Few books are written in isolation, and this book is no exception. I'd like to express my appreciation to everyone who has assisted me in the writing of this book, either by reviewing chapter drafts, offering suggestions, or just by encouraging me to keep going.
Acquisitions editor Jill Harry at Prentice Hall kept a firm grip on the reins from the start of the project and helped guide me through the process of writing a book. Likewise, development editor Jennifer Blackwell taught me some valuable lessons on the finer points of good writing style.
I had a great team of reviewers in Bernard Farrell, Beth Stearns, Madhu Siddalingaiah, Martin Westacott, Satadip Dutta, and Shane Griggs. Thanks to each of you for being so meticulous and for taking the time to answer my questions.
A big thank you to Ian Macfarlane for sharing his ideas on the book's structure and for being generous enough to review some of my chapters several times over.
I'd also like to thank Garry Downes, who pointed me in the direction of various articles, papers, and Web sites. Garry's input helped immensely in pulling together the ideas and concepts that make up this book.
I can't finish this acknowledgment without mentioning my parents, Sheila and Derek, and my sisters Jill and Ann. Although they are on the other side of the world, they still gave me heaps of encouragement by phone and email.
The final thank you is for my partner, Mary, who put up with an awful lot while I wrote this book but supported me all the way. Thanks, Mary, for your patience, support, and your keen grammatical eye.