Books are good as they bring you knowledge. For knowledge, to be valuable - it has to be up-to-date.
As technology is evolving all the time, technology can change in a year that much, that books published a year ago may be totally outdated. Especially if you consider the time passed between actual writing the book and publishing it (it may take few months).
That’s why I like MEAPs / RAW versions. What are those?
Some publishing houses do publish books even before they are complete. Yes, you’ve read it right - you can buy a book and have access to the part that is declared as already finished. Your book will be updated every few months until it’s finished. Actually that idea is awesome, as you have access to all the materials "when they are still warm" :) Obviously, this model works only for e-books as it doesn’t make sense for paper ones.
All the books I describe below (this post and future ones) can be found on one of following sources:
They are all available in e-book versions (huge majority in Kindle’s mobi format) and some of them may still remain in MEAP /RAW stage (so be warned).
SOA Patterns - Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz, Eric Bruno, Udi Dahan
Very nice, high-level look on SOA paradigm. Even if it’s still MEAP, it’s already detailed and descriptive (in a pattern-oriented way). It’s great if you want to look at SOA from architect’s perspective, not programmer’s one. Basic knowledge of UML 2.1 is recommended.
Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software - Eric Evans
It’s a great book, that have just recently been published in Kindle format as well. Don’t you own Kindle yet? That’s a shame, you seriously should fix that ASAP :) Anyway, back to the book: design is absolutely critical for proper software development, but frankly speaking, it’s really hard to find a good, valuable book about design. Why? Many people claim that mastering design is just the matter of practice - well, yes and no. Experience is critical, but when you’re gaining that, it’s great to avoid errors you could avoid. If you’re planning to read one book on design, pick that one (unless you haven’t read “Design Patterns” yet - if you didn’t, go read it NOW!).
Introducing HTML5 - Bruce Lawson, Remy Sharp
HTML5 is coming. No, it’s already here. No-one really cares that the standard hasn’t been formally approved yet. It has several major pluses: every browser creating vendor is struggling to get more and more compliant with HTML5, it will work on PCs (regardless of OS) and mobile platforms (regardless of OS as well…). It’s fast, productive and doesn’t rely on hardware support (like Silverlight). We can’t be sure HTML5 will win (aka become a dominant client-side technology), but it has quite a nice chance, so don’t sleep it through.