Category Archives: Books

Book Review: Practical Microsoft Visual Studio 2015

While the title of the book is “Practical Microsoft Visual Studio 2015”, the author, Peter Ritchie, outlines how you can using Microsoft Visual Studio to effectively develop software and lead a team. Peter covers, a quick walk through of Microsoft Visual Studio, how to work with teams, version control, design and architecture, development, deployments, and testing. Anyone getting started with Microsoft Visual Studio or even experienced engineers, architects and leaders can find stuff in this that is useful for their day to day tasks. The best part of this book is the way the author explains each topic in a simple way based on his 20 or so ( 🙂 ) years being in the software field.

Disclaimer: I was one of the technical reviewers of this book.

Bootstrap for ASP.NET MVC Review

Starts off with a good introduction to using Bootstrap in your ASP.NET applications.  It covers the default “File | New” experience, manually added files and my favorite, NuGet. The author then continues with introducing the Bootstrap element styles in a logical order, starting with the grid and ending with form validation.  Next the author introduces the JavaScript components of Bootstrap.

In the next part of the book the author does what I have not seen in other books on Bootstrap, the author explains how to create helper methods, which is good but there already is a well used package for that in which the author has a chapter on on at the end of the book.

The author goes on to give suggestions are to how to work with and convert sites that do not have bootstrap.

I’m not sure why but the author included a whole chapter using the jQuery DataTables plugin with some of it’s extensions with Bootstrap.

Overall, the book was easy to read, the author was clear and logical in his explanations of Bootstrap. I would recommend this book to someone just starting to learn Bootstrap and working on ASP.NET applications.

Pro NuGet Book Review

First off, I love the subtitle “Your Salvation from Dependency Hell’, although NuGet does offer its own Dependency Hell sometimes.

The first chapter starts out as you would expect, how to get started with NuGet.  However, the authors  added a helpful page of links to the different NuGet tools and documentation that they would be referring to.

The next chapter goes through, in great detail, how to install, uninstall and upgrade NuGet from the user interface, NuGet Powershell Console and command line. They then continue to talk about NuGets solution package management and visualization features.

The third chapter is a doozy, the authors explain in great detail how to author a NuGet package. They cover versioning, dependencies, configuration transformations and more.

The next chapter covers publishing NuGet package in three different ways; on, through the command line, and NuGet Package Explorer. The authors continue the chapter by explaining how to publish the symbol files for you NuGet packages.

The authors then show you how you can host your own NuGet repository on your servers or use a service like to host your packages privately.

The next three chapters talk about integrating NuGet into you release management process for both continuous and automated delivery as well as integration with your build services (TFS and Team City)

The final two chapters talk about extending NuGet to add features to it and using NuGet to make your applications extendable.

Overall, this books first 5 chapters starts with what you would expect a book or a set of blog post on NuGet would. However, the authors provided a lot more than just the “normal” stuff, they added a lot of extra detail and reference points.  But what really sets this book apart from the rest is the last 5 chapters that go into how you can incorporate NuGet into your current environment and processes. It also provides lots of ideas on how you can custom NuGet and use NuGet to make your own application extensible. 

Book Review: Designing Evolvable Web APIs with ASP.NET

When I first learned about this book I could not wait to get my hands on it for two reasons.  One, my current work project involves designing an API for an application to “talk” to a wide variety of systems. The second is one of the authors, Glenn Block. I’ve known Glenn for a while. I’ve seen him present, I’ve talked with him, read his blog posts and knew the book would not disappoint and it did not.

The book starts off with covering the HTTP protocol, then moves into the different types of API styles like the Richardson Maturity Model, RPC, REST and others. The authors do this to give the readers an understanding of how the web works and why the Web API framework in ASP.NET is the way it is. The authors describe, in depth, building out an API, versioning it, applying security, formatting responses and talk about testability of an API.

In short, this book is a must have for anyone working on or designing any API.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in the hopes that I would review it. I only post reviews on books that I think would provide some benefit to the development community.

Get Designing Evolvable Web APIs with ASP.NET on Amazon.

Book Review: Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

When I first looked at the title of the book Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook I wondered what it could be about.  You can’t cook with Visual Studio, at least not yet 🙂 . It turns out that, outside of two chapters, the book is an series of getting started guides with topics the are new(ish) to Visual Studio 2013. It is not a bad thing. If you are getting started with using Visual Studio 2013 or Team Foundation Server or .NET 4.5.x, this book provides a good overview of the new features in Visual Studio and version 4.5.x of the .NET Framework.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in the hopes that I would review it. I only post reviews on books that I think would provide some benefit to the development community.

Get Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook on Amazon.

Book Review: NuGet 2 Essentials

A few months ago I was asked to be a Technical Reviewer for a new NuGet book coming out.  I happily said yes and a month or two later out came NuGet 2 Essentials .

The book starts off with the typical “Hello World” or in it’s case, the getting started with NuGet.  The authors do a good job of explaining what NuGet is, how to install it and how to use it to manage packages. They then go into great detail on the anatomy of a NuGet package, how to create, how to version, how to publish and how to add features to a package after it is deployed.  The final chapter is all about setting up your own NuGet server in your environment and how you can integrate NuGet into your continuous build process.

Overall, it is a good and quick read.  I find it a nice hand reference for when I am working on NuGet packages.

Get NuGet 2 Essentials on Amazon.

Book Review: ASP.NET Site Performance Secrets

When I first got this book I thought it was going to be a compilation of tips and tricks. I was quite surprised with the fact that it really wasn’t.  The author starts out by telling you how you to determine the bottlenecks in your site then goes into a lot of samples on how to correct and / or improve them. He covers memory, CPU, caching, compression and more.

This book is definitely worth a read then a reread every once in a while. I plan on implementing some of the suggestions for my sites.


Check out the book on the Packt Publishing site or ASP.NET Site Performance Secrets .

ASP.NET 3.5 Application Architecture and Design

Although this books title states the book is for ASP.NET 3.5 application architecture and design, you will be able to take these concepts well beyond ASP.NET.  The concepts and technics that this author conveys can be used for all Windows .NET development.  The author starts out explaining basic 1 tier architecture and eventually graduates you to a five tier architecture.

The book covers ER diagrams, domain modeling, common design patterns, SOA, WCF and even database design.  This book is a good starter book for those of you that want to move out of the developer role and start learning about basic principals in applications design.

There is only one downside the book and that is the formatting of the code samples.  There seems to be an issue with the spacing and tabs (at least in the book).  Other than that it is a good read.

You can purchase the book on the PackT Publishing site.

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

I typically post reviews of books based on technology topics like .NET, LINQ, etc. but I thought this book would be a could fit for the site.  This book is about creating effective PowerPoint slides which many technology professionals, like myself, do on a regular basis. On to the review…

The author breaks up the book into multiple chapters but not your typically kind of chapters.  These chapters are about the different parts that make up a slide; graphics, displaying data, diagrams, use of movement, etc.  Each chapter is typically closed with a Case Study which demonstrates the use of the technic or recommend. This is done by showing a before and after presentation.  The author also reinforces her points effectively by using graphics, colors and illustrations.

The book is chock full of handy tips and suggestions that anyone can use to create dazzling and effective PowerPoint slides.  If you present using PowerPoint, this is a must have.

LINQ in Action

I think the expression is "don’t cry over spilled milk…", well when my son spilled milk on this book I almost cried. Why would you cry over a book you ask? There are many reasons.  Not only does the book go into LINQ in depth (I know there is a C# in Depth book) but the authors cover all of the parts of the .NET framework that were created and needed for LINQ to function. In addition, all of the samples provided are both in C# and VB.NET. These samples are not your basic "Hello World" samples but useful reusable code snippets that get the point of the book section across.

The book starts of with an introduction to LINQ and the different versions of LINQ to xxx, more than enough to wet your whistle. The authors then go into the prerequisites of the .NET framework required, generics, anonymous types and lambda expressions.  This chapter was so good I read it twice.  The third chapter discusses how LINQ is made up.  After this, the authors go in depth in describing the different types of LINQ, including LINQ to SQL, LINQ to Objects and LINQ to Amazon with useful examples. 

This book will be a reference book on my book shelf.  I expect to refer to this book constantly.

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