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Integration-Ready Architecture and Design: 

Software Engineering with XML, Java, .NET, Wireless, Speech, and Knowledge Technologies

Jeff Zhuk, Cambridge University Press, 2004, $75.00, ISBN: 0521525837

Advances in microelectronics bring a variety of gadgets. Applications running on these require constant innovation and never-ending learning from programmers. We are always lagging behind the new technologies, programming languages, and networking concepts. Jeff Zhuk’s book tries to complete an impossible mission by bringing together all of the current programming concepts used in wired and wireless networks. Zhuk basically focuses on Java and XML technologies. Other tools, such as Perl, sockets, and CGI, are not touched upon. Nevertheless, for those familiar with Java and XML, this is a good guide for surviving in the modern world of programming.

Zhuk focuses on the concepts of integration-ready components and collaborative engineering. The first two chapters introduce the basic ideas. Some comments, however, may look controversial. For example, the author concludes that pure managers avoid specifics, and true leaders should invest time and effort in learning the field. This may be true for a project leader. In a broader sense, it all depends on what you manage and at which level.

Chapters 3 through 7 lay the foundation for this book, providing examples of integration-ready components. Knowledge technologies are also introduced. Chapters 8 through 12 discuss the wireless network applications. These chapters touch on WAP, JavaCard, J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition), and speech technologies. The last two chapters cover integration with knowledge and distributed lives. In each chapter, code segments illustrate the programming techniques. Additionally, there are three long appendices, with a total of about 150 pages, for Java, XML, and their source examples.

This book is ambitious in covering most topics in modern network programming and embedded programming using Java and XML. As a result, however, there is no room for introductory material. If you have no prior programming experience in those fields, you will find this book very hard to digest.

Finally, I would suggest that for this book, as for every computer-related book, there should be a glossary of terms. The computer industry is notorious for its abuse of acronyms. In this book, for example, on page 367, there is a reference to “DTMF,” and I cannot find its full name in the index. Also, more comprehensive references would be desirable.—R. S. Chang


PHP5 and MySQL Bible

Tim Converse, Joyce Park, Clark Morgan Wiley, 2004, $49.99, ISBN: 0764557467

At first glance, I was pleased that this was part of the generally thorough Bible series from Wiley. Thus far, all the books in this series I’ve seen have been decent bibles, although that title is a misnomer. A better series title might be “encyclopedia,” or “desk reference,” since that is really what they are. For example, while struggling with scripting a form in Microsoft FrontPage, the FrontPage Bible provided just what I needed, or a quick pointer to it. In this respect, this book on PHP5 and MySQL is no different.

Where you could quibble about this book is in who the intended audience is supposed to be. It is certainly not the expert, who is working beyond most of the material and who would certainly be conversant in the source reference materials. Nor would it be the absolute novice, for whom a 1,000-page tome (literally, yes) is overwhelming. This material is most suitable for the vast middle: those who have already dabbled and who are attempting to raise their proficiency level.

For this audience, which is narrower than that claimed by the publisher, I cannot quibble about the value of this book. I found the discussions of PHP5 parsing to be accurate, and the explanation of error handling is adequate. The object model implementation is discussed in just enough detail to be useful (and little more). MySQL installation, in fact all installation aspects, is inadequately covered, but this book should not be used for that purpose. On the other hand, there are many useful tips to be found for the SQL side of applications. A few completed, if simple, apps are included, with full discussion. This book is a useful desk reference for the intermediate developer.—David Bellin

Reprinted from Computing Reviews, © 2005 ACM,


Originally published in Queue vol. 3, no. 2
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