Marius Gheorghe

Building software : make it work, make it good, make it fast

Html Utopia designing without tables using CSS



This is a book that presents the advantages of doing a design with div + CSS instead of tables. The books starts with a reasonably complex design and show its implementation using CSS. If would have been nice to also show a "table" implementation for comparation.
From my point of view the book fails to "convert" me to CSS. I DO understand all the theoretical advantages of a CSS based layout but the reality is quite different. It takes a LOT of time to create a reasonably complex CSS based layour that works fine on multiple browsers (it takes even more time if you want to support older versions of Internat Explorer). Honestly i do prefer to use a table based layout and use the extra time to make sure that i have a solid application.
But that's just my point of view....

Release It




This is easily one of the best programming books i have ever read. Simply put it, it's about building software for the real world. About designing a system that works well in a real world and that can take a ""beating"" :D.
It has plenty of good advices on how to achieve that.

Recommended

ShipIt


The books is described as ""a collection of tips that show you what tools a successful team has to use, and how to use them well"". My problem, as a professional software developer, with the book is that it's kind of light on content for professionals. I mean....telling me that i need to use source control is useless. I already know this stuff.
So, in the end, i guess the usefulnesses of the books depends very much on the level of the reader.

Essential Silverlight



Fluff. It's the kind of book who has large screenshots of VS/setup processes. Need i say more ? I'm really interested in a good Silverlight 1.1 book. Hope it won't take to long to surface...

The Career Programmer review



Awesome book. It describes in gory details, and using a "from the trenches" view, all the problems faced by professional programmers in the corporate world. Of course nothing in the book is really new for veteran programmers but it paints a image so vivid of what means to be a corporate programmer that this book is a must read for any novice who wants so be a programmer.
Verdict: Read it. Now

Beautiful code


This is a mixed bag. It has interesting information but also lots of "why the heck is this stuff here" chapters.
I especially liked Petzold's chapter.

Innocent code



Nicely written book about web apps security. Covers sql injection, XSS vulnerabilities, client side trojans and more. I especially liked that, due to the writing style, it was very simple to ""grasp"" the information.
Recommended.

Web caching review



Great book.In depth discussions from http caching (sic) to hierarchical cache protocols. If you're interesting in HTTP caching this is a must read.

Review for Getting Real

     I have finished reading Getting Real. There are good advices in that book but, unfortunately, most of these advices make sense ONLY if you are in the authors position. That is....beeing a small webshop and having the liberty to create the products you want. If you develop software at a "larger" scale you will find it , let's say funny, to read that "functional
specs are useless" and that developers should also do technical support. :)) Also, it seems to me, that some advices in the book seem to go over the top in implying that over simplification is good. Less features are good ? Don’t add features to your product and let your product users “get creative” in finding ways to overcome the missing features ?! Nope…that’s really not the way i see it. I see the point in “thinking outside the box” when creating a product that will compete with huge established behemonths ……but, unfortunately, this is not a piece of advice you should take for good. From my experience balance is everything. For every point in the book, i can come up with many counter examples to prove that over simplification is bad.
     But, i repeat, there are valuable advices in there. I especially liked the chapter about "Staffing". If you're in a small webshop  developing your own apps, then you should get the book. Otherwise i can't really recommanded it.

Professional ASP.NET 2.0 review


This is one of the thickest IT books i have ever read. Too bad the book's content is not up to the book's size. Although it's called "Professional" the book is mostly useful for beginners. I have ranted before on this topic....this is sadly just the "+1000 pages full of pictures, huge useless code snippets and MSDN look a like content " type of book.


Not recommanded unless you're a begginner.

Javascript books

My JavaScript skills need a little "brush up" so here's a simple review for 2 books so far.


JavaScript Pocket reference is a older book from O'Reilly (snagged it from a friend of mine). As the name says it's a very simple reference book. Recommended only for absolute begginers. On the other hand "ppk on Javascript" is a great JavaScript book (covers the language, DOM manipulation, XMLHttpRequest, browser quirks etc). Recommended book. The author also maintains a great "browser quirks" website at http://www.quirksmode.org