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on 29 May 2013
This is the updated version of Introducing .NET 4.0 by Alex MacKey, one of the authors of this latest publication and follows the same format.

It assumes you've got some experience of .NET 4.0 so it's probably not a book for beginners. It summarises the huge amount of new stuff. Essentially, it's telling us what's there, what's new, giving us a high level overview without trying to give a detailed tutorial or exhaustive documentation on any particular feature.

It includes many short interviews with various experts on particular features and the author considers why particular features might be useful and what's worth spending time on. There are big sections on Windows 8, Azure, Nuget, Silverlight 5 etc. so it's not necessarily a book everybody will want to read every chapter from.

So it's quick to read and very good value for time in understanding what's new and seeing what might be worth looking into in detail depending on your own requirements.
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on 12 December 2012
Introducing .NET 4.5 essentially replaces the 'first edition' which was aimed at Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4. Since the April 2010 release of .NET 4, a lot has changed. This book covers the improvements that have been made to the .NET framework in the two and half years it took to get to .NET 4.5.

It's an all encompassing book, covering everything from the changes in Visual Studio 2012's IDE all the way through to package management with NuGet. You've also got coverage of the BCL and the CLR, MEF 2, ASP.NET 4.5, ASP.NET MVC 4.5, WCF and the Web API, Working with Data, Windows Azure, WWF, WPF, Silverlight 5 and Windows 8 Applications. If any of those acronyms are new to you, that's probably a good enough reason to buy this book!

In this edition, the author has enlisted the help of two recognised experts in the Azure, WCF, Silverlight and WIF space. Whilst each author has their own writing style, it doesn't detract from the quality of the information presented, nor does it detract from the elements of humour each author has put into the chapters! The writing style is relaxed, but not too chatty and can be entertaining in parts - this is refreshing and makes the learning process that bit more enjoyable.

I was pleased to see this book has its "front matter material", acknowledgements, about the authors, etc. cleverly positioned at the back of the book. This is a great time saver if you are reading the book electronically. Three taps/clicks and you're on the first page. It's a nice touch.

Screenshots are liberally placed throughout each chapter. Many of the new features in .NET and in Visual Studio 2012 are difficult to explain and sell in text, the addition of screenshots is a great help. You'll be treated to "just the facts", e.g. "VS2012 now contains IntelliSense support and snippets for the following technologies and standards: HTML5, CSS3, WAI-ARIA (disability support)". If you're an experienced developer, these facts could be all you need in order to move on to the newer versions - you probably don't need a whole chapter on how a specific part of Visual Studio 2012 works, etc. This book is full of such time-saving snippets and commentary.

Dotted throughout each chapter are emphasised "Caution" break outs. These are, as you might imagine, useful snippets warning us of assumptions we might have made or of any subtle differences found when developing Windows 8-style applications. There are also a few "key terminology" break outs too - the authors use these to explain key terms that they go on to use in their text. You'll also find useful "Note" break outs in each chapter, many containing links to further information. Also dotted throughout each chapter are direct links to further information or commentary from industry experts.

This book a massive time-saver - it provides just enough information about virtually all of the new features in Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5. Despite being nearly 400 pages in length, it's easy to read bit by bit, i.e. you don't need to read the whole book, or even a whole chapter if you need to gain an understanding of a specific topic. I found it especially useful when reading tweets from other developers - they were discussing the Portable Class Library, chapter 3 provided just the overview I was looking for.

As with the earlier edition, this book is suited to those developers who are coming to Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 "fresh" and those hardened developers who have been using .NET for many years. This isn't a "deep dive" book, you're not going to get screeds of information relating to any of the chapters - you do get a high-level introduction with some worked examples and a coverage of how the topics relate to each other. The authors do make reference to other Apress books that do offer you a deep dive should you wish to learn more.

This book is brand new. It's not a second edition or a revamp, it's a summation of what has happened from Visual Studio 2010 to Visual Studio 2012 and from .NET 4.0 to 4.5. It covers almost three years worth of changes and improvements. Essentially this is a completely different book to "Introducing .NET 4" - if you enjoyed that book, you'll enjoy this one too. If you're just looking for a "what's new" or "what has changed" guide, this book is for you. Newcomers to the .NET platform will find this book a great introduction to the .NET framework and the tools that are used to design, build, test and deploy great applications.
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