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Search in Book Reviews

The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Guide to Client/Server and Intranet Development
Author:
David Linthicum
ISBN:
0 471 17467 X
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
526pp
Price:
£27-50
Reviewer:
Nigel Armstrong
Subject:
client server; internet
Appeared in:
11-1
The author is something of an authority on this subject, but from a practical rather than a theoretical point of view and this is reflected in this book, which has very little theory in it but a great deal of practical advice.

When I started reading it I hoped to learn something new about Client/Server development, in terms of design or architectural approaches. I learnt a lot, but not about such matters, which are covered only in passing. What this book is about is tools: how to choose them and how to use them. In essence, this book is like a collection of lots of magazine reviews of various types of tools, with the addition of some necessary background material. The author writes for a number of magazines, soI would not be surprised if he had not covered some of the material in that form elsewhere previously.

There is a degree of variation in quality in the author's assessment of the tools he covers. Generally you can tell which ones he has used in anger because he mentions some idiosyncrasy that he has stumbled over. Whereas for some tools one might suspect that he has done little more than visit a web site since the descriptions sound like paraphrases of sales literature.

This book's main strength lies in its coverage. A lot of types of tools are discussed and within each category the most popular products are identified and discussed. If you are looking to set up a new development or re- architecting or porting an existing system, I think this book is well worth reading. The choice of tools can help make or break a project and can be a significant proportion of the cost as well, so it is worth taking some time over. Linthicum takes great pains to stress that you should not simply follow his recommendations but evaluate different products on the basis of your own requirements. He points out many of the pitfalls you may encounter in taking particular approaches.

My niggles with this book are fairly few: he has a love of jargon and the buzz-phrase (he talks about 'desirements', for example) and like too many (particularly American) writers he tends to skirt controversial issues, not even mentioning that there are security issues about ActiveX in browsers, for example. (However perhaps this is my prejudice, as I find any mention of Microsoft that is not in some way negative to be irritating). The verdict then is a qualified thumbs-up.