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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 1949 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Understanding Networked Applications
David Messerschmitt
1 55860 537 1
Morgan Kaufmann
Ian Bolland
Appeared in:
This book aims to provide an overview of modern computing and communications technologies to non-technical readers. The author has used it as a textbook for undergraduate and graduate courses in networked applications that he has given to students with backgrounds in humanities, social sciences, information sciences and business studies. The author's aim is to give the reader enough of a background to enable him to work with IT specialists and understand what they are talking about.

It starts by discussing the applications of networked computing, using examples of applications supporting the operation of some hypothetical companies, such as books4u and flowers4u. It continues with an overview of the computing and communications industries and of the economic and legal factors which influence networked applications. Finally it covers application architecture, design and development and the supporting infrastructure.

Coverage is intentionally broad rather than deep; for example databases are covered in 7 pages, transaction processing in 8 and OO in 13. To compress the coverage into these limits, the material necessarily has to be simplified radically. The author does a good job of selecting his material. His explanations are clear and concise and are supported with plausible analogies and examples.

In summary, I think that this book does a good job of meeting the needs of its target audience, but that this group will include few, if any, ACCU members.