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Sep 05

Book review: Ajax Design Patterns

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[Disclaimer: I’ve received a copy of this book for reviewing]

I’ve just finished reading this book (by Michael Mahemoff) and I can tell you that I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I believe that having a set of patterns that describes solutions to  several problems is something we really need (after all, there really isn’t any need for us to loose time trying to solve problems that have already been solved by others in the past, right?). So, every document that tries to define several problems and present solutions to them are really welcome.

Now, I’m not so sure if I agree with all the patterns presented on that book (at the begining of the book, there’s one called Ajax App design pattern – really not necessary on this book! – and it’s just adding pages to the book – there were a few more too, but I think that this one is more than enough for making my previous point).

Regarding the text itself, I’d really prefer to have  it simpler and smaller. I’m not sure if we really need so many stories behind the patterns that go along something like “developer X wants to do Y. How can he do it?” and then we have more text that explains what the pattern does. This adds lots of bloat, making the reading somewhat boring (ok, it’s a pattern book, which probably means that you shouldn’t read it cover to cover like I did).

If you’re an ASP.NET developer, then I should probably warn you that the server side code presented is written in PHP (though it’s easy to understand). Having said this,I still think that if you’re building RIA apps,you should read it since it will probably have a solution to the problem you’re trying to solve. I’m giving it 7/10.

Aug 24

Book review: SOA in Practice

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[Disclaimer: I”ve received a copy of this book for reviewing]

Yesterday I”ve finished reading this interesting book from Nicolai Josuttis. I”ve been following Josuttis” work since my C++ times (which, btw, are a few years away now – enough for letting me sleep without thinking on memory management :),,) and I was pleased to see that he still has the some easy reading writing style. This is a book on concepts. Unlike his previous work (which were on a specific technology – or should I say, language), you won”t find any references to specific problems you may face while trying to “realize SOA”.

Instead, you”ll find an objective book which presents several aspects on SOA and offers several good advices which will really help you if you want to implement SOA in your company. And he manages to do all this in just about 300 pages (which is really cool because we don”t really have time for big books, right? 🙂 ). That means that I”m giving it 8/10.

Aug 10

Book review: Making things happen

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[Disclaimer: I”ve receive a copy of this book for reviewing]

In these last days of vacations, I”ve managed to finish reading this really cool book on project management. Even though I”m not a project manager, this was one of those books I”ve heard lots of good things about and I can tell you now (after finishing reading it) that I wasn”t disappointed with it.

Besides being fun and easy reading, you”ll find lots of great tips on this book. For instance, I”ll be using some of the ideas presented on the Skills and Management parts on my work from now on. If you ask me, I”d say that the last chapter (Powers and Politics) is more than enough for justifying the book”s price!

Overall, I”m giving it 9/10 and I”m putting it on my special reference shelf, where I”ve already got Peopleware (ok, I”ve just noticed that I haven”t publish a review on this book on my blog. I”ll do it on the next days), The mythical man-month, etc. So, if you haven”t read this book and you”re on the development business,do yourself a favor and pick a copy and then read it from cover to cover! You should to be a better professional after reading it!

Jul 28

Book review: Powershell pocket reference

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[Disclaimer: I’ve received a copy of this book for review]

I’m really happy to  have received a copy of this book. It’s really a simple, easy to read, concise book which contains all you need to get started with PowerShell. You can easy read the book in 1 or 2 days (that is, if you’re reading from cover to cover). If you’re near a computer, then you can always try to run the examples and even try some new things on your own (being a concise book, you’ll find lots of references which you need to explore).

As you might expect, this is not a complete guide to Powershell. You won’t also be getting info on how to build custom cmdlets or on how to extend Powershell.

Overall, I’d say this is a good reference book that you should have by your side if you’re starting working with Powershell. I’m giving it 7/10.

Jul 23

Book review: Professional IIS 7 and ASP.NET Integrated Programming

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[Disclaimer: I’ve received a copy of this book for review]

I’ve just finished reading the Professional IIS 7 and ASP.NET integrated programming book by Dr. Shramram. If you’re trying to understand how to leverage the new IIS 7 managed features, then this book is just what you need. If you don’t know what you must to to add a GUI interface to your own custom modules/handlers, then this book is for you too!If you want to learn how to administer IIS 7, then this book isn’t for you.

The book is really complete (in fact, it’s too complete, if such a thing exists – more details on this in the next paragraphs) reference that contains lots of examples that show you how to integrate your ASP.NET code with IIS 7 and how to extend IIS 7.  Having said this, I’ve found one or two things that annoyed me while I read the book.

For starterts, you’ll see lots of C# 2.0 code. Why not use C# 3.0? It simply doesn’t make sense to me, but ok, I can live with that…The second thing that I really didn’t like is the ammount of repetition that you’ll get in the book. For instance, you’ll get at least one chapter on how to extend the integrated configuration system which are illustrated with “dummy” classes. And then, in a following chapter you’ll end up developing “real” config classes for supporting an url module. My question is simple: why not build the necessary config classes for the module instead of “wasting” paper with the dummy classes?

And since I’m talking about repetitions,there’s really one thing I hated: why do we see pages of code which are repeated under the form of snippets so that the author can explain what each one of them do? Including the InitializeComponents is really really uncessary,if you ask me…

In conclusion, this book will give all you need if you’re interested in understanding how to integrate your ASP.NET code with IIS 7 or if you’re interested in seeing how to expand IIS 7. I’m giving it a 7.5/10 due to the ammount of unnecessary repetition that the book contains. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have any problems in giving it an 8, but I can’t simply ignore the fact that this book has over 600 pages and it could really just have about 400 without any content loss!

Jul 07

Book review: Professional Engine Optimization with ASP.NET: a Developer''s Guide to SEO

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[Disclaimer: I”ve received a free copy of this book for reviewing]

Ok, so this is the second book  I”ve got from Wrox for reviewing (and yes, I did enjoy it much more than the first). SEO is one of those things that most developers end up forgetting when building ASP.NET pages Unfortunately, that might cost you a lot. This books presents several principles and ideas that will help you improve your site”s indexing. The structure is clean and the content is good.

Now, the bad things: I didn”t really liked the C# code style presented throughout the book and I think that some of the ideas were “duplicated” in several chapters. The text gives lots of emphasis on Google (which one can understand, since it rules the search engine market). I”m not against it but I”d like to see more about the other search engines too. Overall, I”m going to give it a 7.5/10.

Jul 03

Protected: Book review: Professional Community Server

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Jun 16

Protected: Book review: The Pragmatic Programmer

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Jun 11

Book review: ADO.NET 3.5 Cookbook

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[Disclaimer: I’ve received a free copy of this book for review]

After several days, I’ve finally finished reading this book. This is really a very complete book wit lots and lots (and lots!) of examples. It’s fair to say that it covers most (if not all) ADO.NET related scenarios (I’m an SQL Server user but if you’re into Oracle then it also has several examples that show how to use ADO.NET and Oracle).

I do have one complaint though: chapter 8. Currently, I’ll personally “hurt” anyone that is working on the same project as me and that uses ADO.NET objects on window forms or ASP.NET front ents! Ok, I’m not violent, so I wouldn’t really hurt anyone :,,) serioulsy, don’t use ADO.NET objects on your UI.

Having said this, I still recommend it (if you’re working with ADO.NET) and I’m going to give it 7.5/10.

May 17

Book review: The Mythical Man-Month

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This book is a classic! It”s one of those books that simply doesn”t get outdated! I”m not sure if this is such a good thing. After all, the book has more than 20 years now and if we still keep doing the same mistakes, then something is really wrong with us :,,)

Anyway, the book is great, has several cool stories that show you how hard it is to produce good quality software in a tight schedule. If you”re thinking that you simply don”t have time to go through all the +300 pages, then don”t worry: the 20th anniversary edition has a new chapter which resumes all the previous one with a list of concise topics. I”m glad that the author has emended some of his previous positions (for instance, when he said that hiding implementation details was not a good thing) and I think that overall, I”m giving it a 8/10.

May 10

Protected: Book review: Release it!

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May 05

Book review: Write Great Code II

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I”ve just finished up reading the second book of the Write Great Code sequel. Even though I don”t use C or C++ regularly in my day-to-day work (yeah baby, it”s always C#), I can tell you that I”ve enjoyed reading this book. It”s really well written (at least, the first 100 pages, where you get lots of important concepts; the rest of the pages have lots and lots of code listings, which make it hard to read sometimes) and I believe that everyone should read this and the first book in the series.

There are great chapters on the x86 architecture and on assembly basics. One of the things that Randall Hyde says is that you don”t need to know assembly to understand the book. When I bought the book, I thought: yeah, right…but now I can tell you the guy knows what he”s saying!

The only thing I”d change is that I”d just use one compiler: I say this because I think that using one would be enough for explaining most of the concepts presented on the book. So, I”d give it 8/10.

Mar 13

The most interesting thing about the release (besides the new chapter and updates I”ve made to the content) is that my friends Paulo and Israel managed to blog about it before me :,,)

Feb 21

Book review: Hunting Security Bugs

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I”ve just finished reading my copy of Hunting Security Bugs.I must say that I was really pleased with the quality and coverage of the book.  The authors present several examples that show how things can start going bad really easy. The book will give you several clues and show how you can trace security issues that might appear on your applications. This was one of the best buys I”ve made on the MS online store. Score: 8/10.

Dec 17

Book review: About Face

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I”ve just finished reading my copy of About Face 3: The essentials of Interaction Design written by the famous Alan Cooper. Even though the book has some cool stuff on it, there is something about the writing style that made some chapters really boring. There”s also something about the quality of the paper and the cover, which doesn”t look good either. I”m giving it 6/10.

Oct 10

[Disclaimer: I”ve received a free copy of the book and I”m a friend of one of the authors. However, I can assure you that none of these things influenced my avaliation of this book]

I”ve just finished reading my copy of ASP.NET AJAX in Action. What can I say? If you”re after a book that has  several cool examples and lots of insights on the platform, then go ahead and buy it. It”s really a good book to have around, specially if you”re working with the platform (shameless plug again: if you prefer to read in PT, why don”t you take a look at my book available on the FCA site?). The authors have covered the client and server components in great detail, giving you lots of good advices on what you should and shouldn”t do.

The only thing I didn”t really like were the diagrams. I mean, the pictures are really cool, but I still think that relations between classes are better expressed with UML than with some custom diagrams (I”ve read several technical books and the tuth is that most of them don”t use UML, which is really shame…). Having said that, I”ll give this book a 9/10 for its content and accuracy (which really means that this is a “must have” book if you”re trying to learn the ASP.NET AJAX platform).

Sep 27

Book review: Windows Developer Power Tools

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[Disclaimer: I”ve received a free copy of this book for review, but I can assure you that this did not affect my review in any way]

I”ve just finished reading this huge book that presents several tools that will definitely make your life as a developer a lot easier. It”s really a huge book with more than 1000 pages! Inside, you”ll find several brief tutorials on several tools, most of them free. So, if you”re looking for a reference with several tools and short tutorials, this is the book you should buy. As you”d expect, the books doesn”t talk about any tool in-depth: its main objective is to present you the tools so that you can start using them quickly.

Even though I”ve enjoyed reading the book, there is one issue that I”d like to mention: some of the contents are outdated. For instance, ASP.NET AJAX is still called ATLAS and the book”s site doesn”t have an errata (maybe I”ve just missed it?).This is why I”m giving it a 7/10 (instead of an 8) for its content.

Sep 05

Book review: CLR via C#

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I”m assuming we”re all busy people, so I”ll start with the note: 9/10.

This  book is almost perfect. I believe i have 2 observations about it:

  • CLR hosting coverage is not as good as the rest of the book. anyway, we”re talking about a huge topic and there”s already a cool book about it;
  • I didn”t see any mention to the new async pattern based on events (here”s a msdn article that talks about it) which was introduced in .NET 2.0. Does that mean that it”s no longer used?

The rest of the book is really good. I mean, it probably has the best overview on the garbadge collecter I”ve ever seen and it”s full of small details that will really help you understand the CLR a lot better.

Probably the best book I”ve read in the last months.

Jul 22

Book review: Don''t make me think

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This is really a cool book by Steve Krug. Even though some years have passed since the release of the 1st edition, this second one maintains the level and adds 3 new chapters. The book is very well written and has lots of good advices. Another thing: it”s short and you can read it in one or two evenings (i needed two, but I”m a slow reader 🙂 ,,). If ou haven”t read it, then get a copy and read it right now! I”m giving it a 9/10 🙂

Jul 03

Protected: Book review: Designing Interactions

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Jun 21

Book review: The non-designer''s design book

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This short book is appropriate for everyone who needs to learn some basics about the principles of design. After presenting the basic principles, the author gives lots of examples that show how to improve some bad design examples. Since it”s a short book, you”ll be able to read it in 2 days. If you”re like me, you”ll want to read this book :,,)

My note: 6/10.

Jun 04

Book review: Customizing the Common Language runtime

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I”ve finished reading this excellent book a few months ago. Only now i”ve noticed that I didn”t blog about it. It”s time to correct this :,,).

If you want to know more about the CLR and how you can customize it, then you need this book. Written by Steven Pratschner, this book will give you all the indepth knowledge you need to host the CLR, use application domains effectively, build an app that has plugins, understand and customize the way assemblies are loaded, etc, etc.

It”s true that most .NET programmers won”t need to know many of the things described on this book. On the other hand, if you”re really into .NET, then you must have this book in your shelf.

May 19

Still about Petzold''s book

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It seems like Jeff”s post”s ripples haven”t stopped yet. Today, I”ve read Eric”s post on the subject. Even though he”s really a smart guy, I think that this time he”s wrong. According to his post, Petzold”s book will give you a deep understanding of WPF. Well, as I”ve said before, Pezold is good and there really is some content on his book.

In 2007, i think that it”s fair to say that UML class diagrams are a must if you want to show hierarchies. That doesn”t happened in Petzold”s book. Thorough concise writing is needed in modern technical books. Again, I don”t see that in his last book. Finaly,  I can”t say how much I agree with Matt”s coment:

“(…)

A book can be full of “deep understanding”. But you can only gain that understanding if you are actually able to read the book.

I usually agree with you Eric but this is not so much about the technical content as much as it is about the writing style. Petzold”s other books were never like this. This one was very poorly written and is a really “yawner” even for those of us who seek deep understanding.”

And I still haven”t forgotten about Petzold”s guesses on how things are implemented internally as if there”s no Reflector

Apr 25

Book review: WPF Unleashed

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Yesterday I”ve finished reading Adam Nathan”s WPF Unleashed. What can I say that Jeff hasn”t already said?

Apr 16

Book review: Applications = Code + Markup

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This is the last book written by Charles Petzold. Before proceeding, let me assure you one thing: Petzold is good, real good. No doubt about it. Now, the book review…well, I”m disapointed with it. I”ve been following Petzold”s work for a long  time. I”ve read at least 4 books written by him, so you can say that I”ve enjoyed his previous work. However, I don”t like this book. And why don”t I like it? well, for starters, it”s a bit boring. Too many words to explain WPF”s concepts, no cool graphics showing the results of the demo apps (which is really weird on a WPF book) and…too many guessings! What do I mean with “too many guessings”? well, there are several places where the author tries to guess how something (in WPF) is implemented or  gives his opinion on how he would do it. I”m not sure about you, but when I need to check the internals,i just open Reflector and see how it”s done. After all,we”re in 2007, right?

Would I recommend this book? hum…I”m sorry, but the answer is no. I”m giving it 5/10 because it”s a Petzold book (if I had read it without knowing the author”s name, i wouldn”t have been so “nice”).

Apr 16

Book Review: C++CLI The Visual C++ Language for NET

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This book is what you want if you”re after a book that will get you up to speed in C++CLI. Even though I haven”t done any programming in C++ for (at least) 4 years, I was able to follow the book without any problems. The only thing that could be improved was the chapter on interop: nothing would be lost if it had a couple more pages :,,) . Id” give it 7/10.

Apr 16

Book review: Marley and Me

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This was another of the books I”ve manager to read last week. If you love pets (dogs, in this case) and you”re after a funny, relaxing book, this is it! The book is about Marley, a Labrador retriever, which the author bought still young. The idea was that Marley would help him (and his wife) preparing for parenthood. Unfortunately, Marley is  a “special” retriever since it doesn”t show any of their known characteristics. All in all, I”d give it 7 (in 10).

Apr 16

Book review: The old new thing

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During my last vacations, I was able to catch up on my reading list and I”ve managed to read several books. The Old New Thing was one of those and I must say that it is simply great! Raymond Chen knows lots of cool stuff and the book can be seen as a more elaborated version of his blog.

Even though most of the code shown is “unmanaged”, it”s really easy to follow and I can garantee you that it”ll help you understand why windows works the the way it does. I must say that I really liked his writing style and the Windows 95 stories are simply great! If you have the time (and the money) and you need to know more about windows, then go ahead and order your copy today.

Mar 20

As I”ve said before, I”ve written a book (portuguese only) about ASP.NET AJAX. After waiting for a long time, it seems like the book is out! (unfortunately, there”s no direct link for a complete page because they keep on insisting on using iframes. if you want to get all the info about it, you”ll have to go to their main site and search for the book).

I”d like to thank all that have contributed to the book (specially Joao Cardoso, which did a lot of reviewing and gave me lot of feedback). btw, do keep an eye on the FCA web site because they will be updating the site with the code and errata (yes, unfortunately there are one or two things which changed after I”ve delivered the final draft).