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MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-503): Microsoft® .NET Framework 3.5 - Windows® Communication Foundation (PRO-Certification) Hardcover – 27 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (27 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735625654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735625655
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 4.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 483,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Bruce Johnson is a 25-year veteran of the computer industry with a passion for system design and development. He coauthored MCPD Self-Paced Training Kits for Exams 70-548 and 70-547.

Peter Madziak has 10+ years’ experience leading development teams and is an expert on service-oriented architecture and business process management.

Sara Morgan, MCSD, MCDBA, specializes in Web-based applications and the author of Building Intelligent .NET Applications: Agents, Data Mining, Rule-Based Systems, and Speech Processing.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dave Lowe on 17 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as study guide to help in preparation for the corresponding MCTS exam (70-503). The book provides a good overview of most of the important aspects of the WCF framework and is for the most part very clear. The two chapters on security really let this book down however, they are very badly constructed and explain the concepts very poorly. Security is a very important topic which is sure to feature highly on the exam and it is for this reason I have only given 3 stars. For those targeting the MTCS certification this book provides a good guide on what to study although for a much better explanation of the various security options within WCF (and for anyone wishing to learn WCF without specifically wanting to attain the MCTS certification) I would highly recommend Michele Leroux Bustamante's book Learning WCF: A Hands-on Guide.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K K on 30 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my MCTS preparation, this is an amazing book with loads of fundamentals and information that would require anybody to know in our day to day WCF framework development. I would recommend to all of those who are willing to go for MCTS.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Don't bother, use another book if you intend on passing the exam 18 May 2009
By Wiktor Szoltysek - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Computer Science books usually fall into one of three categories:
1] The truly rare gems , books that you read from beginning to end, they don't feel like a chore to read. I've come across a few such books -"Head First: Design Patterns" is one of them.
2] The books that aren't quite perfect -maybe the content is too dry, or the technical details are a bit off, but all in all , your time is not wasted reading them (or even skimming). You get some use out of it, and you learn something new. Finally, there is the last category.
3] The absolute bottom of the pile, books so bad and in-cohesive, that they leave you furious after having read the garbage in the first place.

After having purchased this book, to study for the 70-503 exam, I can state without a doubt in my mind that this book clearly falls in the 3rd category of books and should be avoided at all costs. There are much better books out there for studying for the WCF exam (even if they aren't official training kits), and as a reference guide this book is useless. Heck, you'd be better off just studying from MSDN. You WILL fail the exam if this book is your only study material.

Large chunks of the book are just copied directly from MSDN, specifically the instrumentation and security chapters. Even the same code examples are copied, as well as the general formatting. You'll be trying to read areas of the book, not understand what the authors are trying to say, go to MSDN for clarification, only to realize that they are the same. Of course, just like a student attempts to avoid getting caught for plagiarism by changing the occasional words, the authors have made the same futile attempts. For example: compare the Performance Counter section on pg 312, with the corresponding article on MSDN. The authors have even decided to copy the full registry key entries, without thinking whether or not they are relevant for the exam -they are not. To make matters worse, when the authors weren't cutting and pasting from MSDN, they were reusing the same text from other areas in the book (for example, duplicate exam tips, pg 362, pg 345, and duplicate tables pg 361, pg 344).

The book is also missing important WCF information such as service contract operator overloading, streaming, serviceKnownTypes, onserializing, releaseContextMode, IErrorHandler, etc. These are good to know items for the exam, and any solid WCF reference book should include them. Even exam objectives that are stated to be in the book (in the tear-out section), are missing. For example "Manage consistency between life cycles, sessions, concurrency, and bindings" is missing from Chapter 2, Lesson 2. The authors also seem to have avoided important issues such as the default InstanceContextMode (it's PerSession), and mentioning that the Light Weight Transaction Protocol isn't supported by ANY binding.

Missing content would have been somewhat justifiable if there simply was no more room in the book to put it in, however instead the authors have filled the book with bloat, tons of it. Pointless exercises, overly verbose labs, condescending requirements, and useless practice questions. Does every chapter need to be prepended with the requirements, and that you require Visual Studio 2008 to read this chapter. Why do the authors insist on telling readers that they require 384megs of RAM and a 1024x768 screen? The WCF 70-503 is not a beginner exam, it's a given that users taking this exam will know how to use a computer and install/use Visual Studio. The sample exam questions were a poor emulation of the actual exam questions. The bundled CD offers no extra practice questions, instead it's just a repeat of the questions in the book. In fact, the bundled CD's (2 of them), offer nothing new to the book, and should not have been included -the Visual Studio trial can just be downloaded from Microsoft's website. Other bloat includes pointless tables that just fill space, i.e. Algorithm Suites and Distinguishing Values on pg 346, -don't worry you don't need to memorize it for the actual exam.

If you are serious about taking the exam, or you are looking for a good WCF reference book, I recommend reading "Programming WCF Services" by Juval Lowy instead. I fail to see how anyone could give this WCF training kit book a review of more than one star. Compare the two books and you will see that I mean, it's that clear cut. What a difference it makes, when the author actually knows what he's talking about.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Whether or not you are getting certified, this book is excellent 16 Nov. 2008
By William G. Ryan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been living and breathing WCF since it was Indigo and was pretty sure I could pass the 70-503 without any official preparation. However I figured better safe than sorry. If you're looking to pass the 70-503 this book alone will do it for you (I'm not advising against using other sources, I'm just saying that if you read it end to end and really understand the material, i think you'll be more than prepared for the actual exam). If you have no intention of getting certified but just want to learn WCF (or learn it better), again, this book will do it for you. Having read each of the WCF books on the market and having been involved with a few of them, IMHO, this is another book in a line of really great titles. The quality of pretty much any WCF book you can find here on Amazon is top notch, and this is no exception.

-It spans just over 600 pages end to end.
-It's written by 3 authors, each of which is very experienced in distributed applications and is a very competent writer. Even though there are multiple authors, the writing style and presentation of the book is very consistent.
-Code examples are shown in both VB.NET and C#
-There are 12 chapters total, which average around 40 pages per chapter. A few of the chapters, like "Deployment", "Infrastructure Security", and "When Simple isn't enough" are a little shorter, others like "Contracts" and "Consuming Services" run a little longer.
-The depth of coverage of each chapter is really well done. I can't think of an instance where I felt I needed more or was begging for it to end.
-Each chapter starts out covering the topic at a more basic level and progresses to more advanced areas.
-There are several practice questions for each section and there are labs for each chapter as well.

-Although it's a training kit, each chapter is very easy to follow and interesting
-The book makes copious use of Real World examples. Instead of standard Hello World type services, they use examples that are more typical of what you work with on a day to day basis. For instance, Chapter 4 uses Microsoft's MapPoint web service as the example base and doesn't rely on simple methods therein.
-There's a good amount of coverage in dealing with Non-WCF services.
-Security is a very critical area in building services and they cover it exhaustively.
-Concurrency (12) is covered more in depth here than any other WCF book I've read. I would add that for anyone who's focused primarily on building WCF services, this chapter alone justifies the price of the book. Coupled with Chapter 10's discussion on instancing, no stone is left unturned in this area.
-Every area of WCF is covered
-The length of each chapter's coverage correlates well with how important the subject is and how frequently it's typically used in professional development
-Both beginners and experienced WCF developers could read this book and find its information useful. There's plenty of coverage of the basics and high level items, but there's a tremendous attention to nuanced details that can make WCF development very frustration if you aren't aware of.
-Where possible, they discuss each way of doing something when more than one way is available

-The discussion on security is very thorough and leaves nothing uncovered. Compared to the rest of the book though, it gets a little dry and tedious. To be fair to the authors though, the subject matter is inherently tedious and dry and I really couldn't say what could have been done to make it a little more lively. I think the only reason it sticks out as being dry is b/c the rest of the book is so compelling.
- The only other thing I think some might be bothered by is that this book is very much focused on real world development. The attention to detail makes it very obvious that the authors have dealt with WCF in and out and they put a lot of effort into warning you about pitfalls and everyday problems. If you don't care about learning WCF and only care about passing the exam so you can say you have the MCTS, you'll probably find this information to be overkill. However if you're taking this exam with the sole intent of passing it and not really learning how to build WCF apps, it's hard to have much sympathy for you and the authors would do everyone a disservice by catering specifically to such a small segment of people.

Speaking to the real world nature if things...the use of MapPoint as an example service is really a nice touch. It helps solidify one's understanding of interacting with a typical non-trivial service and vicariously shows how to handle many different situations. This book would not be the book it is without it. It adds a lot of text and material to study without specifically contributing to any given exam objective though. So this is why I say that someone singlemindedly focused on the exam might not like it but everyone else will find it a huge plus.

In the same respect, I don't recall seeing a single question about Installer packages on the exam yet there is roughly 30 pages dedicated to this subject (well, it's a little more broad than just the installer but the point is still valid). If you're only worried about the exam this would be of little value to you - if you're going to build WCF applications in real life, this will likely be very important to you. (There is only one knock I have on this chapter though. They go through building a Windows Service WCF host and building the installer. Other parts of the book emphasize the importance of using configuration for the services as opposed to hard coding such information. They don't however walk you through handling configuration files w/ a Windows Service. In their defense though - this would have absolutely nothing to do with passing the exam and everything to do with a real world problem).

Another example is with Chapter 9... titled 'When Simple Isn't Sufficient.' Calling this chapter excellent would be doing it a disservice. It's a catch all of how to deal with so many problems that aren't covered many places elsewhere or where technical documentation is lacking. Anyone building WCF services at work will Love this chapter. However there was minimal coverage of faults on the exam and that's about the only thing in this chapter I recall seeing on the actual exam. So is the material here needed for the exam? Not so much. Is it information every WCF developer should know? Absolutely.

So I guess my ultimate point there is if you're looking for a text version of a braindump - look elsewhere. If you're looking to build or strengthen a first class WCF skillset, buy it now.

All in all this is a very well done book written by people who know the material inside and out and took a lot of care in writing it. I know how hard writing a book like this can be and in every respect, the authors are to be commended on the job they did. It's a fun book to read, it's an informative book to read and I would go so far as to say that it should be on the shelve of anyone who's working on WCF development. It will get you through the exam and you'll enjoy the process. However as good as it is as an exam prep (and I don't want to diminish that at all), it's better as a solid WCF reference. To me, the true measure of a book is "would you buy it again if you lost it" and "would you recommend it to people on your team". I can answer both of those with a definitive Yes. Many of the pages are already dogeared even though I just got it, from making notes to myself and marking reference points in it. I've ordered a copy for each of my team members and have purchased three additional copies for some friends who I worked with on my last project b/c they are all die hard WCF junkies and I consider this a Must Have book on the topic.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A very comprehensive test-preparation guide 11 Mar. 2009
By Michael J. Mcmahon Jr. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is quite sufficient in preparing its readers for the associated exam. The materials covered in the first half of the book provide the basics for most WCF interactions and applications. The last half delves into security, transactions, and instancing, amongst other details.
The material itself is well-presented, though some of the forward references make it hard to tie certain aspects together (e.g. message header security with attributes). However, 2 passes through the book should be sufficient to prepare any reader for the test. This was the only study material used (in conjunction with the provided test exams) and I passed the test the first time though.
The test exams are worth a bit of note, as they are not terribly connected to the book material. More than a few of the questions will touch on topics that are not in the book. Moreover, the exam answers will reference chapters in the book that are either different or do not exist. There seems to be a good bit of disconnect between the exam manufacturer and the authors. However, the book itself contains relatively few errors that will cause any problems.
The reason these errors do not affect my rating of the book is that in researching and learning about these other topics, I feel I got a more well-rounded WCF education and that it better-prepared me for the test. Some of these tangents, like the WebServiceHost, COM+, and some other attributes, proved very useful. The additional information made clearer the links between WCF and various other technologies.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. This should be the only resource needed to pass the exam, and it is quite well-written.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Piece of trash 23 Mar. 2012
By Suckomedicko - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Chapter 10 - Sessions and Instancing states "Per call instancing is the default mode for WCF". There is explanation for an exercise in the same chapter that holds this assertion as real.

It is now clear to me that "Per Session" instancing is the default for WCF. How could the authors make such a blunder and hope to get away with it? I wouldn't have known this fact unless I had scratched below the surface.

Labs on the accompanying CD won't compile out-of-the-box and don't have valid service references. Therefore, this book is not just about WCF. It is also meant to gauge and press into action your compiling and troubleshooting skills. Hope there was a disclaimer to that effect somewhere that would have prevented me from buying.

Authors of this book and others of their ilk (remember the Wrox "first-to-market" types??) should hang their heads in shame. Microsoft Press can't be blamed for this - they will do anything to make a buck much like their eponymous parent software giant. I uphold and agree with all negative reviews written about this book. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS ONE!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Best of the MCTS books I've used, but one important flaw in samples 7 Jun. 2009
By Andrew Ellsom - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I started out thinking this was a pretty decent book and then I ran into a problem with the example code not working properly with the built-in host in VS2008. Seeing that they mention this host in the book (eventually) you would have thought that they would have coded the sample code to work with it. I had to resort to a project file hack I found via Google.

Then comes the exam questions. You think you've studied the book and understood it reasonably well and then you get a question which just looks like nothing you've read so you make a guess, get it wrong and the 'explanation' points you to a chapter in the book as a reference. Go to that chapter and there's nothing that covers that question at all!

I don't get how the official study kit could not even prepare you for the practice exam!! I'm now off to read MSDN as it seems a much more comprehensive source for WCF.

I would change my star rating, but Amazon won't let me. This book just left me frustrated.
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