Ged Mead (XTab) is a Microsoft Visual Basic MVP who has been working on computer software and design for more than 25 years. His journey has taken him through many different facets of IT. These include training as a Systems Analyst, working in a mainframe software development environment, creating financial management systems and a short time spent on military laptop systems in the days when it took two strong men to carry a 'mobile' system.
Based in an idyllic lochside location in the West of Scotland, he is currently involved in an ever-widening range of VB.NET, WPF and Silverlight development projects. Now working in a consultancy environment, his passion however still remains helping students and professional developers to take advantage of the ever increasing range of sophisticated tools available to them.
Ged is a regular contributor to forums on vbCity and authors articles for DevCity. He is a moderator on VBCity and the MSDN Tech Forums and spends a lot of time answering technical questions there and in several other VB forum sites. Senior Editor for DevCity.NET, vbCity Developer Community Leader and Admin, and DevCity.NET Newsletter Editor. He has written and continues to tutor a number of free online courses for VB.NET developers.
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I'm sure that the 80/20 Rule applies to Visual Studio 2005 in much the same way as it applies to most large applications or major software suites; that's the belief that 80% of users only make use of 20% of the tools available. And when the tool is as comprehensive and complex as the Visual Studio IDE it isn't really surprising if this is the case. This book aims to help you increase your productivity by showing you how to use many of the tools available.
As I was reading through the book, I started to write detailed comments on each chapter but - with a total of 56 chapters to get through - I discovered before I was halfway through that if I kept it up, the review would be almost as long the book ! So I have just homed in with details on those that particularly caught my attention for one reason or another. The other chapters generally just get a quick summary. The list of chapter headings is available from the Wiley site here.
The book has been broken down into ten parts which are listed below (there is more detail of what they contain on the next page). Although some of the topics are spread between more than one Part, generally the authors have tried to keep related material together. Not an easy task with such a diverse range of subjects and it is almost inevitable that some of the links between main heading and chapter title are a bit artificial.
The ten parts are:
- The IDE
- Project and Solution Design
- Documentation and Research
- Security and Modeling
- Other Time Savers
- Build and Deployment
- Debugging and Testing
- Extensions for VS 2005
Quite usefully, the Wiley site also offers you a chance to look at the sub-topics covered chapter by chapter. You can view or download it in PDF format from here. If you are thinking about buying this book, I would recommend that you take a look at this as it is a very useful guide to what each chapter covers in detail.
You can check out the authors' writing styles by viewing the PDF version of Chapter 1 which is available here. As you will see if you do view that sample chapter, the explanations are liberally interspersed with screen shots; something that is quite useful in a book of this kind.