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Dominicz (Swindon, Wilts United Kingdom)

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CLR via C#
CLR via C#
by Jeffrey Richter
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most essential C# .NET books you can buy, 1 May 2012
This review is from: CLR via C# (Paperback)
I sadly made the assumption that Jeffrey Richter (JR) would be writing about the CLR in such low level, that this book would be more use to a device driver programmer, than a generic .NET developer. I saw 'CLR' and thought "oh-god - a book dedicated to MSIL (with C# code examples)" - I WAS VERY VERY WRONG!

There isn't a single book I have read on the subject of .NET that comes close to explaining how it really-really! does work.

When working with C# for a couple of years, having no C or C++ background, you start asking questions like

- What is the CLR?
- How does the Garbage Collector work?
- Why should I declare classes as virtual?
- Whats the actual difference between declaring something static, and assigning it in a static constructor?
- What are the best practices for locking and multi-threading?
- Is an array of value types (like int[]) a value type, or a reference type?

Ok - you may have not asked these questions, but I certainly had! With the vastness of material on the internet, conflicting opinions on Google vs the wealth of information on MSDN, I certainly found it very difficult to nail down an exact explanation in sufficient detail to keep me happy. Whats more, it left me asking more questions, doing more research and again, finding that the detail on the Internet is overwhelming.

What CLR via C# does do is give you an in-depth explanation of why C# is the way it is. It takes you through the components of the language and explains the semantics around why it is implemented in a particular way. But it isn't just a regurgitation of the CLS (Common Language Specification). This book explains WHY it is that way.

Since reading this book, I have become extremely confident in my approach to development practices. Naively, I always assigned variables to null, just to "free up space more quickly" - that doesn't happen. I pre-maturely optimised code - no need. I called GC.Collect() when I wanted more memory, because I wanted it! Bad idea. But I also learned about correct usage of constructs, which is something I was still unsure about.

I also want to emphasise JR isn't bowing at Microsoft's knees and praising every single features implemented. He does have his reservations on certain features of the language and has good reasoning behind doing it a different way.

Finally, although this book does go into the depths of the C# language, it isn't inaccessible as a general read. Each chapter covers a completely different feature of the language, so it has been easy to skip back and forward between chapters. The book is well cross-referenced should you need to revisit a chapter to improve your understanding.

I would like to also convey that this book has changed my understanding of C#, cleared up bad assumptions made and also gave a central resource for me to go back to again and again.

I have also e-mailed the author a few times and he has been extremely helpful and thorough in answering my questions.


Pro .NET Best Practices (Expert's Voice in .NET)
Pro .NET Best Practices (Expert's Voice in .NET)
by Stephen Ritchie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £43.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for team leaders to install great practices and quality within their organisation, 17 Feb. 2012
I have read Rapid Development (Steve McConnell) and that really is a bible of generic practices to build teams and speed up projects. But as great as Steve McConnell's book is, it lacks any concrete platforms to tie good practices too. And I personally was looking for a book to bridge that gap. I have definitely found it!

.NET Best Practices is a book aimed at providing the reader with real ways, using specific products, to ensure a project is developed, monitored, tested, packaged and delivered to an excellent standard. The book provides you with solid reasoning and real examples of how to implement a strong application lifecycle into your organisation.

- Do you need a way to track project progress?
- Are you looking for ways to improve code quality?
- Do you manually deploy and package your software?

This book covers everything in which a project lead needs to know to host a solid development environment, guarantee quality, remove time consuming tasks (like incorpating automated builds, deployments, testing) and *how* to implement these with procedures within your team.

Its biggest value lies in explaining each practice and giving examples of applying these practices with real software.

Do you use a build server? Its provides you with 4 suggestions with a walkthrough example.
Do you use a testing framework? This book provides 4 with a worked example and code sample for download.
Do you use automated deployment? This book shows you how to code your own deployment jobs, deploying to multiple environments.
Want to improve code quality? This book shows you the importance for FxCop and StyleCop and how you can integrate them into your build lifecycle
How is your project progressing? This book shows you how to report on all areas of your lifecycle from development to a release candidates.

Whether you are a developer looking to improve your own processes, a lead developer who want to improve your current processes, or are a consultant tasked with improving practices within an organisation, this book is as much a worthy addition to any individuals or companies library.

The author (Stephen Ritchie) was also very helpful when contacted via email and truely enjoys the subject matter described here within.


Pro ASP.NET MVC V2 Framework (Expert's Voice in .NET)
Pro ASP.NET MVC V2 Framework (Expert's Voice in .NET)
by Steven Sanderson
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book on MVC 2 and Test Driven Development, 18 Jan. 2011
I am extremely pleased with this book, and consider it to be one of the most well written APress books I have ever read!

Not only does it cover the MVC 2 Framework, but also takes a best practices approach to all examples. As Steve states, the book isn't intended to prove that MVC is better than ASP.NET. But what it is meant to do is show you how it is supposed to be used from both a UI development, and a testing perspective.

It is clear throughout that Steve has a deep passion for testing. As an experienced web developer, 95% of my testing has been UI driven and seeing his approach using LINQ, interfaces, mocking frameworks and testing frameworks really opens up how much I have been missing out on the testing side of development - and how easily it can be incorporated.

As well as MVC, Steve talks about using jQuery to improve user experience. Personally, as a jQuery novice, again he has given an excellent starting point to anyone who didn't really want to tread on Javascript.

Highly recommended, but from reading his blog there is a new edition being printed for MVC 3.


Pro SQL Server 2005 Integration Services
Pro SQL Server 2005 Integration Services
by James Wightman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £39.49

3.0 out of 5 stars An in-depth discussion of its features, but not how to use them, 18 Jan. 2011
I've always bought APress books because they are example driven, introducing you to concepts one by one, then building on them throughout the book. This book however is more of a reference manual. Each chapter is a list of the functions related to it, followed by a paragraph on each one.

"Here are all of the Data Flow Sources: File, XML, ADO, SMO... ... This is the file source. It is used to read files.... This is an XML source. It is used to read XML files"

I didn't like the approach because I was never actually trying out anything, just reading and reading and reading. There were very few examples on using each of these components, but detailed explanations on how they can be used.

I cannot say it is useless, because it isn't. It does cover aspects like optimisation, scripting code in .NET etc, but just wasn't what I ultimately was hoping for.


Introducing Microsoft® SilverlightTM 3 (Developer)
Introducing Microsoft® SilverlightTM 3 (Developer)
by Laurence Moroney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This really is an introduction to Silverlight 3, 6 Oct. 2009
One thing I've always liked about the Microsoft books is that their explanations are clear and concise, their examples are useful, practical and well formatted.

However.

Although this book does cover the basics, it doesn't give you too much in the way of full applications, bringing all of the features together. The first example was a sliding puzzle! Brilliant! Then it continues with - "This is a button, this is an ellipse, here are a few ellipses and a few buttons.". Then a super huge section on interacting with JavaScript and enhancing the installation experience for users? The book ends with the databinding features and animation of Silverlight.

I would have loved more examples of applications, especially the animations and the navigation templates (which is brand new in Silverlight 3). More about how to pull all of the label, dropdown, button, data-binding all together, instead of just listing the controls and what they do.

If they decided to update it, more examples and step by step builds to applications, which their books normally approach. It just seems like they have changed their approach to the format for this, and goes to show it hasn't really work.

In line with this book, I ordered Matthew Macdonald's "Pro Silverlight 3" by APress. Hopefully this will make up for it, their books are great!


Microsoft® Windows® Communication Foundation Step by Step (Step By Step Developer Series)
Microsoft® Windows® Communication Foundation Step by Step (Step By Step Developer Series)
by John Sharp
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good get started quickly guide, and easy progression through the book., 12 Feb. 2009
As a developer, I enjoy books that throw you into a subject quite quickly without too much waffle. Although a good grounding is important, I love to get my hands dirty straight away rather than plough through 70 pages of background information before getting into it, and therefore I bought this.

WCF does have history about it, of course. 8 pages is absolutely fine. I have read another book by APress which gave me lots and lots and lots of pages about SOA, the full history of COM, DCOM etc, why web services are a part of SOA.

BORING! Like I say, some people love this stuff. I don't. I like to get a bit of background and learn more through examples, exercises and then build on experience.

The introduction was a good description of how things work and tells you everything you need complete with screenshots and thorough detailed examples, much like the MCTS/MCPD exam books published by Microsoft Press.

Although on chapter 2 at the moment I have found it very compact and concise and ... *gulp* enjoyable!


Samsung DVD-SH853M - 160Gb Hard Drive DVD Recorder - With Freeview & HDMI
Samsung DVD-SH853M - 160Gb Hard Drive DVD Recorder - With Freeview & HDMI

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Looks nice, but totally lacks usability, 1 Nov. 2007
Picture it, "Oooh - Eastenders is on tonight, gonna record that at 7:30pm. "Why don't I watch a bit of telly in between?" Well, you would, if you wouldn't have had to turn the damn thing off to record it.

The basic design of a timer is to either a) notify you when something starts (which it doesn't), or b) start recording when it starts (only by turning it off). And by turning it off means you have 5 measly channels to watch. And if you forget?? Well, you're screwed as it won't record.

No multi-region player which is rubbish!

And the EPG TV Guide - AAARRGHGHHH - You view the guide, and when you want to scroll to another channel, it thinks - "Ooo - I bet they want to watch the new channel?" - The answer - NO! I'm browsing the EPG because I'm seeing whats on. It will switch channels, which means a 1-3 second re-tune for every 1 press down. You can do it on Sky, VirginMedia, even a freeview box, but they were trying to be a bit too clever.

Oh - and the "instant record" function. You press record, you go to bed. Wake up - oh dear, your hard disk was recording all night - sorry! Which means if you want to keep your recording, you have to use the editing tools to cut your program out.

Very very annoyed with this product - waste of time!

My advice, buy a multi region DVD player and Sky+. At least you can record 2 channels at once, while watching another recording back.


MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft® .NET Framework 2.0-Application Development Foundation (Pro-Developer)
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft® .NET Framework 2.0-Application Development Foundation (Pro-Developer)
by Tony Northrup
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent source for general framework fundamentals., 4 Aug. 2007
I've been using C# for about 4 years and took the exam in Feb 2007.

I found this book *excellent*. The book assumes that you are a competent developer and don't need a description of the history of the world of computing, its just good, solid fundamentals and growing your knowledge set throughout - obviously!

Although I was familiar with a lot of the content, it was all well justified, used in examples and clear. Some sections were difficult to get through but with the MSDN at hand and spending some time working through the Practice Exercises at the end of each chapter helped significantly.

The book doesn't focus on Web or Windows programming as it is a generalised "how to use" guide for all sort of areas from exception handling, thread management and configuration, making is a good all rounder.

I would agree with the other reviewers that it isn't a reference book, but it is a study guide, and written as one.

I do recommend it, because I got 98% :-P


MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-528): Microsoft® .NET Framework 2.0 Web-Based Client Development (Pro-Certification)
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-528): Microsoft® .NET Framework 2.0 Web-Based Client Development (Pro-Certification)
by Glenn Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £43.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great grounding for any developer - editing could be better!, 4 Aug. 2007
I too, used this book to revise for my MCTS exam. The content is superb and covered most of the web features I would use regularly.

I only gave it 4 stars as I found the questions at the end of the chapters were sometimes wrong, i.e. the multiple choice questions had either duplicate choices, or the answer described in the book didn't match the choice. An example of this is asking about random images and it gave you the "AdServer" control (which doesn't exist). The answer said this was the correct answer because the "AdRotator" was best suited .... No sense at all!

This annoyed me quite a lot. I think there was a total of about 10 questions that did this. Apart from that, the content was fairly clear and useful. The questions were well justified and answered.

Oh - and one more thing - the example on HttpHandlers was useless, look for resources on the internet to better understand this.


Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction
Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction
by Steve McConnell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.07

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Working smarter - not harder!, 11 July 2007
One thing that is never taught through courses, book or programming courses is the "grammar" to use a language. By that I mean, you can use English quite liberally, but to get an impact, to persuade and entice the reader, you need to use the language correctly.

In order to get the best out of your code - from design, structure, documentation, testing, debugging and deployment you'll need to be shown the ropes. Putting it altogether in one place is what this book does and it does it amazingly well!

Full of references to respected software architects and engineers, all of his points are put across in clear, concise language. Points are factually referenced which goes to show the variety of reading material the author went through to get where he is today. The book uses C++, C#, C, VB and Java with benchmarks to show how doing what he says does help.

I bought this book when I was confident with C# and just needed some help with when to refactor, how to comment, how I should use exceptions, optimising loops and other general "grammar" issues.

Very highly recommended for anyone looking to "work smarter - not harder!"


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