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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

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

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


Book Review - Exam Ref 70-487: Developing Windows Azure and Web Services

Whether or not I take a Microsoft Certification exam, I like going through the Microsoft Press exam training guides as they are written to a practical learning plan (the curriculum  of the exam) and usually cover the most essential topics related to a subject without wasting your time. The writing is usually tight and the information presented is crisp and concise. I'm a fan of these Microsoft Press exam training guides but I was disappointed with the book Exam Ref 70-487: Developing Windows Azure and Web Services as it doesn't have the regular attributes.

I found it weird that the authors in several instances raise a point and then say its beyond the scope of the book. I don't understand why they mention that point at all? The book's content is verbose with personal opinions, rants & irrelevant details and leaves out explanations where they may be useful.

On the Parse & TryParse methods of CloudStorageAccount:
You can, and probably should, use the TryParse method in a similar fashion. The debate between using Parse versus TryParse is out of the scope of this book 

Here are a couple of other samples from Chapter 1, Objective 1.4:
The only interesting aspect of working with the queue API is what happens when you get a message.

Tables are a little more interesting in that you can search the data and interact with it. 

How can an author decide whether a topic is interesting or not?

I was annoyed with the numerous instances where the authors ask you to go look up some information in MSDN as if we didn't know. I feel this book could have been edited better as it feels more like a draft at some places.

Despite its flaws, the book consolidates all the topics required for the exam. If you plan on writing the exam, this book will save you the effort of combing the MSDN & Web to get everything together, though it won't be the ultimate guide.

As per a Microsoft MCP Newsletter, the exams 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications and 70-487: Developing Windows Azure and Web Services will be updated  in March 2014 as "The past year has seen Web application development evolve with the use of technologies such as ASP.NET MVC5, WebAPI2, Entity Framework 6, Azure Portal, and Visual Studio 2013". So, some parts of this book may get obsolete by that time.

I received a ebook copy of this book via the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program.

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