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  • Book review : WPF 4 training kit

    Posted on July 15th, 2011 Thibaut 3 comments
    WPF 4 training kit

    I bought this book with the only objective to pass the WPF4 MCTS exam and I aced it ! So, this official training kit did the job. But let’s talk about the content and some remarks. The book covers the various topics that you are required to know to pass the exam. Those can be found on the Microsoft website. At the end of each chapter, you find exercices – exam style – to test your knowledge. There’s also a CD containing a digital copy of the book (pretty convenient if you want to search for keywords in the book) but more importantly you can practice using a program under different modes. Basically, study mode allows you to target specific topics with no limitation in time while certification mode puts you in exam situation using a timer. So that’s definitely valuable tooling to prepare you for passing the exam.

    Pros

    • Official training kit from Microsoft press, solely designed to make you pass the exam
    • Pragmatic and efficient approach, much easier to study with than the MSDN (which I used first when this book wasn’t released yet)
    • Did the job : I aced the exam scoring 90%

    Cons

    • Some errors in the book (minor though)
    • Some questions on the program related to topics that are not covered in the book

    Conclusion

    Valuable resource to help you pass the exam. Although, to make sure you pass it, don’t only rely on the book as the exam requires real experience that you cannot acquire by just reading. I also had questions during the exam about stuff that wasn’t covered in the book, so make sure you don’t limit your study to this book. I also read WPF4 Unleashed which was useful, you can find my review here. Good luck ;)

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  • Techdays 2010 - Day 1 (31 March) : my notes

    Posted on April 19th, 2010 Thibaut No comments

    I finally take the time to blog my notes about the 2010 edition of the Techdays, after some pretty busy weeks of work dealing with deadlines.

    Session 1 - Developer keynote
    By Anders Hejlsberg, Hans Verbeeck, …

    • Evolution of computer languages (from Turbo Pascal to now) and evolution of hardware (HDD capacity : 100 000 x, RAM : 10 000 x, CPU : 1 000 x)
    • Evolution of tools : debugger, profiler, huge frameworks, …
    • 3 major trends today
      • Dynamic
      • Concurrent
      • Declarative (more on WHAT instead of HOW)
    • Multi-core CPUs : need to develop accordingly (Parallel Linq, Task Parallel Library, …)

    Session 2 - Silverlight 4 & WPF 4
    By Gill Cleeren and Katrien De Graeve

    • Silverlight 4
      • Printing : visual tree to select what to print
      • Drag & drop : even from an external app (eg : drag an image from the explorer to Silverlight). Also works on Mac
      • Right-click support
      • Webcam & microphone support enabling powerful applications : scan barcodes with the webcam, …
      • RichTextBox : rich formatting (fonts, colors, images, …) into a TextBox
      • Out of browser enhancements : notification windows with custom look, complete control over the window (change the size, no borders, …)
      • Trusted out of browser apps : go beyond the sandbox
    • WPF 4
      • Visual Studio 2010 : built onto WPF
      • Better tooling : similar to WebForms design
      • Support for Win7 : multi-touch, ribbon, taskbar manipulation, …
    • When to use Silverlight or WPF ?
      • Tip of Gill Cleeren : “make Silverlight the default choice for business apps unless you require specific WPF features”

    Session 3 - C# 4.0 and beyond
    By Anders Hejlsberg

    • Dynamic keyword : be static as much as you can (compilation checks, performance, refactoring, error checking, …). dynamic should be use to simplify the syntax (replacing invoke, binding flags, etc)
    • Optional & named parameters : avoid multiple overloads, supply default values. Better experience with interop : no more 15 “missing” parameters
    • Co & contra variance : to simplify, developers can now work easier with collection types, and have less problems with linq queries
    • Compiler as a service : API of the compiler (meta programming, language objet model, …). Introduction of the new CSharpEvaluator class

    Session 4 - ORM with entity framework in .NET 4.0
    By Kurt Claeys and Hans Verbeeck

    • ORM : working with relational tables like objects in memory
    • Why use it ?
      • Productivity
      • DB independance
      • Hides complexity, uniform way of working
    • Entity framework is a Microsoft strategic technology (they use it in Reporting Services), which is a sign that they bet a lot on it
    • 2 ways of working
      • Model first : DB doesn’t exist yet, design classes and generate SQL code from it
      • DB first : DB already exists, generate classes from it

    Session 5 - ASP.NET MVC 2 : ninja black belt tips
    By Scott Hanselman

    • First, Scott gives us a tip to avoid repeating the same code : use T4 (text templating) to automate it (related article)
    • Hybrid apps : you don’t have to choose between ASP.NET Webforms & MVC. Ex : codeplex is written with both, some parts being exclusively WebForms or MVC
    • Then, a lot of demos…

    Session 6 - Building Windows Phone apps with Silverlight
    By Giorgio Sardo

    • A lot of demos in this session about what can be done with the phone (layout rotation, custom styling, …)
    • To summarize, a citation from the speaker : if you’re a Silverlight developer, you’re a Windows Phone developer

    And that’s it for the first day ! See you in a next post for my notes about day #2 ;)

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