point to keep a copy of it in my office and at home. Advanced Windows is one of those books.As an author (of Special Edition, Using Visual Basic) I appreciate a book that is both a good read and very informative. That is exactly what this book is, and I would encourage any serious windows programmer to have this one in their collection. If you haven't read this book, you don't know what you are missing. Don't take my word for, ask any successful Win32 programmer.
This is the best-known, most widely praised, and most widely used how-to programming book on the planet. It is the one book that no aspiring or experienced developer can afford to be without. Updated for Windows 95, this bestseller is now a 32-bit book with 32-bit programs neatly tucked into a CD. Charles Petzold covers the new Windows 95 concerns such as multithreading, GDI and OLE enhancements, and preemptive multitasking. A guaranteed bestseller.
email@example.com, 07/10/97, rating=10: Programming - - the SciFi of yesterday is set firmly in the NOW by Petzold. This action packed guide to Win95 offers more philospohy than a Heinlein novel, better instruction than Bill Gates himself and it will help you stand Win95 on its virtual ear! Buy 2 copies - one for your favorite 'get away spot' and one to chain to your desk so you don't lose its treasures.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 05/06/97, rating=10: Required reading! If you have anything to do with traditional publishing, you must read this book! Chuck Martin cuts through all the hype regarding what is required for those who want to successfully compete in this new arena. Everything in the book is concrete and actionable. No wild theories, just things that will work and the reasons why they will work. You have to buy the Digital Estate if you currently publish anything in print or are involved in broadcast. Because of Martin's having one foot in traditional media and the other in the web, he is the first author I've read who fully understand and clearly articulates the dynamics and opportunities. The book is clear and readable. Get it!
email@example.com, 05/05/97, rating=9: If the Internet and Business interest you, so will this book I had the good fortune to see the author deliver the thesis of this book, (The Digital Estate) in person and it was a tour de force -- as is the book. There are many books like this out there these days, including one by Bill Gates, which cover similar ground -- but this one is more sophisticated, although very readable. Even if you don't believe that the Internet will change the world, read this book -- and you will.
The explosive growth of public and private computer networks has resulted in a tremendous increase in the volume of sensitive and valuable data that is routinely stored and transmitted digitally. From computer messages speeding through global networks to vast sums of money transferred electronically, the greatest challenge in this new "digital world" is keeping this information out of the hands of unauthorized users who prey on vulnerable computer systems. In Applied Cryptography, data security expert Bruce Schneier details how programmers can use cryptography - the technique of enciphering and deciphering messages - to maintain the privacy of computer data. Covering the latest developments in practical cryptographic techniques, the book shows programmers who design computer applications, networks, and storage systems how security can be built into the computer software and systems we use every day. Along with more than 100 pages of actual C source code of working cryptographic algorithms, this practical handbook explains data encryption protocols and techniques currently in use and likely to be used in the future; offers numerous present-day applications - from secure correspondence to anonymous messaging; includes numerous source code fragments and shows how to incorporate them into larger programs; and discusses related issues like patents, export law, and legal rulings.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 07/03/97, rating=10:
A must have for any Java programmer This book must be on your lap as you program anything in Java. It is the most useful and comprehensive reference available. Plus, the examples in the book are excellent.
Michael T. Richter (email@example.com), 04/16/97, rating=10:
Buy this book, even if you have to mortgage your soul! I've learned more about Java programming from five hours with this book than I have with five months of other sources.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 03/25/97, rating=10:
Buy, Borrow or Steal this one! Everything you ever wanted to know about Java classes; complete with snipplets. I hear they are presently updating this volume to include JDK 1.1. I'm sure the next addition will be over 2000 pages. It's also a great deal (computer 50 selection).
email@example.com, 03/19/97, rating=10:
The only indispensible Java reference book on the market. If you don't buy this book, read this book, learn from this book, and live by this book, you're a fool. I've learned more from looking at some of the examples here than from all the other Java "reference" texts I've read combined. The Java 1.1 Tutorial and this annotated reference are all anyone should need to learn not just the basics of Java, but how to use it in an educated and sophisticated way.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 03/09/97, rating=10:
Very good reference. I have been using this book ever since I have had it with me. I think with some programming background and the concept of OOP, I have been able to grasp the structure and ways of Jave much faster. The examples illustrating the classes have become the basis on which I write my Java programs. I found these examples much illustrative of Java and OOP than those in ather books(compared to 4 other books I have refered to). I think this book should be beside the computer of any Java programmers! --James B D Joshi
Today, a software designer or architect who seeks to represent the design of a software system can choose from a wide variety of notational languages, each aligned with a particular analysis and design methodology. Ironically, this wide variety of choice is one impediment to the significant benefits promised by software reuse. The emergence of the Unified Modeling Language (UML)-created by the joint efforts of leading object technologists Grady Booch, Ivar Jacobson, and James Rumbaugh with contributions from many others in the object community-represents one of the most significant developments in object technology. Supported by a broad base of industry-leading companies, the UML merges the best of the notations used by the three most popular analysis and design methodologies, Booch, OOSE (use-cases), and OMT, to produce a single, universal modeling language that can be used with any method.
Written for those already grounded in object-oriented analysis and design, this concise overview introduces you to UML, highlighting the key elements of its notation, semantics, and processes. Included is a brief explanation of UML's history, development, and rationale, as well as discussions on how UML can be integrated into the object-oriented development process. In addition, the book profiles various modeling techniques associated with UML-use cases, CRC cards, design by contract, dynamic classification, interfaces, and abstract classes-along with concise descriptions of notation and semantics and numerous insightful tips for effective use based on the authors' experience. In addition, the authors offer the first look at the emerging Objectory Software Development Process derived from the methodologies of Grady Booch, Ivar Jacobson, and James Rumbaugh. To give you a feel for the UML in action, the book includes a Java programming example that outlines the implementation of a UML-based design.
You will come away with an excellent understanding of UML essentials, insight into how UML functions within the software development process, and a firm foundation upon which to expand and build your knowledge of the Unified Modeling Language.
email@example.com, 06/26/97, rating=10:
Grok OOP This book is fantastic. Anyone at all interested in Object Oriented Programming should pick it up and read it. Design Patterns are not just some Computer Science gimmik, or far-fetched theory. Rather, they are a simple, but strikingly effective way of looking at a problem, breaking it down, and finding a solution. If you've ever wanted to get the big "Aha!" behind OOP and all of its related buzzwords, this is the way to do it. Every computer programmer should read this book.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 06/22/97, rating=10:
Superior OOD text, definitely worth a read. This book is a clear elucidation of a complex sub topic within the Object Oriented Design methodology; namely the application of a set of 23 design templates to common design problems. It has a strong academic base, with only one chapter, (no. 2), giving a well worked example. The book is broken up into 6 chapters, with chapters 3, 4 and 5 each describing a different category of pattern template. All 23 patterns fall into one of these chapters. Chapter 6 acts like a summary of the design pattern community and current research directions. Highly recommended reading for software engineers dabbling in OOD at the intermediate to advanced level. Would form a basis for graduate level study course in OOD. Suffers from only having one well worked example. Would benefit from a supplementary book with detailed applications of all the design patterns.
email@example.com, 05/31/97, rating=10:
Finally a way to help programmers become software designers I didn't even need to read the 23 patterns in detail to know this book would be a great benefit to our team of developers. The case study in chapter 2 which details how patterns apply to a system was so good, I requested that our library order a copy as a reference for each development team. This text highlights the power of developing a design rather than an implementation.
Have you ever brought up a Web page and wondered how they made that cool background? Have you ever wanted to make your buttons jump off the page? Well, now you can join the experts. You hold in your hands a unique collection of the hottest and most sought-after Photoshop Web techniques being used today. Step-by-step instructions and full-color examples show you how to use Photoshop to create menu bars, bullets, backgrounds, type, icons, buttons, animations--and more!
firstname.lastname@example.org, 05/29/97, rating=10:
The best Photoshop and Web Graphics book you can get! This book is absolutely the finest book written for making your own graphics to use on a web page. It is clear and concise and fun to read. It is so useful, that I'm excited to see they have a 2nd one coming out. I will surely purchase that one. I have learned how to use Photoshop so much more effeicently because of this book. I have used dozens of the techniques shown in the book for my site. If you would like to check out my site please stop by at http://www.cybertours.com/~avatar Again this is one of the best books you can get when it comes to dealing with Photoshop and web graphics!
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