Friday, April 4, 2014

My Review on "Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 - Expert Development Cookbook"

Recipe does not mean just a preparation methodology or a tiny guideline to perform something. The term has a broader sense which helps the reader to mix appropriate contents and to come up with a fascinated product or something which the recipe has been crafted for.

Once again I felt the definition while going through the book named “Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 Expert Development Cookbookby Mr. Abhishek Sur.  This post is envisioned to give a neutral feedback about the book. From sources I came to know that Abhishek has started writing another title for VS 2013. Hope, next title will be updated with some more useful tips including the ones I am going to propose.

First, let me introduce the recipes Abhishek crafted chapter wise with a critique from my side. 

The book is organized in a professional manner. The following salient things I found professional and a must read for the developers.
a.       In each and every junction points, important and related reference links are mentioned.
b.      If sample programs are there, download links has been specified.
c.       “What to do” sections are properly presented. Why I am saying, these are not just walk - troughs. Elementary concept notes are also there with screen shots.
d.      How it works sections make that book unique.

First chapter focused purely on Visual Studio IDE 2012 features. Author very properly articulated the features. Most attractive highlights of the chapter I found to be mentioned, which is very important for a reader, are:
a.       This chapter, in overall is not only giving a brief about VSTS 2012, but it is also giving views to reader to make them productive. Hats OFF!!!
b.      The reader should make their hand dirty after going through this chapter. (My opinion)

Second chapter, focused on internal gems of CLS supported languages. I liked the way author has presented page number 51 to page number 123. I have gone through at least 12 to 15 books on Dot Net/C# (First to last and line by line). I have never got a write up on assembly like this. Not to exaggerate, see the following justifications towards my statement
a.     Most of the books start with purely theoretical discussion on assembly. Here, it is started with ildasm.exe. A very practical approach. From a developer’s perspective; it gives a better impact.
b.      Next, “How to do section” properly articulated the way to read and understand the actual content of a program module using “dumbin.exe”. Don’t you think this is another feather to the cap?
c.       Common theoretical things like Private/public or shared assemblies are also presented as a recipe and rather than as a good tutorial.
d.      Strong assembly creation or using visual studio command prompt efficiently is also another fantastic feature of the chapter.
e.      The best out of this chapter is discussion on Obfuscation. I really admired while going through it line by line. Recalling the days to surf net and understanding obfuscation where more than 80 % was a waste.
f.        Overall, this is a chapter focussed and successfully delivered the most important things for a Dot Net programmer, team leads and progressive project managers. (In my opinion, a software project manager should familiar with the technologies, that’s why I have used the adjective).
g.       Last point, which I must mention is the section he termed as “Solutions to 10 common mistakes made by developers while writing code”. The problems and solutions both are not written, it a designed recipe.
Third Chapter, Threading and Asynchronous Patterns. The presentation and program samples are really fantastic. Properly dipped cup of tea; Mutex, thread, background worker etc made asynchronous programming easier. Author took only real world samples and presented. It is considered that the reader has basic computer science understanding.

“ASP.NET enhancements” is the fourth pillar of the book. Author tried to highlight most important tricks a developer can apply. Industry is talking about the responsive web design in web application and RIA is mandatory. Web workers and web socket discussion was expected and that is discussed. But, in my opinion, the discussion could be made longer. Or (I don’t know) that is there in the second edition!!!   As a whole HTML5, CSS3, JQuery and ASP.NET made a good mix.

Fifth chapter focussed on WPF enhancements but basics of WPF architecture and MVVM pattern has been explained properly. As a senior programmer I prefer to have more discussion on “How it works” rather than “How to Do?”. Here both have been discussed and a proper mix to make that tasty.

Sixth chapter made to highlight touch sensitive device management. The approach I liked is starting with API architecture. A serious new bee can grasp the chapter, though the chapter has been written for experienced developers. The focus is not only to handle touch sensitive application development using HTML/CSS/JavaScript library, but also to design another library for WinJS.

Seventh chapter dealt communication with application and devices and sharing data between applications. It’s really a topic of interest. The chapter explained most of the standard APIs using WinRT library. Windows 8 style application development means working with Web Authentication Broker API. Yes, author didn’t forget to put that as an article.

As a whole, the book is a professionally managed one with most of the answers of a developer explained.

The things I missed in the book are:
1.       Similar types of explanations for WCF and Windows Workflow Foundation 4.5
2.       LINQ and Entity Framework

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