Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf
This book is every bit its title: Concise, targeted chapters getting right to the gist of a topic. Furthermore, the chapters are written by some of the sharpest folks in the software industry -- they know a thing or three and are great authors who've written clear, understandable pieces. The book is based on the No Fluff, Just Stuff Symposium series (ww.nofluffjuststuff.com) in which the authors travel around North America giving intense multi-day seminars.
The book's first chapter, "Real World Web Services" by Scott Davis, sets the tone for the rest of the book: a nice walkthrough of Service-Oriented Architeture, cutting through all the hype surrounding SOA and doing a great job of explaining it in five short paragraphs. Davis moves on to more detail on web services, walking the reader through SOAP, REST, and JSON.
The other chapters follow the same line with clear background and focused discussion on the most important parts of the topic. You can read about instrumenting software, using code coverage, or even dealing with CSS from a developer's perspective. Much of the book's code is Java-centric, but the concepts are important and similar across platforms, so any developer (even a .NET geek like me) can get a lot out of the book.
Additionally, the book's not solely focused on pure code. Several chapters highlight process or methodology topics, like Jared Richardson's "The Cornerstone of a Great Shop" which discusses build processes, or Venkat Subramaniam's "From Fragility to Agility: Methodologies and Practices" which hits the main points of rolling into agile development.
This book is a terrific read. It's concise, it's detailed, it's well-written. Definitely a keeper for my bookshelf.
(See my standard review disclaimer)