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Exam Ref 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications
Author(s): William Penberthy
Published: 2013
Pages: 384
Print ISBN: 978-0-7356-7722-7
Publisher (more . . .)Microsoft Press


 Five out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: March, 2014
  Reviewer: Ken Hollister
       Think Concepts, Not Code

     Exam Ref 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications is written by William Penberthy and published by Microsoft Press. As the title implies, its purpose is to assist the reader in attaining a Microsoft certification in MVC 4. It is very similar to other titles in Microsoft’s Exam Ref series.

     This book is approximately 350 pages, and has a very structured layout. Chapters consist of core fundamental concepts, in the order that one would build a real-world application:

          • Designing Application Architecture
          • Designing the User Experience
          • Developing the User Experience
          • Troubleshooting and Debugging
          • Designing and Implementing Security

     Each of these chapters is divided into several different objectives, and concludes with a summary and review. Throughout the book, there are several useful tips to keep in mind when taking the exam.

     It is important to note that this book’s intended audience is developers who have had prior experience developing MVC applications (an exam reference is not the same thing as a Step-by-Step manual!). It has an extremely high-level approach, and focuses on understanding MVC concepts, not writing code. There are code samples, but not as many as one might expect.
Despite the concept-over-code focus, Exam Ref 70-486 is very thorough. Concepts are discussed in detail, and include many things developers skip or forget altogether. This is evident in Chapter 1, where ideas like separation of concern, scalability, distributed applications (including the role of Windows Azure), client-side vs. server-side processing, hybrid applications, and caching strategies are discussed; Chapter 4, which reviews the importance of debugging and testing (including unit testing, and mocks using the Fakes assembly); and Chapter 5, which talks about designing and implementing security.

     Penberthy is an experienced software consultant and teacher. His writing style is simple, straightforward, and easy to read. This as the excellent organization of this book, made it a pleasure to read, and helped identify areas that I needed to give extra attention to.

     Conclusion: Neophytes to MVC should pass on this book, and get an introductory manual. But for experienced MVC developers, Exam Ref 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications will prove to be a valuable resource.
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