Microsoft Press MCPD Exam Ref: 70-518 Review

I recently had a chance to review “Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0” by Tony Northrup and Matthew A Stoecker. This book is one of the new Microsoft Press Exam Ref series books, meant for exam takers with more experience. They won’t replace the Training Kit series but they can be used together. Each has its place when working towards your ceertification.

This is a very well written, well organized book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is currently studying for or is contemplating taking the 70-518 exam. But it is not written for beginners. The book is mostly theory, you won’t find many code examples or step by step walkthrough examples here. The points the authors made are clear, but I found myself having to do additional research before I was able to fully grasp some of the concepts. That’s on me, not the book.

I like the layout of the chapters. There are 5 chapters, each mapping to a section of the exam, with each sections’ objectives listed. At the end of each is a summary and review of the concepts of the objective. The five chapters are

  1. Designing the Layers of a Solution
  2. Designing the Presentation Layer
  3. Designing the Data Access Layer
  4. Planning a Solution Deployment
  5. Designing for Stability and Maintenance

My favorite chapter is Chapter 3, Designing the Data Access Layer. I’ve felt that one of the overlooked areas of application design is data access; how to get the data to users and how to return data back to the data source. This chapter goes into some detail on the different methods available in .NET 4; ADO.NET, LINQ, Entity Framework, and WCF for example. The author address each one in turn, discussing the pros and cons of each, and there’s a handy guide for when to consider using each. This chapter is a good resource for everyone, not just exam takers.

I’m not quite ready to take the 70-518 exam, but when I am I’ll be referring to the material in this book again and again.