Most helpful critical review
Half-decent combo book on AD and scripting
on August 8, 2003
Update: I finished reading the book and though I still basically feel the same about the AD part, I have found that the scripting part is not too bad *IF* you have some prior scripting/programming experience (which I do), particularly with VB or VBS (which I do). Some of the scripts I have been able to modify and use in my job as a sys admin. Now, overall, I will bump my rating up from 2 stars to 3 stars. $31.47 with free shipping is not a bad deal for a half-decent book on AD with the bonus of several hundred pages on scripting. I guess you canï¿½t have your cake and eat it too ï¿½ either you get a full-fledged AD book and a separate scripting book or you get this one and it does a half-decent job covering both topics. Additionally, the author, Robbie Allen, does respond to questions via e-mail in a prompt manner.
First off, this book is not for beginners. Do not buy this book if you have no experience with or knowledge of Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Active Directory. That said, here is my review:
I'm more than 2/3 done reading this book and so far I cannot recommend it. The book is not practical enough for a real sys admin to use. For example, the section on sites mentions site transitivity a few times, but no where in that section could I find any instructions on how to actually activate or deactivate that feature. After researching the issue myself, I found that all there is to that is a simple check box. Also, the sections on replication, GCs, and DNS needs more "meat."
A few of the examples used in the book are just totally absurd and there are numerous little typographical errors throughout. Also, the ordering of the chapters are counterintuitive and some topics, such as GPOs, are covered in different, non-sequential, chapters of the book (the author does explain why that was done).
Right now I am finishing up the scripting section and have found numerous inconsistencies with the sample code and the references to it. In one example, the author states that the code will update phone numbers while the code is actually updating (or attempts to update) pager numbers. Contrary to the author's statement that you don't need previous programming experience to learn scripting with this book, some of the examples involve functions and other programming techniques that are way too advanced for novice scripters.
If you want a practical book on AD, then get one geared towards MCSE certification - probably from Sybex. I even found the old Exam Cram book on AD to be rather useful and informative. I think the main goal of this book was to help the reader design an AD infrastructure, but it failed at that, as there was not enough "meat" in the book to cover that, and some of the examples were too absurd. The only part of the book that I did like was its decent explanation of AD object and attribute classes.
As for the scripting part, it's mediocre thus far. I've been supplementing that with the very well written and easy to follow Windows 2000 Scripting Guide, (...).