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Microsoft Visual Studio 2010: A Beginner's Guide (McGraw-Hill Professional)
Author(s): Joe Mayo
Published: 2010, ISBN: 978-0-07-166895-8, 448 pages
Publisher (more . . .):  McGraw-Hill Professional



 Four out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: August, 2011
  Reviewer: Chris Rinow
       If only human mortality existed like a program with an infinite loop, that is, so we can repeat the task over and over until the correct iteration gets completed correctly -- time would not waste away unnecessarily. Life unfortunately does not allow for this type of limitless freedom. This reviewer certainly wishes the opportunity to read Joe Mayo's Microsoft Visual Studio 2010: A Beginner's Guide came along when starting out as a fledging programmer. The helpful content within certainly would have provided the BREAK out of the cyclical madness to progress to the next stage in this profession. With this book, all the basic tools and programming are presented to write code easier and quicker with the many aids available in the Visual Studio 2010 environment.

     To start, the writing style flows at a fast pace, not overly technical, and suitable to any beginner's liking. Concepts are picked up instantly. The instruction is thorough with nice transitions from topic to topic. The reader knows at all times the next topic to be covered. Screen shots, especially for steps in a wizard process, are amply supplied to the point where the images outrun the text so some flipping back and forth is required.

     It is nearly impossible to write a programming book without sample code. The exception is not broken here as the full sample code is available to download to supplement the abbreviated versions found in the text. The author has made a wise choice to offer both Visual Basic and C# and encourage ambidexterity, a valuable commodity in today's job market. Aside from a few mistakes, the code samples are pretty accurate. Advice to all new programmers is to follow along to gain hands on experience and work through some of the bugs (HINT: Clues can sometimes be found in the other programming language code). The sample code is not used to create an overall cumulative project at the end but builds in a repetitious manner newly discovered concepts. Each of the major template categories is covered: Silverlight, ASP.NET MVC, WPF, and Web Services. The ASP.NET discussion is very useful while the Silverlight chapter suffers a bit in content.

     For the true value of this book, this reviewer has anticipated instruction or new techniques in the following areas:

          1. Snippets - both prebuilt and customizable snippets are duly covered. These handy
one word shortcuts trigger common multi-line code to automatically write in the IDE. Except for special cases, a table could have been used to summarize the prebuilt snippets instead of going into, at times, unnecessary depth. Those saved pages could have been of greater benefit by exploring other subject material like debugging further.

          2. Extensibility / Add-In - a programmer can even write a program for the IDE. If a tool does not already exist in VS2010, it can be written as an add-in. How cool is this? A whole chapter is devoted to this fascinating topic.

          3. Macro - a program for a program to write duplicated code automatically. The paradox is astounding. This practice can definitely speed up the development process by addressing repetitive code.

          4. Debugging - great techniques are offered in this section. This part is the highlight of the entire book and will help tremendously in locating problems in code. Read, then read again, then reread.

     These accomplished objectives, of course, follow explanations about new features in the VS2010 edition, useful for any skill level. Bonus points in the book are credited for the custom template and project configurations sections.

     Overall, the book successfully targets the novice audience while reaching out to the intermediate crowd. It is a great supplement to have with a somewhat already established foundation in programming. As a personal preference, this reader recommends less programming instruction and more exploration with the IDE.
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