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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:
Smart Card Handbook 2nd edition
Author:
Rankel&Effing
ISBN:
0 471 98875 8
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
746pp
Price:
£75
Reviewer:
Chris Hills
Subject:
internals and hardware
Appeared in:
14-2
At 750 pages this edition is nearly twice the size of the last one. What has changed? Basically not a great deal other than more depth and detail over a wider range. Of course it has also been revised where things have changed. As any one in the smart card industry knows you must work to the standards. This book is the commentary and explanation on the standards. I still tend to resort to this book before I look at 7816.

I took the book with me to a small sub-contract development team one afternoon. Fifteen minutes with this book solved a problem that they have been working on for a couple of days. As they say it is easy when it is explained to you. This book has the explanations.

The book not only covers the usual 7816 commands and protocols, but also the physical and electrical properties, cryptography and key management, production and test and even terminals. There is not a line of source code in it but there is a simulator and other information that is available from the authors' web site.

For small development teams and those new to smart cards there is a comprehensive set of appendices. Listing not only the commands, but also all the standards, the tools (and providers) in fact all the contacts you could wish for. There is also a list of the most common smart card specs and their manufacturers.

When I reviewed the last edition I said 'simple enough for beginners, comprehensive enough for developers' and 'the technical smart card handbook against which all others will be measured'. The standard has got a lot higher, if you work with smart cards then buy it! Highly recommended.