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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

Book Review: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation

Just like the ambience of the eating place & presentation of the food matter for a good gastronomic experience, to me the way technical information is presented is a key thing I look for when I buy a book.

I like checking out the MS Press Certification guides when starting off on new topics (eventhough I may not take the exam) because the lessons are mapped to an organized learning plan & the way the content is presented is easy to read & understand. I feel the curriculum for the 70-536 exam on Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation, introduced after .NET Framework 2.0 came out, is extremely relevant to .NET Developers & a similar exam should have been included in the .NET Framework 1.x series of certifications as well. In fact, the 70-536 exam will now continue to be the core requirement for both Visual Studio 2005 and the upcoming 2008 MCTS certifications.

The multi-authored tome MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation has all the ingredients of a good study guide. Unfortunately numerous errors/typos & an inconsistent writing style of some of the authors spoil the reading experience. For this, it has been rated 3 stars on Amazon & an unusually high number of readers have posted feedback. Some of the reviews posted there sum it up very well -

"Despite the harsh reviews, including one from one of my co-workers, I went with this book for 70-536 preparation simply because there isn't anything else out there."

"So many errors that it has to be done in 2 parts
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923018/en-us http://support.microsoft.com/kb/935218/en-us "

"I had to print off the errata (list of corrections and fixes) and it was OVER 60 PAGES."

"..it just makes it hard to read this book for an exam, because can you really trust the content 100%?"

"You can tell that different chapters were written by different authors. This goes from writing style in the text itself all the way down to sample code and labs found on the accompanying CD. C'mon, for the amount of effort put into this type of manual, and the perceived 'stakes' involved in passing these tests, give us some materials that are consistent so that as learners, we aren't distracted by the inconsistencies."

I regret having purchased my copy without reading the reviews on Amazon first. I hope the blemishes are removed in the newer editions.

Related links:
Book Review: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation

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Posted by Blogger FredAtMicrosoft | 2/22/2008 06:56:00 AM

Sorry to hear you had such a disappointing experience with that book. There really should be a better reference out there. If you want to get any info about ASP.NET under VS 2008, there will be plenty of experts on hand to answer questions at the Heroes Happen Here launch events. Plus you'll get a free version of Visual Studio 2008 for attending.

Fred Reckling
Microsoft 2008 Joint Launch Team

Posted by Anonymous Bill | 3/30/2011 11:32:00 PM

First up, I loved the intro to this post. I've never thought of my technical reading like that before, but I'd say I have to agree with you.
I've written the MCDST exams and found them pretty well put together.
I'm currently looking at doing the SQL Server exams - I think the next one I'll be studying for is the 70-431 one. I hope the text books are better than the ones you experienced. I'll be sure to do some research first though on Amazon.
Thanks for the heads up though.

Bill Jenkins
Webmaster, MyBestGasGrillReviews.com
(Gas Grill Reviews)    


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