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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



 Five out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: August, 2011
  Reviewer: Rick Harrison
       This book is described as a Beginnerís Guide to Visual Studio. It is that surely, but also much more.

     Joe Mayo does a great job of describing all of the things that you need to know to get going with Visual Studio, and covers many of the nuances and difficulties that one is likely to discover while working through the learning curve for this tool. As a software consultant, I personally have been using Visual Studio for quite a few years now, so the first few chapters were mainly reviewing things I already know. But as I was reading the book, I often remembered how I came to learn (often painfully) about the particular feature or difficulty that Joe was describing. The learning experience would have been much faster and more comfortable for me if his book had been available when I was first starting out.

     In spite of my substantial experience with Visual Studio, even the first few chapters did contain quite a few useful tips, clarifications and information about new features that, though I may have heard of them, I had never really looked into or used them. This was especially true in the chapters on Debugging with Visual Studio and Working with Data. I learned more about some features of the debugger like IntelliTrace and also some new ways to track and watch variables. I also very much enjoyed the introduction to LINQ to SQL, which helped clarify the syntax for me in spite of the fact that I have already used it in multiple projects.

     It really started getting interesting once the basics had been covered and went on to cover the various types of applications that Visual Studio helps one write. There is a whole chapter on writing ASP.NET MVC (Model View Controller) applications, which was extremely enlightening. I have never actually used MVC. Iíve read articles on it before, but it never really made sense to me until I read this chapter. The basics of how and why were fully described in Joeís Mayoís classic, straightforward style. It was just what I, as a 25 year veteran of software development, needed. Yet I am sure that a relatively green programmer would find it just as clear and easy to follow as I did.

     The chapters on WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) are great references for demystifying these areas. The book even includes appendices to cover XML and XAML, just to make sure no student is left behind!

     What really surprised me was when, in a book for beginners, he went into how to create custom code templates and snippets, not to mention writing plug-inís for Visual Studio. These are not subjects that I would normally consider part of a beginnerís book on Visual Studio, and yet they were covered in a way that even a beginner could follow.

     This is definitely a ďgetting startedĒ book as opposed to a deep reference book. It does not go into any one subject in any great detail. But it does give the reader enough to get going in each area covered. I find that once Iím moving on a project, there are ways to find the specific details that I need by digging into the Microsoft website, blogs and such. But it is often difficult to find good, well written tutorial information to get things going. When this is what Iím looking for, Iím always glad to find something from Joe Mayo on the subject -- this book was no exception.
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