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Sams Teach Yourself Extreme Programming in 24 Hours
by Stewart Baird

1 edition
November 2002
480 pages

Reviewed by Ilja Preuss, July 2003
  (8 of 10)

This book is bigger than the typical XP book. That can be partly explained by its scope. Most chapters, of course, explain how to do XP, but there is more. It starts with a short history of software development and methodologies, reasoning about the forces that brought XP into existence. The two chapters on how to start implementing XP in your team/organization are certainly very valuable. And finally there are also discussions about alternative and complementing agile processes.

The chapters (called hours) are of mixed quality. Especially the ones about organizational aspects are quite good -- my favorite is the one about pair programming. When it comes down to actual coding, the book seems to be oddly concentrating on tools instead of practices. Unfortunately, single chapters are also a little bit confusing -- sometimes the sentences just don't connect; some of the hours would possibly have been better shortened a bit. All in all it is a nice read, though.

If you want to know how you can integrate XP in your own coding practice tomorrow, this book won't help you much. On the other hand, if you are interested in learning the concepts of the whole process, if you want to introduce XP to your team or organization, this book would give you a good kickoff. It still won't tell you all you need to know, but it will make you aware of the key concepts. And the well-compiled references will do the rest.

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Sams Teach Yourself Wireless Java with J2ME in 21 days
by Michael Morrison

unknown edition
June 2001
576 pages

Reviewed by Johannes de Jong, October 2001
  (9 of 10)

I've never bothered to purchase a book that claims it will teach me something in x # days. Well this book surely has changed my mind.

It's a well-structured book that takes you by the hand and step for step teaches you the ins-and-outs of programming for the J2ME "platform".

Programming for mobile devices is all about compromises. Not enough memory, the limitations of the screen etc. Mr. Morrison clearly highlights these limitations and shows you how to program around them.

The examples in the book are fantastic and fun. If they don't get you started on your own little pet project nothing will. I did not manage to try them all but the one's I did try worked perfectly, without any problems.

Mr. Morrison also has an easy style that is fun to read and his enthusiasm for the subject shows. There is a reference to his site Michael Morrison but at the time of writing, it was still under construction.

Having said this all. It would be nice if Mr. Morrison extended his Appendixes to include the API's for J2ME and a list with the New Term's that he has scattered all over his book.

I think it's the perfect book to start your journey programming with J2ME and I mean any device that can use J2ME and not only mobile phones. I highly recommend it.

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Sams Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML and CSS in One Hour a Day
by Laura Lemay, Rafe Colburn

6 edition
September 2010
768 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, January 2011
  (8 of 10)

Let me first let you know I hate HTML. I learned it back in the 1.0 days in the early 90's. I am a visual person and can't use text to draw a screen. Just doesn't work for me, seems backwards to me, use text to create something visual.

Anyway, I found this book to be very enlightening to perceive HTML in a different way. Not to think of it as a UI visual screen, but just holding the contents in the page. Leaving the CSS to create the UI. Now this is the best practice to separate content from UI, but now I guess I hate CSS and like HTML.

I still can't make a pretty web page with CSS, but at least I get my content out now. And I can download CSS files from the internet to get a nice look and feel.

This books does explain things in a clear way and the end of chapter labs and quizes help cement what you just learned.

I highly recommend this book for anyone learning HTML and CSS.

However, I found it difficult to use as a reference.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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6 edition
September 2010
768 pages

Reviewed by Amit Ghorpade, February 2011
  (9 of 10)

This book is yet another "Teach yourself" tutor which is nothing less than a complete guide to web publishing and designing production quality web pages for novice web designers. It is also helpful web developers who are usually not well accustomed to CSS including me.
In HTML, you get detailed information on tags and attributes widely used, hence its easy to digest for pure beginners and will help to strengthen concepts if you already have a feel of HTML.
One part I missed is that although the book claims to cover HTML 5, few new things are not covered like the new way of creating forms in HTML 5.
Also I upgraded my knowledge on CSS and now I can better understand web pages by looking at their style sheets. CSS has been nicely interwoven with HTML at appropriate places.
One thing more interesting is that you get a chapter on jQuery along with JavaScript.
Also there are chapters focused on good practices, hints and general information for designers

There are chapters dedicated to publishing, comprehensive information needed, people serious in putting up their own site can get good pointers here.
The quiz and Q&A at the end of each chapter is quite appealing and explanation is elaborate at right places. Altogether its a must-have all-in-one book for web page designing for beginners.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Sams Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours (Covering Java 7 and Android) (6th Edition)
by Rogers Cadenhead

6 edition
October 2011
432 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, May 2012
  (5 of 10)

If you are starting out learning Java, then this book is NOT for you. If you have programmed quite a bit in java then this book is NOT for you.

With the introduction above, let me start with the good points about the book:
1. A good amount of effort put in for Swing and AWT related concepts.
2. There are some exercise questions to follow after each chapter.
3. Gives some introduction on Android. This I think is good because as a beginner its appealing to know the adaption of Java language.

Now to the not so good parts:
1. Uses/Encourages the use of NetBeans IDE. Whereas beginners are not encouraged to use IDEs as they never allow you to fail.
2. No chapters on Generics and Collections. Threading covered in terms of Swing which is not the right way to cover it.
3. No try-with-resources feature of Java 7 mentioned in the exception handling section.
4. The chapter on creating Web Services using JAX-WS, parsing XML were not really required. Moreover there has been mention of REST in the JAX-WS chapter where as its using SOAP.
5. No real value added examples to back the content.
6. No good coverage of OOP concepts.

The bottom line is if you are serious about learning Java, then this book is not recommended. The content is simple to understand, but it really doesn't teach Java the right way.

And on a closing note, one can learn a language only when they spend some time learning and trying out the examples and for a language like Java learning about its API is also important.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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