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MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-515): Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
Author(s): Tony Northrup and Mike Snell
Published: 2010, ISBN: 978-0-596-15364-9, pages: 1008
Publisher (more . . .)Microsoft Press available via O'Reilly
 

 

   
 
 Review
 

 

 Four out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: May, 2011
  Reviewer: Fred Barga
 
       To set the ground work and hopefully clear up any misconceptions, this book is written for the purpose of aiding the reader / developer in their pursuit of passing the Microsoft MCTS Exam 70-515. It is intended to provide the information (whole or in part) that will meet the requirements of the exam. Now with all this said I will be addressing the book as a tool to help understand the skills required for ASP.NET development using Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0.

     I have read through several Microsoft books and I’ve been fortunate enough to have received two MCTS certifications. With this said I will say that this book follows closely to the standard format of Microsoft Certification books and the way they systematically walk you thought the process of understanding their tools (Visual Studio) and the language (.NET Framework 4.0).

     Each chapter, section, and topic is addressed with an overview and how the functionality is applied. It is accompanied with sample code; both Visual Basic and C#. Also very beneficial are the comments, hints, warnings, and other pieces of added information is thrown in to help understand the topic. The use of practice exams and exercises help to solidify the material in your mind.

     The book is generally divided into 2 sections; the first 8 chapters are more of the standard ASP.NET development, using .NET Framework 4.0. The information of these chapters is very similar to that found in previous ASP.NET Web Application Development books (.NET Framework 2.0 and 3.5). They are very thorough in these chapters to walk through each of the topics, providing understandable step by step approaches.

     Chapters 9 through 14 address the subjects that were added in the later two releases (.NET Framework 3.5 and .NET Framework 4.0). These are the chapters that the developer of .NET Framework 2.0 will find the most rewarding. I would not recommend that a seasoned .NET 2.0 developer bypass the first 8 chapters but the last 6 chapters are where they will find the greatest improvements to the language. In these chapters is covered AJAX & jQuery (chap. 9), WCF web services (chap. 10), LINQ (chap. 11), Data Controls (chap. 12), Authentication (chap. 13), and MVC 2 (chap. 14). I know that most will say that this information is covered in .NET Framework 3.5 but you’ll find great improvements over what was provided then in the .NET Framework 4.0.

     I will have to say that I highly recommend this book to the seasoned and to the new .NET developer. It will serve as a learning tool, a study guide, and as a fall-back book; providing references as you are developing new applications and need a reminder.

     What I missed in the book is that it does not cover the latest MVC 3 which is a solid part of today’s .NET 4.0 development. It would be nice to have the book updated to support this newer technology. And Entity Framework is also touched only lightly. I know that books have been written on this subject alone but I think they could have provided more.

     Another integral part of the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 is Silverlight / WPF. This was not addressed at all. But this is my sour grapes and not to detour from the quality of the book.


Fred Barga is an experienced C# ASP.NET developer with over 5 years .NET experience.  He has MCTS certifications in 2.0 and 3.5 Web Applications development and currently working with .NET Framework 4.0.  He is a strong supporter of Visual Studio User Groups and their impact in the rapidly changing .NET development environment.
   
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