[>] Beginning SQL Server 2000 for Visual Basic Developers
Beginning SQL Server 2000 for Visual Basic Developers is targeted at intermediate to experienced VB developers craving to learn more about how to utilize SQL Server 2000. This book is the best introduction I have read on this topic in a long time. Familiarity with the concept of databases is recommended before you start, but standard "get this book" cliches apply nonetheless.

The first few chapters are primers, where the basic knowledge about SQL Server 2000's features and installation, and relational database design. The book is based on the progression of a project, and this project is outlined as well. If you feel comfortable with these topics, you may choose to glance at them quickly and then skip them, but for novice database users
the information is important. The most important tool, SQL Server's Query Analyzer, is covered in its own chapter.

Database essentials are covered thorougly when you learn how to connect to the database and query, modify and delete your data. The learning project is extended as knowledge accumulates, and maintains a high professional standard all the way.

No database book seems to complete without mentioning XML, and this one is no exception. SQL Server 2000 offers native XML and web support, the basics of which are covered here. You should be familiar with XML to fully enjoy this section. Another SQL Server feature, although not as frequently used as XML, is the English Query module. Allowing for natural language queries entered by the user, English Query can add a certain elegance to your applications.

For most VB developers, database access means ADO. The ADO object model is covered in one of the appendices, but is also the corner stone of the entire learning project. Reading this book should get you quite familiar with ADO.

The author presents the information in a clear and concise manner, and takes great care in being exhaustive in his explanations. I never felt that any part of a process were left unexplained or implied; when you don't have to skip back and forth to get the meaning of a paragraph, reading becomes all the more enjoyable.

In the introduction, the book is presented as a book for experienced VB developers with or without database experience. The basics of relational database design are covered in one of the first chapters, but this will probably not be enough for inexperienced database developers. The design phase of a database project is as important as the implementation, but the author focuses more on the latter throughout the book. A good foundation in relational database theory may prove necessary before the knowledge gained from this book can be correctly applied.

Conclusion: a good book if you want to get to know SQL Server 2000, but get some background on databases before you start.
[>] Inside XML
Inside XML guides the reader through XML, covering everything you need to get up-and-running with an XML application. Except for good VB examples. The author decided to go with Java/Javascript -- a fair choice in itself, but it's not the right one for VB developers.
[>] Cryptography for Visual Basic
This book is targeting the CryptoAPI, a Windows interface to cryptography. In my opinion, the coverage is fair, but not what you would expect from this kind of book. At least it wasn't what I had expected. If you want to read about cryptography, chances are you're better off with another book.
[>] Practical Standards for Microsoft Visual Basic
Structured development procedures are vital to produce quality source code; equally so in Visual Basic as in other programming languages. With this book, James D. Foxall tries to endorse his kind of structured development. Perhaps he succeeds. When I first read the book, however, my immediate reaction was "What?!". It was not a good sign.
[>] Applying COM+
Applying COM+ aims at uncovering the details of COM+ (and its predecessor, COM), explaining the platform on which COM+ components are based. For Visual Basic developers, this approach is somewhat counter productive, as Visual Basic itself hides COM's implementation details from the developer. Very little of what is covered in this book is accessible in Visual Basic today. Hopefully, that will change in the near future, and having read this book may prove useful yet.
[>] Visual Menu Editor
Although functional, Visual Basic's integrated menu editor has been a sore spot for VB developers since version 1.0. The lack of visual guidelines has made newcomers cry out for better alternatives.
[>] Professional SQL Server 7.0 Programming
Professional SQL Server 7.0 Programming is not about Visual Basic. It focuses on SQL Server 7.0 and SQL in general, and doesn't concern itself with what programming languages you want to use. If you want to learn how to use Visual Basic's database features with SQL Server, this is clearly not the book.
[>] Professional Visual Basic 6 XML
James Britt and Teun Duynstee, the authors of Professional Visual Basic 6 XML, do a good job of outlining the XML universe. They guide you through the myriad of different standards, proposals, and just good ideas concerning the specification and use of XML.
[>] HTML Help Workshop
The HTML Help Workshop is a basic text editor (allowing you to load HTML) and help compiler. It has no advanced HTML authoring abilities, and no specific Visual Basic options. It's clear that Microsoft has left the market wide open for third party software.
[>] InstallShield
InstallShield has long been the industry's most popular installation utility, with good reason. A powerful scripting language combined with helpful wizards and templates creates a good environment for deploying your application.
[>] Introduction to Algorithms
If you had to buy just one text on algorithms, Introduction to Algorithms is a magnificent choice. The book begins by considering the mathematical foundations of the analysis of algorithms and maintains this mathematical rigor throughout the work. The tools developed in these opening sections are then applied to sorting, data structures, graphs, and a variety of selected algorithms including computational geometry, string algorithms, parallel models of computation, fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), and more.
[>] Applied Cryptography
Applied Cryptography is a good introduction to encryption technology. As a first-time cryptography reader, I found the book easy to understand and well written, although a few chapters might require you to read them through two or three times before you understand what it says.
[>] Visual Basic 5.0 Programmer's Guide to the Win32 API
The fans of Daniel Appleman, knowing him from the legendary Visual Basic Programmer's Guide to the Windows API, get what they expected with this updated version of his API documentation. It is the Win32 API bible, looking at the internals of Windows with the VB programmer's glasses.