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Old March 30th, 2010, 11:42 PM
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Lightbulb What I look for in a PDS book

I'm 16 years into my career - currently a Director of Software Development managing 8 people on my team.

The majority of the applications we build are web based applications using the Microsoft stack of technologies (Visual Studio / Windows Server/ SQL Server / C#).

For my group, I'm always looking to leverage newer technologies that make us more efficient as a group. There's no glory from the business based on how good our middle tier is, or how we use the latest .NET CLR enhancements - they want speed, and applications "that work". However, I know with every release of .NET / CLR, my Software Developers have an opportunity to leverage more things that are provided via the Framework vs. coding it themselves. It's my job to provide guidance to the group, and the "answer key" of all the choices that we are going to use for our environment.

Imagine being a new developer with Visual Studio 2010, .NET 4.0, Entity Framework, MVC, etc. Can you imagine not writing a lick of ADO.NET code? If you're a new developer nowadays, that is a possibility for you.

With each release of .NET, I look to reevaluate the following:

1. Workstation Standards
2. Development Tool Standards
3. Requirements & Documentation Standards
4. Project Management Standards
5. Architecture & Code Standards
6. Source Control Standards
7. Testing Standards
8. Building Standards
9. Deployment Standards
10. Development Lifecycle Overview

Perhaps my list should be longer, but that's what I'm focusing on now.

With so many options (ie: Microsoft Application Architecture Guide, 2nd Edition, http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd673617.aspx) if there was a DSP book that had a complete integrated approach to my items above, using the latest technologies aligned with Microsoft Architecture Guidance - that would be the holy grail - for me at least.

This approach / framework / pattern should be time tested, used in multiple implementations, already "gone through the wringer" and dealt with all of the "I did this because of this" scenarios that any framework should have.

I don't need books that spend 3/5 of them giving me examples of how to build different pieces of functionality (ie: polls, newsletters, forums, store, calendar, photo gallery, etc.), nor do I need PDS book that gives me more choices (or solutions that are independant of each other), nor do I need a DSP book that leaves me with frameworks that use outdated technologies (LINQ 2 SQL, etc.).

I believe that a PDS book has the potential to show the author's recommendations for the solution as a whole, across all the areas that developers should be thinking about (as described above), not across all the functional areas you could build with these technologies.

That's what I want to learn from, and contrast my framework against. Pick up pointers on every piece of the framework, and be able to compare / contrast yet have the information about why you choose this path vs. any other option out there.

I'll download the source code for your solution so far and provide my feedback soon.

Do you have a table of contents we could at least reference to provide feedback on the book structure as well?

Thanks, Jason

Last edited by jgrovert; March 31st, 2010 at 12:10 AM..
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Old March 31st, 2010, 01:38 AM
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Jason,

Thanks for the very thoughtful comments. You make a lot of great points.

I'd like to respond to a few things:

>>> I don't need books that spend 3/5 of them giving me examples of how to build different pieces of functionality (ie: polls, newsletters, forums, store, calendar, photo gallery, etc.),

Well, that's kind of what the book is supposed to be about. If you read Marco's 2.0 book, you'll see that's pretty much the approach. However, there is a good reason for this, as it's tough the present all this new material without examples. Really, the site is supposed to serve as one giant example, instead of a resource that presents trivial samples that are just meant to showcase one thing (say, like they do on MSDN).


>>> and dealt with all of the "I did this because of this" scenarios that any framework should have.

I do this extensively in the "Design" sections of the chapters. There are a ton of choices you have to make when developing a site, especially at the beginning -- ORM or plain ADO.NET, what kind of ORM, what kind of services to use, server-side vs. client-side Ajax, layering and architecture, how much abstraction to build, which OSS projects to leverage, etc. etc. I lay out the various options and give pros and cons for each

>>> I'll download the source code for your solution so far and provide my feedback soon.

Awesome! I would absolutely love to hear your feedback!

Keep in mind that 1) The application is only about 20% done, and 2) I'm in the process of switching over from Web services to WCF as we speak. There's a good example right there of forgoing "frameworks that use outdated technologies". In my mind, I place Web services in the same category as Ling to SQL -- simple, incredibly useful, and not going anywhere for a long time... but clearly legacy technology.

>>> Do you have a table of contents we could at least reference to provide feedback on the book structure as well?

I do, but it's in a real state of flux right now. When it's more solidified I'll post it here and on CodePlex as well.
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