Book Reviews

One of our members regularly writes reviews for IT related books. He's graciously offered to let us host them on our web site. These books and others all become part of the Library of LUV ( also known as "LoL"). If you're interested in borrowing one of these books, put your name on the wiki page and come to one of our regular Tuesday meetings. If you have books you no longer need that may be of interest to our members, you can add them to the LoL by putting them on the wiki page.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide 5th edn.

David Flanagan: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide 5th edn.; ISBN 978-0-596-10199-2; Published by O'Reilly, 994 pp., RRP AU$ 85

The Definitive Guide has been a pre-eminent JavaScript resource since it was first released in 1996 and is currently in its fifth edition, which includes some significant changes in the JavaScript landscape. As the author notes,

JavaScript: The Good Parts

Douglas Crockford: JavaScript: The Good Parts; ISBN 878-0-596-51774-8; Published by O'Reilly, 153 pp., RRP AU$ 65

Shelley Powers, in Learning JavaScript, describes JavaScript as two languages in one: "the first is a friendly, easy-to-use scripting language built into web browsers and other applications, offering a range of functions such as form validation and … drop-down menus … the second … is a mature, full-featured, carefully constrained, object-based language, which does require more in-depth understanding".

Pro JavaScript Design Patterns

Ross Harmes and Dustin Diaz: Pro JavaScript Design Patterns; ISBN 978-1-59059-908-2; Published by Apress, 269 pp., RRP AU$ 79.95

Programmers and developers who are skilled in C-based languages find it "fairly easy, for instance, to take a pattern implemented in Java and convert it to C++. The same cannot be said of JavaScript. While all the same capabilities exist, they are often not official parts of the language and must be emulated through some obscure tricks and unintuitive techniques. … This book collects and documents those tricks and techniques".

Network Warrior

Gary Donahue: Network Warrior; ISBN 978-0-596-10151-1; Published by O'Reilly, 576 pp., RRP AU$ 95

Published in 2007 Network Warrior is still an outstanding network administration reference and guide. The book carries the sub-title, Everything you need to know that wasn't on the CCNA Exam; but that does not mean it is yet another certification text. The "goal in writing Network Warrior is to explain complex ideas in an easy-to-understand manner".

Scribus: The Official Manual

Pittman, Schafer, et al.: Scribus: The Official Manual; ISBN 978-0-9560780-0-1; Published by FLES Books, 439 pp., RRP AU$

Scribus Open Source Desktop Publishing The Official Manual is the full title, but it seems to be more commonly referred to as Scribus: The Official Manual or simply Scribus Manual. The bastard title is even more brief: Scribus.

Cloud Application Architectures

George Reese: Cloud Application Architectures; ISBN 978-0-596-15636-7; Published by O'Reilly, 189 pp., RRP AU$ 65

The author observes, "To many people, the term cloud computing has the feel of a buzzword", and argues that, even though the term "is used in many discordant contexts", there are three criteria that determine whether a particular service is a cloud service:

Exploring Artificial Intelligence in the New Millennium

Ed. G. Lakemeyer and B. Nebel: Exploring Artificial Intelligence in the New Millennium; ISBN 1-55860-511-7; Published by Morgan Kaufamann, 404 pp., RRP AU$

This text contains thirteen papers presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence 2001 (IJCAI-01). The preface says, "[at the beginning of the new millennium] there are so many subareas in AI—with their own conferences and journals—that it is hard to keep track of what is going on.

The Book of Inkscape

Dmitry Kirsanov: The Book of Inkscape; ISBN 978-1-59327-181-7; Published by No Starch Press, 448 pp., RRP AU$ 71.95

The Book of Inkscape carries a sub-title, The Definitive Guide to the Free Graphics Editor, which is a fair description; it is comprehensive, detailed, and supported by annotated illustrations. The typographic design is pleasing, and the reader does not become bogged down in tech-speak. Discussions of other vector-based applications (PostScript, PDF, Adobe AI, CorelDRAW, etc.) are interesting and informative.

Pro Linux System Administration

Turnbull, Lieverdink, and Matotek: Pro Linux System Administration; ISBN 978-1-4302-1912-5; Published by Apress, 1052 pp., RRP AU$ 79.95

An Australian production, Pro Linux System Administration is the work of James Turnbull, Peter Lieverdink, and Dennis Matotek (all Oz notables on the Linux scene). It is a very big book (1052 pp.), which—along with the term Pro in the title—might discourage users who feel they don't have sufficient knowledge. The primary audience is users who are running a 'system' (a set-up that involves two or more computers on a network involving print sharing and common access to the Internet) that uses a Microsoft Windows operating system. The book sets out to explain the FOSS (free open source software) alternative, which includes the Linux operating system. The book is not intended for novices or single-desktop users, but does not expect the reader to have more than a basic knowledge of an operating system, such as MS Windows. The authors explain: We wrote Pro Linux System Administration to help small and medium-sized businesses break the shackles of commercial software and to show how easy it is to implement free software alternatives. In this book we demonstrate how Linux and open source software helps business better control their technical direction and reduce their costs. No special background is required, and one does not even have to be Linux-literate: Pro Linux System Administration walks the reader through a Linux installation, including all the software necessary for networking.

X3D: Extensible 3D Graphics for Web Authors

Don Brutzman and Leonard Daly: X3D: Extensible 3D Graphics for Web Authors; ISBN 978-0-12-088500-8; Published by Morgan Kaufmann, an imprint of Elsevier, 441 pp., RRP AU$ 110

Extensible 3D Graphics (X3D) is an XML-based development of the Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML), conceived in 1994 and which became an ISO standard in 1997. The authors of this book are remarkably well qualified and have produced a technically detailed description of X3D that does not assume any special background. As the title indicates it is specifically pitched at producing VR for the Web. In the preface an item, Reader background, says, "Prior experience in 3D graphics programming or XML authoring is helpful but not required to use this book. The creation of X3D scenes is presented with an emphasis on XML so that content production might appear familiar to Web authors. Many examples are developed as part of the book, and many more are available online."

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