Showing posts with label BookReview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BookReview. Show all posts

Saturday, April 12, 2014

[Book Review] Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

The team at Packt have given me another opportunity to review one of their just released titles, Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook. As I usually do, I'm not going to give you a chapter-by-chapter review or rundown. Instead I'm going to give you my overall feelings and impressions about the book, what I liked and didn't and why you might want to check it out yourself.

Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

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  • Provides you with coverage of all the new Visual Studio 2013 features regardless of your programming language preference
  • Recipes describe how to apply Visual Studio to all areas of development: writing, debugging, and application lifecycle maintenance
  • Straightforward examples of building apps for Windows 8.1

Preface
Chapter 1: Discovering Visual Studio 2013
Chapter 2: Getting Started with Windows Store Applications
Chapter 3: Web Development – ASP.NET, HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript
Chapter 4: .NET Framework 4.5.1 Development
Chapter 5: Debugging Your .NET Application
Chapter 6: Asynchrony in .NET
Chapter 7: Unwrapping C++ Development
Chapter 8: Working with Team Foundation Server 2013
Chapter 9: Languages
Appendix: Visual Studio Medley

Let's start with the bad...

I usually don't write "bad" reviews ("If you can say something nice..." and all that) and I'm not this time either. BUT you have to understand the intent of the book before you get it. Based on the title and chapter headers, I got something different than I expected and that colored my initial feelings.

Frist off, I think the book is good and has a great information, but the description and information on its page might led to confusion about its actual content.

I thought I was going to be reading a book about Visual Studio 2013, the IDE. Recipes on using it, tips and tricks for getting the most out of VS itself.

It's not that.

It's more a book about learning to cook with the new technologies available in VS 2013 than about VS 2013 itself. Does that make sense? It's more about what you can make with a stove, not really about the stove itself.

For example, here's a snip from the book's description page;

What you will learn from this book

  • Customize the editor’s new abilities to fit your development style
  • Create apps for Windows 8.1
  • Use Visual Studio to debug parallel and concurrent programs
  • Integrate .NET Framework 4.5.1 effectively
  • Learn about both the Express and premium editions of Visual Studio
  • Maximize Visual Studio's C++ tools to make development easier
  • Put TypeScript to work in your web applications
  • Protect and manage your source code with Team Foundation Server
  • Learn about Visual Studio Online

This might lead you to believe that the book is indeed about VS itself. I know I thought so. But then see the lines, "Create apps for Windows 8.1 " and "Put TypeScript to work in your web applications." THAT is what I talking about as being what you can make with VS 2013, not being about VS 2013 itself. And a many of the chapters are like this. Using VS 2013 to build WinStore App's from a template, creating a WCF Service, Adding a Ribbon to a WPF App, etc, etc.

Don't get me wrong, there are many parts that help you learn to use VS 2013, but my impression is it's 50/50, VS verses Cooking with VS...

My suggestion to you is too really read the FULL chapter descriptions and check out the preview before purchase, so you understand what you are jumping into. DON'T be like me and stop at the chapter headers, but continue on down the page and look at the chapter contents.

Enough whining, now the Good...

If taken as a "What can I Cook with VS 2013," this book provides a great survey of many of the new capabilities and features now available. The cookbook format is used well and provides nice bite sized chunks of digestible information.

The book is also very current and up to date. For example, the name change of SkyDrive to OneDrive is noted in the book. Also VS 2013 Update 2 Beta is  mentioned (not VS 2013 Update RC of course, as that was just announced last week)

The breadth of covered technology is also nice. WPF, WCF, WinStore, TFS, etc is all covered. It's a great survey of what you can do with VS 2013.

Should you get it?

If you have VS 2012 and are wondering what you can do once you VS 2013, looking for reasons why to upgrade, this looks like a great book. Again, make sure you look at the chapter details, but if you are using VS 2012 and are trying to convince someone, yourself, co-workers, boss, etc on why you might want to upgrade, what you'll be able to build and do once you get it, yeah, you should look a long close look at picking this book up.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Related Past Post XRef:
[Book Review Preview] Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

Monday, March 24, 2014

[Book Review Preview] Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

The team at Packt have given me another opportunity to review one of their just released titles, Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook. At 332 pages it's going to take a few days, but in the mean time, here's a preview of the book...

Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

image

  • Provides you with coverage of all the new Visual Studio 2013 features regardless of your programming language preference
  • Recipes describe how to apply Visual Studio to all areas of development: writing, debugging, and application lifecycle maintenance
  • Straightforward examples of building apps for Windows 8.1

Preface
Chapter 1: Discovering Visual Studio 2013
Chapter 2: Getting Started with Windows Store Applications
Chapter 3: Web Development – ASP.NET, HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript
Chapter 4: .NET Framework 4.5.1 Development
Chapter 5: Debugging Your .NET Application
Chapter 6: Asynchrony in .NET
Chapter 7: Unwrapping C++ Development
Chapter 8: Working with Team Foundation Server 2013
Chapter 9: Languages
Appendix: Visual Studio Medley

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Related Past Post XRef:
[Limited Time Offer] Packt celebrates their 2000th with a Two-for-One sale (Only a few days left...). [Updated Link]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

[Book Review] 'LÖVE for Lua Game Programming'

LÖVE for Lua Game Programming

image

Preface
Chapter 1: Getting Started with LÖVE
Chapter 2: LÖving Up!
Chapter 3: Before You Build a Game
Chapter 4: Making Your First Game
Chapter 5: More About Making the Game
Chapter 6: Pickups and Head-Up Display and Sounds
Chapter 7: Meeting the Bad Guy!
Chapter 8: Packaging and Distributing Your Game

What you will learn from this book
  • Create different environments to make your games more interesting
  • Add sound and music to your games
  • Apply game physics and real-time particle collisions
  • Animate game characters using sprites
  • Deploy your games to Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms
In Detail

LÖVE is a game development framework for making 2D games using the Lua programming language. LÖVE is totally free, and can be used in anything from friendly open-source hobby projects, to closed-source commercial ones. Using the Lua programming framework, one can use LÖVE2D to make any sort of interesting games.

LÖVE for Lua Game Programming will quickly and efficiently guide you through how to develop a video game from idea to prototype. Even if you are new to game programming, with this book, you will soon be able to create as many game titles as you wish without stress.

The LÖVE framework is the quickest and easiest way to build fully-functional 2D video games. It leverages the Lua programming language, which is known to be one of the easiest game development languages to learn and use. With this book, you will master how to develop multi-platform games for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. After downloading and installing LÖVE, you will learn by example how to draw 2D objects, animate characters using sprites, and how to create game physics and game world maps.

LÖVE for Lua Game Programming makes it easier and quicker for you to learn everything you need to know about game programming. If you’re interested in game programming, then this book is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

...

I read this book on Friday (while waiting for UPS to deliver my Xbox One... ;) and found it well paced and easy to follow. The book takes an incremental approach easing you into programing with LOVE and Lua. It is NOT a programming tutorial. It assumes you have some programming background and doesn't waste space on the things you are assumed to already know (like looping, functions, variables, etc, etc).

The author also does a nice job introducing you to common game dev tasks, like level design, tile usage, character animation, and so on. With 106 pages, you don't get depth but you do get a great initial introduction and in the end, a working game.

The "who this book is for" is spot-on;

This book is for aspiring game developers with a decent understanding of Lua scripting language, and anyone who wants to learn video game design. If you are looking for a step-by-step approach to learn how to design a game from idea to prototype quickly with a robust and easy-to-understand game engine, this book is for you.

If you are looking for a fun way to get started writing games, using all free tools, games that run cross platform, this book will help you get started.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Related Past Post XRef:
[Book Review - Preview] 'LÖVE for Lua Game Programming'

Saturday, November 16, 2013

[Book Review - Preview] 'LÖVE for Lua Game Programming'

The cool cats at Packt Publishing have given me the opportunity to review LÖVE for Lua Game Programming. Until getting this book, I'd not heard of LÖVE. Neither have you? Well LÖVE is...

image

Hi there! LÖVE is an *awesome* framework you can use to make 2D games in Lua. It's free, open-source, and works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

image

Seeing that, that it's open source and helps build cross platform apps, well I just had to say okay to the book review so I could learn more about it...

LÖVE for Lua Game Programming

image

Preface
Chapter 1: Getting Started with LÖVE
Chapter 2: LÖving Up!
Chapter 3: Before You Build a Game
Chapter 4: Making Your First Game
Chapter 5: More About Making the Game
Chapter 6: Pickups and Head-Up Display and Sounds
Chapter 7: Meeting the Bad Guy!
Chapter 8: Packaging and Distributing Your Game

What you will learn from this book

  • Create different environments to make your games more interesting
  • Add sound and music to your games
  • Apply game physics and real-time particle collisions
  • Animate game characters using sprites
  • Deploy your games to Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms

In Detail

LÖVE is a game development framework for making 2D games using the Lua programming language. LÖVE is totally free, and can be used in anything from friendly open-source hobby projects, to closed-source commercial ones. Using the Lua programming framework, one can use LÖVE2D to make any sort of interesting games.

LÖVE for Lua Game Programming will quickly and efficiently guide you through how to develop a video game from idea to prototype. Even if you are new to game programming, with this book, you will soon be able to create as many game titles as you wish without stress.

The LÖVE framework is the quickest and easiest way to build fully-functional 2D video games. It leverages the Lua programming language, which is known to be one of the easiest game development languages to learn and use. With this book, you will master how to develop multi-platform games for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. After downloading and installing LÖVE, you will learn by example how to draw 2D objects, animate characters using sprites, and how to create game physics and game world maps.

LÖVE for Lua Game Programming makes it easier and quicker for you to learn everything you need to know about game programming. If you’re interested in game programming, then this book is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

I plan on reading this 106 page book this week and will try to post the full review next weekend...

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

[Book Review] "Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad"

As I mentioned a couple days ago, [Book Review - Preview] "Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad",  the team at Packt have given me the opportunity to review Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad by Sébastien Finot.

Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad

image6

What you will learn from this book

  • Discover what LINQ can do and how it will help you
  • Learn all about LINQ query operators to join, aggregate, select, and filter data
  • Write LINQ queries with both method and query syntaxes
  • Query databases and remote services using LINQ
  • Create and manipulate XML and in-memory collections
  • Differentiate LINQPad’s query types
  • Handle user input with LINQPad
  • Customize LINQPad to fit your taste or workflow

...

In my usual review style, I'm going to give you my impressions, feelings and thoughts about the book. I'm not going to give you chapter-by-chapter blow-by. That you can get from other reviews and by visiting the book's site...

So let's get started then!

I received the eBook on Thursday and two train rides later I was done. The book has 126 pages, but the first part (ToC, author and reviewer notes, etc) and the index at the end take a percentage of those. That just means the rest is more like condensed soup that just needs your brain juices to reconstitute (hum... not sure where I'm going with that... but it sounded kind of cool...lol). Anyway, I pretty much couldn't put it down.

This book isn't for LINQPad Ninja's. It's not really for LINQ Ninja's either.

It's perfect for those that might not be using LINQ as well as they think they should be. It's perfect for those who think they might not be using LINQPad as effectively as they could. If you're anything like me, doc's and help are a last resort. We install the app and just start clicking. If we can get it doing something, well, we're good. This means through that many times we miss features or don't use the app as well as we could be. This book will help you if you use LINQPad like that...

But more importantly, this book is a great tutorial on LINQ. It's like learning LINQ with LINQPad added as extra flavoring. That said, if you're 100% new to LINQ, I'd get a broader book. But if you're using LINQ a little, or know one or two tricks, this book is a great way to expand your existing LINQ knowledge.

I'm gushing aren't I?

Well when I read a book on one day and use what I've read the next to help me solve a problem and save a number of lines of code... well, that causes me to gush a little.

Oh it's not perfect. There's a couple tip sections repeated. The focus on Linq to SQL, while the linq stuff is great and seeing it work in the utility is really cool, it might give the impression that Linq to SQL is something you should use in your app's. Personally, I wouldn't. It's not that the tech is bad, it's just the tech is dead. Linq to SQL has about zero future.

I'd liked to have seen the "other data sources" expanded on.

But in those two chapters, there's Linq learning going on, and I wouldn't skip them, even if you don't use that tech.

Summary

If you're a LINQ Jedi or your already live in LINQPad, this book might not be for you. Think of this book as a 200 Linq & LINQPad class. So if you're already a 300, 400, 500, then, well you get the picture)

If you're looking for a book to help you improve your existing Linq knowledge, to expand beyond a limited/working use, check out this book.

If you're looking to better use the awesome that is LINQPad, check out this book.

Would I recommend this book to a friend or co-worker, knowing they'd have to pay for it? I think I've been doing just that above... :)

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Related Past Post XRef:
[Book Review - Preview] "Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad"

Nothing like a little LinqPad fun for a Friday - "Hosting ASP.NET Web API in LinqPad"
Today's LINQPad fun, SelectExcept! (a tip on selecting all the fields, except...)
LINQPad is just for [no, not "breakfast"... ha.. fooled you] LINQ... Using LINQPad to execute code snippets.
.DumpJson() - LINQPad Extension Fun...
Playing with the TFS API via LINQPad (as in using LINQPad to query TFS via the TFS API)
LINQPad +50 - Adding 50 LINQ examples from DevCurry to LINQPad's sample pallet
Since we're talking about LINQPad... StreamInsight v1.2 Driver and samples for LINQPad
Jesse liberates our LINQ'ness - Learning LINQ, from LINQPad to Visual Studio
LINQ[Pad] to Twitter
LINQPad’ing into Dallas - The latest LINQPad now has “Dallas” support baked in.
OData my LINQPad – LINQPad (beta) now supports Data Services/OData (and there’s .Net 4 rev too)
Need an ad-hoc query tool for your Azure data tables? LINQPad to the rescue
This post title made me laugh, “I've Left Query Analyzer Hell For LINQPad Heaven”
LINQPad and the Entity Framework
Getting External with LINQPad – Advanced LINQPad Dimecast (aka part 3 of 3)
Fun with .Dump() in LINQPad – An intermediate level Dimecast for LINQPad
Link to LINQPad – A Dimecast LINQPad Walkthrough
LINQPad - A Free Interactive LINQ to SQL (and others) Utility (Think "SQL Query Analyzer for LINQ")

Thursday, August 01, 2013

[Book Review - Preview] "Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad"

You all know me, a month without LINQPad is a month not well lived...  :P

Anyway... When the team at Packt gave me the opportunity to review Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad by Sébastien Finot I jumped at it.

Received the book this morning and am already 50%... (Got to love the train commute :)  I'll have the final review up this weekend, but the short of it is, this isn't a book just about LINQPad, but instead LINQ + LINQPad. If you're already 100% LINQ Ninja and use every feature of LINQPad already, then this book isn't for you. But if your LINQ skills are not what you think they should be or you'd like to take advantage or more of the features found in LINQPad, well...

Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad

image

What you will learn from this book

  • Discover what LINQ can do and how it will help you
  • Learn all about LINQ query operators to join, aggregate, select, and filter data
  • Write LINQ queries with both method and query syntaxes
  • Query databases and remote services using LINQ
  • Create and manipulate XML and in-memory collections
  • Differentiate LINQPad’s query types
  • Handle user input with LINQPad
  • Customize LINQPad to fit your taste or workflow

In Detail

If you need to interact with databases, XML, in-memory collections, or remote services, LINQ can make your life simpler. The best way to discover LINQ is with the help of LINQPad, a free IDE whose first goal is to make sure that writing and interacting with your LINQ query is fun and easy. More generally, LINQPad is a C#/VB/F# scratchpad that instantly executes any expression, statement block, or program with rich output formatting and a wealth of features.

With Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad, you will quickly learn everything you need to know to start using LINQ. To accelerate your learning curve, you will discover how to use LINQPad and its features to test your queries interactively and experiment with all the options offered by LINQ.

In all probability, you already know C#, but have you had a chance to try out LINQ? Building Interactive Queries with LINQPad will introduce you to everything LINQ can offer and will let you interact with every example in LINQPad, LINQ’s best companion.

You will learn how to build and experiment with interactive queries with this practical guide illustrated with short and detailed code samples. You will also get acquainted with other cool applications of LINQpad such as testing, code snippet generation, and so on, along with a broad approach to LINQ (to object, to SQL, to XML, and so on).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Nothing like a little LinqPad fun for a Friday - "Hosting ASP.NET Web API in LinqPad"
Today's LINQPad fun, SelectExcept! (a tip on selecting all the fields, except...)
LINQPad is just for [no, not "breakfast"... ha.. fooled you] LINQ... Using LINQPad to execute code snippets.
.DumpJson() - LINQPad Extension Fun...
Playing with the TFS API via LINQPad (as in using LINQPad to query TFS via the TFS API)
LINQPad +50 - Adding 50 LINQ examples from DevCurry to LINQPad's sample pallet
Since we're talking about LINQPad... StreamInsight v1.2 Driver and samples for LINQPad
Jesse liberates our LINQ'ness - Learning LINQ, from LINQPad to Visual Studio
LINQ[Pad] to Twitter
LINQPad’ing into Dallas - The latest LINQPad now has “Dallas” support baked in.
OData my LINQPad – LINQPad (beta) now supports Data Services/OData (and there’s .Net 4 rev too)
Need an ad-hoc query tool for your Azure data tables? LINQPad to the rescue
This post title made me laugh, “I've Left Query Analyzer Hell For LINQPad Heaven”
LINQPad and the Entity Framework
Getting External with LINQPad – Advanced LINQPad Dimecast (aka part 3 of 3)
Fun with .Dump() in LINQPad – An intermediate level Dimecast for LINQPad
Link to LINQPad – A Dimecast LINQPad Walkthrough
LINQPad - A Free Interactive LINQ to SQL (and others) Utility (Think "SQL Query Analyzer for LINQ")

Friday, December 07, 2012

[Pending Book Review] "Windows Server 2012 Hyper- V Cookbook"

Disclosure: The team at Packt have provided me a free ebook version of this book for this review...

My friends at Packt (anyone who gives you free stuff is a friend... right?) have provided me another book to review. I've been following virtual machine tech for about a decade now, and while I've used them as a consumer, I've never gotten to deep into them. You know how it is, doing just enough to get the job done, get the game running, get the test environment spinning, just barely enough to make today's problem go away.

So when the chance to get a litter deeper into the tech, let alone the shiny new stuff in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, well I had to jump on that.

"Okay, okay Greg, enough tease, what fricken book are you talking about" you ask?

Windows Server 2012 Hyper- V Cookbook

windows server 2012 Hyper-V

  • Take advantage of numerous Hyper-V best practices for administrators
  • Get to grips with migrating virtual machines between servers and old Hyper-V versions, automating tasks with PowerShell, providing a High Availability and Disaster Recovery environment, and much more
  • A practical Cookbook bursting with essential recipes

As soon as I get this read, I'll post my usual book review, giving my thoughts and impressions...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

[Book Review] "What's New in SQL Server 2012"

"What's New in SQL Server 2012"

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Disclosure: A free ebook version of this title was given to me by the publisher.

As you might know, I've been a SQL Server using dev for about 1.97 million years (since 4.21a on NT 3.5) and have watched this database grow from a "departmental" database server to the mission critical, bet the business on it, database server that it is today. From being just a database to an entire family of data services. From something that most could grok in its entirety to the beast we have today where you're lucky to fit just parts of it into our brains...

On a low priority background thread, I've been working a SQL Server 2012 Dev-To-Dev videos, so felt I had a good grasp on some of the goodness that's in SQL Server 2012. But even so, there was only so much I could cover and research. So I ignored anything not LOB "dev" related.

Then I start a new gig and I'm asked, "So hey, what's new in SQL Server 2012? Stuff that the business/DBA would be interested in? What's in the different editions? Disaster preparedness?" Pretty much everything I'd been ignoring... sigh.

Then this book fell into my lap. I quickly found it's a perfect means to help answer those questions and more!

First of all "What's New in SQL Server 2012" is not the end all, be all for getting up to speed on SQL Server 2012. For a book that is 258 pages and the scope of changes in SQL Server 2012 that would be impossible. But this book is a perfect onramp into knowing what you don't know about what's new in SQL Server 2012. It's a survey course in what's new...

I found the book (I read it in PDF form, but it's also available as ePub, Mobi and print) a fast read, that it truly focused on what's new, but also not afraid to mention features/capabilities from earlier versions if those features/capabilities were under-used, under-documented or under-sold, and that now in 2012 they start to shine. i.e. if background was needed to help explain why this "new" feature was cool/useful then that background was provided.

While there were a few screenshot page sets, there were not too many and used judicially. Nor were there pages and pages of T-SQL. Again, it was used where it made sense but not overly.

The key point is that this isn't a rehashed "what's new" book from an earlier version that was just tidied up and refreshed for the latest version. It is clearly new and fresh content.

One of the things I liked about the book is that it didn't even try to be the "end all, be all." Again, where it made sense, it introduced a new feature and then referred the reader to a web resource that did do the explanation in detail. Content curation at it's best. I also thought it cool that these web resources were not just MSDN doc's, though those were used, but also links from around the SQL web community.

Look, if you are SQL Dev, LOB coder, T-SQL Geek, DBA, CIO/CTO, IT'er, someone interested in "selling, buying or influencing" getting SQL Server 2012 in the door, but need some backup, background or supporting material, this book is a must get.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

[Book Review] "Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6" by Augusto Alvarez

[Full Disclosure Notice: The mentioned book was provided to me free by the publisher. This review is my own. The publisher has not seen it, nor prompted me in its content in any way, shape or form. All they did is provide the book free and ask me to review it… ]

Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6

image[3]

Table of Contents
  • Chapter 1: Introducing Application Virtualization in a Virtualized World
  • Chapter 2: Understanding App-V Architecture
  • Chapter 3: Preparing your App-V Environment and Installing App-V Management Server
  • Chapter 4: Deploying the App-V Sequencer, Desktop Client, and Streaming Server
  • Chapter 5: Taking the Initial Steps in the Sequencing Process
  • Chapter 6: Sequencing Complex Applications
  • Chapter 7: Managing Dynamic Suite Composition
  • Chapter 8: Integrating App-V with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2
  • Chapter 9: Securing your App-V Environment
  • Appendix: Reviewing App-V for Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services)
Overview

Virtualization. Seems that's almost all we hear about in the IT corridors these days. Machine, Presentation, Storage, Application, everything is being virtualized. And each, while very different than the other, has the same basic foundational idea. Isolation.

Application virtualization is no different. The basic idea is to provide isolation scoped at the application level. To allow you to deploy applications to users without jacking up, or being jacked up, by stuff on their machines. Think having Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 all on the same machine. Without application virtualization, that would be pretty much impossible. With it, it's no only "possible" but kind of easy.

Microsoft's application virtualization product, App-V, provides the tools, services and servers to enable you to bring this magic to your users. This book is your springboard into the world of App-V

Likes

Starts of simple and builds toward complexity. I dig books that don't have their own learning curve requirement, that start you at the beginning and when you're done, you look down from the top you realize you've been climbing a pretty darn steep learning curve without even knowing it. Learning in-spite of yourself... lol. That's this book. Starts simple and by the end you're not only familiar with it, but are actually ready to start using App-V.

Comparisons to other Application Virtualization Options. There's a number of options in the application virtualization space. What those options are and how they are similar or different from App-V is well covered. It's not exhaustive as this book is supposed to be about App-V, but its more than enough to see what's out there and how they compare.

Where App-v doesn't fit. I appreciated that it was made clear where App-v shouldn't be used. The book helps you avoid the whole "if all you have is a hammer..." thing.

Dynamic Suite Composition. This was something I knew nothing about before I started the book, I didn't even knew it existed. I thought application virtualization was a one way mirror. That the virtualized app could see out, but nothing else could see in. The book's introduction to discussion of, App-V's Dynamic Suite Composition feature showed how this doesn't have to be true, that you can have one App-V app talk to another App-V app, i.e. dynamically combining them.

Think web browser and Acrobat. You'd first think that if you wanted Acrobat to be App-V'ed with a browser, you'd have to include them both in the same app-v sequence (aka package/file/etc.). But with Dynamic Suite Composition you don't have to. You can create two sequences, one for the browser and one for Acrobat and then use Dynamic Suite Composition to bring them together. Why is this cool? What if you had size web browsers App-V sequences (say six different versions of Firefox) that all needed access to Acrobat?

Real World example usage. This book did not shy aware from the hard examples. For example, deploying the App-V client in an enterprise is not a simple task, yet this book covered that. And there's fewer more complex applications, with more moving parts, than Microsoft Office 2010. Yet again, that's one of the examples walked though in the book. They might have gotten away with providing simpler examples "that demonstrated the concept" yet they took the "hard right" approach and jumped in with both feet into the "real IT world IT" where Office is everywhere and a very applicable example.

Well Written. I just thought the book was well written and even as a dev, easy for me to read and understand.

Improvements/Thoughts (i.e. what else I’d like to see)

This is not a knock against this book. I thought the book was great for its intended target (i.e. IT). But as a developer what I 'd like to see is more about how I can deliver my apps with this technology. To deliver pre-sequenced apps to my IT teammates. Or how, as a developer I can extended the capabilities of the App-V client/server.

Also I'd really like to see App-V baked into the Windows OS. Not having access myself to MDOP means I can't really play with it. I can't offer it to my users. I can't use to to deliver my personal projects either. Not every program or utility is a candidate for App-V but many/most are. I want the MSI madness to end. I 'd LOVE to give my apps to users in a single file, no install, no setup, one file that just works (cough... this maybe what AppX is going to be in Windows 8? We'll have to see...). If App-V were included in very copy of Windows, we live this dream today.

What Did I Learn?

Given that I pretty much only knew how to spell App-V when I started reading the book (well I understood the concept around application virtualization, but you get the idea) I walked away with a much deeper understanding and appreciation  of the entire app-v product line. From the stand-alone client to the server to mixing in application virtualization with presentation virtualization (aka Remote Desktop). From deploying the client to deploying very complex suites with it (harder to get more "complex" than Microsoft Office 2010), to the servers.

After reading this book I'd feel comfortable having an App-V conversation with IT, whereas before it was a black and scary box...

Final Thoughts

Who is this book for? I think the perfect person for this book the IT team member, either a cube warrior or management who's interested in Microsoft's App-V. Also this book is really great for those who have access to Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack  (MDOP) and aren't sure about that that App-V thing in it is. Also developers looking to use App-V to simplify their app deployment or those where App-v is being used on their apps.

Sandboxes, application virtualization, etc is likely going to be one of the primary ways applications are deployed and used in the future. Getting in now will make this future wave easer to ride...

Thanks again to Packt for giving me the opportunity to review it.

 

Here's some additional links that might of interest:

 

Related Past Post XRef:
[Preview Book Review] "Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6" by Augusto Alvarez

“Understanding Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solutions” – The free, 466 page, eBook (only available until the end of February 2010)
StartKey - Your Windows Settings on your USB Key chain (coming soon to a developing nation near you)
PDC2008 Quick Video Link List (Updated: Now with Keynotes)
.Net Client Profile - The .Net Framework on SlimFast (aka a slimmed down version of the Framework with JUST the client stuff in it - A .Net Framework in a 27MB install...)
Chrome Notes: Isolation achieved via application virtualization?
Google's Other Purchase Last Week - GreenBorder (Application Virtualization)

Monday, February 21, 2011

[Preview Book Review] "Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6" by Augusto Alvarez

Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6

image

"...

This Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6 Implementation Guide will show you, in a step-by-step manner, how to set up the environment for installing your company’s applications, defining all the requirements and configurations one time only, and then delivering the same baseline to all the users you want. Microsoft App-V removes the constraints we usually have with applications, their dependencies and the issues involved, providing a centralized management of those applications. With this book, you will first review the basics of App-V architecture and the components involved and then start working directly with the platform by installing the App-V server and client components. As the book progresses, you will learn to sequence and publish simple as well as complex applications. Using this guide, applications' transitions, such as moving up from Microsoft Office 2007 to Office 2010, can be achieved transparently for all users. It will also guide you through advanced topics such as integrating App-V with Microsoft’s Configuration Manager, securing communications, and publishing applications through Remote Desktop Services.

By the end of this book, you will be geared up to plan and implement the virtualization of your application infrastructure with Microsoft App-V.

..."

I don't know near as much as I want to about Microsoft's App-V technology. I mean I've heard about it, have been following it a bit since Microsoft purchased Soft Grid (what grew into App-V) and whined about how this, or something like this, should be baked into Visual Studio as a deployment method (how cool would that be to instead of delivering a MSI, a virtualized, sandboxed app all in a single file? And if a future version of Windows how the tech built into it...well...).

Anyway when the hungry guys a Packt approached me and asked if I wanted to review the book... Yep, that's right, jumped at it... 

The book should arrive in a week or two so it's going to be a bit before I post the review. (So why am I posting this now? As a kick-in-the-butt to make sure I don't leave the book on the stack too long... ;)

 

Related Past Post XRef:
“Understanding Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solutions” – The free, 466 page, eBook (only available until the end of February 2010)
StartKey - Your Windows Settings on your USB Key chain (coming soon to a developing nation near you)
PDC2008 Quick Video Link List (Updated: Now with Keynotes)
.Net Client Profile - The .Net Framework on SlimFast (aka a slimmed down version of the Framework with JUST the client stuff in it - A .Net Framework in a 27MB install...)
Chrome Notes: Isolation achieved via application virtualization?
Google's Other Purchase Last Week - GreenBorder (Application Virtualization)

Monday, December 27, 2010

[Book Review] “Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0” by Sachin Joshi from Packt Publishing

[Full Disclosure Notice: The mentioned book was provided to me free by the publisher. This review is my own. The publisher has not seen it, nor prompted me in its content in any way, shape or form. All they did is provide the book free and asked me to review it… ]

Special Offer just for you (my blog readers)! Use the below promotion codes for a 18% discount on the print or ebook editions.

Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0

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Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started with Enterprise Library
  • Chapter 2: Data Access Application Block
  • Chapter 3: Logging Application Block
  • Chapter 4: Exception Handling Application Block
  • Chapter 5: Caching Application Block
  • Chapter 6: Validation Application Block
  • Chapter 7: Security Application Block
  • Chapter 8: Cryptography Application Block

Overview

First off, I’d like to thank Packt for giving me the opportunity to review this book. I’ve been following the Enterprise Library (EntLib) for years (as you can see in the “Related Past Post XRef:” section below) and so when they offered me the chance to review this book I jumped at it.

This book is a high level, from a dev point of view, look at Microsoft’s Enterprise Library. Each of the major Application Blocks that make up EntLib are covered in their own chapters. Given that the book is 257 pages, it provides an introductory, overview, first dev look at these Blocks. Think “Enterprise Library 101.”

The book first gets you the Enterprise Library/code and sets them up to begin their Enterprise Library journey. The following chapters then take the you through the given Block, first introducing you to the given Block, their project references, as in Visual Studio/Add References references, the relations between Blocks, how to configure, call and use each Block. Each chapter is not code heavy, but there is enough to get the message across.

Likes

Clear Inter-Block Dependences. No bones about it, the Enterprise Library can be a monster. This version is much better than past versions, where using one thing would lead to another dependency and then to another and so on and and so on…  EntLib v5 is much better in than respect, but there are still times when a given Block’s feature relies on another Block’s capability. I really liked how this book made those dependencies, both required and optional ones, clear.

References (as in Visual Studio Project References). While newly released utilities, like NuGet, make managing Project References much easier, I still liked how the book made the required and optional references crystal clear.

Just enough printed code to get you going. Since this is an overview book, too much code would be a determent. This book provided enough code to get you over the initial learning curve, without being too much. i.e. No pointless code dumps with little purpose just to fill pages…

Block Based Chapters. Being organized into Block based chapters makes it much easier to learn what you need to learn and to use the book as a reference.

Unity. I liked how instantiating each block was shown three different ways; traditional, and two Unity based approaches. This felt like a real world approach to using EntLib fully.

GUI Config and Options. Like I’ve said, EntLib can be a monster. There are just SO many options, switches, knobs and widgets that getting things going and configured can be daunting. Again EntLib v5 is much better than past versions, but there’s so much in it that some config overload is almost impossible to avoid. That’s why I like how the EntLib GUI configuration was shown and discussed for each Block. Just enough information and walk-through to get you going and comfortable without filling the pages with every, single, possible option and choice. Just enough to get going and up the config learning curve.

Improvements/Thoughts (i.e. what else I’d like to see)

These thoughts are not digs at this book, but more toward how this book got me hungry for more… After reading this book I’m very much ready for the “201/301” book. I’m ready to see more real world usage scenarios, deployment and post-deployment/operation information. The book got us started on the road, but from start to finish, the road is long and windy.

I’d also like to see more information about contrib projects and means for extending Enterprise Library. There’s a ton of third parties doing some cool things to extend EntLib. It would be cool to see more of these projects, to avoid re-inventing any wheels, etc.

While the GUI config information was cool, I’d also like to see more config details and options. For example, I’d really like to know more about code based config for EntLib, more information about the EntLib Fluent Config, etc.

More code. Yeah, I know, I know. I just said that the level of code in the book was a good thing and now I saying that I wish there was more? While I am happy with the level of printed code, if I put on my dev hat, I just want more. I learn by example, I learn by seeing code, in seeing stuff being used. So with my dev hat on all I’m saying is that I’m ready for more EntLib usage code snips.

What Did I Learn?

Even though I’ve been following Enterprise Library developments for years, there’s still a good bit that I learned. For example, I did not know that the Data Access Block had the capability to automatically map between POCO’s and data. Yeah, you can use the Data Access Block and its Accessor capability to map an object to parameters and results. Think kind of like Entity Framework, but all in code…

Another example of something I learned was how the Validation Block can be used to validate objects via configuration. Through config only you can set up objects/properties to validate and change the validations post-deployment. Think about having classes where you don’t own the code, but you want to add validations to them, to even change the validations post-deployment. That’s where this capability comes into play. I really liked this idea and have been thinking about how I can use it since I read it…

And that’s just a couple things I picked up from this book. Sometimes to pick something up, to get the zen of it, you need to see the whole of it in front of you (i.e. not broken into bits and pieces that you get from online doc’s, chm’s, blog posts, etc)

Final Thoughts

Who is this book for? I think the perfect person for this book is the technical development manager or project lead who wants/needs an overview of the Enterprise Library. It’s not really for the down and dirty coder looking for depth, but a higher level (but not “business manager” level) look at the Enterprise Library. Say you’re a dev who’s seen this Library, downloaded it and now want to use it in a project, but you have to sell it to your Lead/Manager/etc. They need to learn just enough about the Library to feel comfortable in it and what it does… THAT, in my opinion, is the sweat spot for this book.

All in all I think the book is a good resource and one I will very likely use (to “sell” EntLib to a Lead/Manager/etc ;) in future.

Thanks again to Packt for giving me the opportunity to review it.

 

Special Offer (Limited Time)

Below are the discount codes for the following formats:
1. acprbk  - Print Book
2. acprebk- e-book

These discount codes are exclusively for you, my readers , which give you a discount of 18%. All you need to do is enter the code in the 'Promotion Code' field on the Packt website and click 'Update' during checkout. The discount will automatically be applied and these discount codes are only valid until January 31st , 2011.

The book can be purchased via, Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0

 

Related Past Post XRef:
[Pre-Book Review] Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0

Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0 and Unity 2.0 RTW (& EntLib 3.x, 4.x to 5.0, Unity 1.x to 2 Migration Guide)
Enterprise Library 4.0 RTW (May 2008)
Unity 1.0, Microsoft's Dependency Injection, Inversion of Control (DI/IOC) Container, has RTW'ed
Enterprise Library 3.0 - April 2007 Released
Enterprise Library for .NET Framework 2.0 RTM (January 2006)
Enterprise Library MSN Messenger Log Listener
"Avanade Integration Pack for Microsoft Enterprise Library Released"
Enterprise Library Logging : Rolling Flat File Sink
Microsoft Enterprise Library Tutorials
Microsoft Enterprise Library WebCasts
Download details: Enterprise Library
Enterprise Library (New release of the patterns & practices Application Blocks)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

[Pre-Book Review] Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0

[Disclaimer: This book was provided to me for free by the publisher.]

The hungry guys at [Packt] have given me a chance to review another of their books, this time the Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0. Given my past interest in EntLib I couldn’t pass it up…

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The book just arrived and I’ll be going through it in the coming weeks. In the mean time to wet your appetite here’s a press release and a sample chapter (Chapter 1)…

“Press Release

November 2010

Develop enterprise applications using Packt's new Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0 book

Packt is pleased to announce Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0, a new book that helps programmers to  develop enterprise applications using the enterprise library application blocks as well as set up the initial infrastructure configuration of the application blocks using the configuration editor. Written by Sachin Joshi, this book provides an in-depth knowledge about the individual functional Application Blocks as well as enabling reconfiguration of various applications in order to improve testing of the application in isolation.

Microsoft Enterprise Library is a collection of reusable application blocks designed to assist software developers with common enterprise development challenges. It provides an API to facilitate best practices in core areas of programming including data access, security, logging, exception handling and others. Enterprise Library is provided as pluggable binaries and source code, which can be freely used and customized by developers for their own purposes.

Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0 gives programmers an overview of the different reusable software components in the Enterprise Library and their inter-dependencies which helps in increasing productivity through the satisfaction of common application concerns. It gives a thorough analysis on the implementation of custom trace listener, log formatter, and log filter as well as configuring the Exception Handling block and wrap.

This book's step-by-step tutorial provides complete guidance towards the development of small applications in order to implement the functions in each application block. Users would be able to configure the Exception Handling block, and wrap or replace exceptions using a Wrap Handler or a Replace Handler. They can also implement a custom Hash Provider and Symmetric Cryptography Provider.

Programmers, consultants or associate architects, interested in developing enterprise applications will find this book an interesting and beneficial read. This book is out now and available from Packt. For more information please visit www.packtpub.com/microsoft-enterprise-library-5-0/book

Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0 - Chapter 1

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Related Past Post XRef:
Microsoft Enterprise Library 5.0 and Unity 2.0 RTW (& EntLib 3.x, 4.x to 5.0, Unity 1.x to 2 Migration Guide)
Enterprise Library 4.0 RTW (May 2008)
Unity 1.0, Microsoft's Dependency Injection, Inversion of Control (DI/IOC) Container, has RTW'ed
Enterprise Library 3.0 - April 2007 Released
Enterprise Library for .NET Framework 2.0 RTM (January 2006)
Enterprise Library MSN Messenger Log Listener
"Avanade Integration Pack for Microsoft Enterprise Library Released"
Enterprise Library Logging : Rolling Flat File Sink
Microsoft Enterprise Library Tutorials
Microsoft Enterprise Library WebCasts
Download details: Enterprise Library
Enterprise Library (New release of the patterns & practices Application Blocks)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

[Book Review] “VirtualBox 3.1 – Beginner’s Guide”

[Full Disclosure Notice: The mentioned book was provided to me free by the publisher. This review is my own. The publisher has not seen it, nor promoted me in its content in any way, shape or form. All they did is provide the book free and asked me to review it… ]

The guys at Packt Publishing have given me a copy of “VirtualBox 3.1 – Beginner’s Guide” by Alfonso V. Romero read and to share with you.

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Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Getting to Work with VirtualBox

Chapter 2: Creating Your First Virtual Machines: Ubuntu Linux

Chapter 3: Creating Your Second Virtual Machines: Windows 7

Chapter 4: Installing Guest Additions and Advanced Settings

Chapter 5: Storing Data in VirtualBox

Chapter 6: Networking with Virtual Machines

Chapter 7: Using Virtual Appliances

Chapter 8: Managing your Virtual Machines from a Remote Computer

Appendix A: Using Snapshots

Appendix B: Pop Quiz Answers

Overview

The book takes you from download to being productive with Sun’s/Oracle’s VirtualBox. Each chapter builds on the previous and not only walks you through each topic area step by step but also takes a step back and talks about “what just happened.” (i.e. it’s not a ton of simple screenshots and “click, click, click” instructions but also works to “teach you to fish”)

Likes 

One of the things I liked about the book is used a number of techniques to engage the reader and to help get a chapter’s point across. For example, an ongoing story/scenario was used to relate a chapter to something that might have, or will, happen to you “in the real world.” This made the reading more engaging, applicable and much less dry. It also took you beyond what you might read online (via wiki’s, VirtualBox doc’s, etc).

That was one of my questions when first getting the book. What will this teach me that I couldn’t just look up online? How is the price of the book versus the tons of free online information?

The problem is that the “tons of online information” is really “crud loads of data.” It’s up to the reader to turn it into “information” and then wisdom. This book jumpstarts your drive to VirtualBox wisdom, helping you better “know what you don’t know.”

It’s a Beginner’s Guide, so you’ll not walk away a VirtualBox Zen Master, but you WILL be on the path towards becoming one… (especially if you were like me and hadn’t ever installed or used VirtualBox)

Improvements

What did I think could be improved? Well you know I live in a mostly Microsoft world… So I wish there had been a little more coverage there. For example, Microsoft makes a number of it’s trial products available as VM’s. I would have liked to see some guidance/help/information on taking an existing Virtual PC 2007/Windows Virtual PC/Hyper-V VHD and converting it VirtualBox. Also I’d have liked to see why VirtualBox is better than the Windows Virtual PC that I already have. Something simple, a side-by-side chart would do. Just something to help me get over the concern of having two VM systems in place on the same machine (Windows 7 Virtual PC and VirtualBox).

What did I learn?

So did I actually apply anything I read in the book? You bet! Just yesterday, I used this book to help me resolve an issue my son and I were having with a legacy game what wouldn’t run well on Win7 x64 (nor in Windows Virtual PC). After reading this book and finally having my eyes opened to the capabilities of VirtualBox, it seemed well worth the effort to try to resolve this long standing issue.

So I downloaded the latest version of VirtualBox and was able to very quickly, because I already had exposure to, and a basic understanding of from my reading, get a VM created, storage added, settings configured, tweaked and VM shared. In the end I was able to be a Tech Hero to my son because I was finally able to get the game he’s wanted to play for months now working on his notebook. All because of this book (and VirtualBox)… I’ll call that a win!

Final Thoughts

In the end, one thing to remember is the subtitle “Beginner’s Guide”… It’s not Level 400 material, but then again it’s not supposed to be! It’s a guide to take the VirtualBox uninitiated and get you working and productive with it with no fuss, muss or tears.

Would I recommend a friend or coworker buy this book if they wanted to learn about VirtualBox (even if they lived in a mostly Microsoft world)? Oh yeah, no question about it. Matter of fact I AM going to be recommending it to a number of coworkers whom I know are VirtualBox users… ;)

 

Related Past Post XRef:
[Coming Soon][Book Review] “VirtualBox 3.1 – Beginner’s Guide”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

[Coming Soon][Book Review] “VirtualBox 3.1 – Beginner’s Guide”

[Full Disclosure Notice: The mentioned book was provided to me free by the publisher. This review, well pre-review, is my own. The publisher has not seen it, nor promoted me in its content in any way shape or form. All they did is provide the book free and asked me to review it… ]

The cool dudes at Packt Publishing have given me a copy of “VirtualBox 3.1 – Beginner’s Guide” by Alfonso V. Romero to review. I’ve had the book for a few weeks now and am very slowly working my way through it (mostly it’s been sitting on my desk mocking me).

image

This post is an attempt to try to help keep my honest (and as a self kick in the rear) toward finishing the book and doing a quick write up on it. LOL…I make it seem like the book is hard to read, don’t I? Or complicated? Actually that can’t be farther from the truth. So far, I’m really digging it, have found it a great guide and very easy to read and follow.

I’ve been following Microsoft’s virtualization for forever and secondly a VMWare a little. But VirtualBox not so much (cough… not at all…sough). So it’s as if this book was written for me. So far, each chapter has me doing something, trying something new, a different feature, etc. So as book draws you deeper, your knowledge builds… (funny that ;)

Anyway, I’m going to finish up the book in the come week(s) and do a more complete review. In the mean time, if you want to get a jump on it, you can check it out here, “VirtualBox 3.1 – Beginner’s Guide

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Book Review: “Software Testing with Visual Studio Team System 2008” from PACKT Publishing

Software Testing with Visual Studio Team System 2008

“A comprehensive and concise guide to testing your software applications with Visual Studio Team System 2008

  • Test your software applications with Visual Studio Team System 2008 and rest assured of its quality
  • Create a structured testing environment for your applications to produce reliable products
  • Comprehensive yet concise guide with a lot of examples and clear explanations
  • No knowledge of software testing is required, only basic knowledge of Visual Studio 2008 operation is expected

…”

PACKT Publishing was recently kind of enough to send me a review copy of their “Software Testing with Visual Studio Team System 2008” book. Over the last few days I’ve been spending some quality time with the book and I have to say I’m better for it.

This book provides a nice overview, level 100+, guide to the testing capabilities found in the Visual Studio 2008. From unit testing through the features of the Test Edition, you’re provided a good working level introduction and usage overview.

Software Testing with Visual Studio Team System 2008 - Table of Contents

Preface
Chapter 1: Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Types
Chapter 2: Unit Testing
Chapter 3: Web Testing
Chapter 4: Advanced Web Testing
Chapter 5: Load Testing
Chapter 6: Manual, Generic, and Ordered Tests
Chapter 7: Managing and Configuring the Test
Chapter 8: Deploying and Running Tests
Chapter 9: Command Line
Chapter 10: Working with Test Results
Chapter 11: Reporting

…”

I’m not going to go into details into the book’s content, as I find those kinds of reviews a little hard to read. I am instead going to tell you what I personally gained from the book and what I learned…

First of all the book was a little unusual in that the images, screenshots, etc are not titled, i.e. there was no “Figure #…” on the images. I found that a little disconcerting. It didn’t detract from the content and I can see how the logical flow of the text and images might of made them superfluous, yet until I got used to it, it was a little distracting. It’s weird how something so very little and usually taken for granted can, where missing, can have such an effect. Again through, this was a very minor thing and something I quickly got used to.

So what did I walk away with?

Well I’ve been using some of the testing features in Visual Studio for a while now, yet like many of us, I’ve learned about those features “just in time.” When I’ve needed to use a given capability, I’ve played with it, searched for a minute or two, beat on it and then got it to do pretty much what I needed. And then stopped there. That’s the just nature of our space these days. Too much to learn and do to become experts on much of anything. We need to find out how to use something quickly, get it going in our environment and then move on to the next challenge.

That’s one of the things I liked about this book. It was a quick read, yet detailed enough to get me using some features and capabilities that I didn’t know I needed until I read the book. It helped me flesh out and discover a number of things I didn’t know I didn’t know.

“Enough of generalities, Greg! What were some of the things you learned! Fess up!”

Ordered Tests
I had ignored Ordered Tests until I read about them here. I’m not sure how I feel about Ordered Test, as I do not like the idea of tests having to run in a specific order (as that’s very anti-unit test’ie), bug living in the real world I can see where this could help me today.

Asserts
I hadn’t realized the number of “Asserts” available. I mean wow. There are like a billion Assert.AreEqual overloads. Then there’s the StringAssert which I don’t think I knew about. And also the CollectionAssert...

Of course I’ve been using Assert.’s for a while, but I didn’t know the scope of possible ones I could be using (i.e. falling into a “Just in time learning” trap). Seeing all the different unit testing assert options opened my eyes and really got my mental gears turning…

Web Testing Includes Web Service Testing
It never really dawned on me that I could use the Web Testing to test Web Services. Makes sense in hind sight, but hind sight is always 20-20 isn’t it? I don’t do much “web” so every time I saw “Web Testing” I saw “ASP.Net web site/page testing” and so blew it off. Well now my blinders have been removed and I’ll be adding some in the very near future.

Data Driven Unit Testing
I do allot of data driven testing in my unit tests, but the initial learning curve was a little steep. This book makes it look easy (which it is ONCE you know the tricks).

Load Testing
Another blinder point for me was that I always associated VSTS “Load Testing” with Web Testing. I didn’t know that you could ALSO use Load Testing with “normal” unit tests.

TFS Report Writing
As I’ve blogged about in the past, writing a report against TFS can be pain. Again, it’s a learning curve thing. Well while this book doesn’t go into depth on this subject it does cover it and provides a nice leg up on getting started. It also provides a short view on using Excel as the report tool (i.e. hooking Excel up to the TFS OLAP cube/Data Warehouse)

 

Final Word

I would recommend this book for those who have heard of the testing capabilities of Visual Studio 2008, yet haven’t been able to squeeze in the time to take the plunge. I would also recommend this book to “functional/hands on Dev Managers” who need to get up to speed on Visual Studio testing. If you are already knee deep in VS Test/testing and are looking for deep, highly detailed, level 300-400 content, then this book is likely not for you (but it might be good to give to your new/associate Dev’s).

Would I have bought this book? Yes. And I can see myself returning to it, using it as a reference in the near future as well…

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Free “Visual Studio 2008 Test Types” Chapter from “Software Testing in Visual Studio Team System 2008” from Packt Publishing‏