Book Review: 70-502 Training Kit by MS Press
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Published: 17 Dec 2008
This is a book review on MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-502: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Presentation Foundation. The author reveals the information set out in each chapter and how using this book will help prepare the reader for the test required to obtain the MCTS certification on WPF.
by Andrea Colaci
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This book is designed for developers who plan to get the MCTS certification on WPF. It covers all fundamentals needed to build client applications with WPF.

WPF changes the way of designing the user interface while offering a wide range of new functionalities and powerful features, but also requires learning many new "rules" and declarative programming with Xaml, that might initially discourage a WinForm developer. Once you learn the Xaml's basics, it will be easier for an developer who is accustomed to write markup code. The effort will be rewarded for sure.

The book is organized in 10 chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the different kinds of applications that can be built with WPF: Windows Applications, Navigation Applications and XBAPs, explaining the pro and the cons of each one. Chapter 2 is one of most interesting because it introduces real new concepts like event routing and commands that could simplify the design of complex interfaces. Chapter 3 is an overview of WPF controls with the introduction of a new templating and layout management features. Chapter 4 is about graphics and multimedia content, also discovering how to manage binary resources and images. Chapter 5 is also another must read chapter, it is all about new data binding mechanism in WPF and explains how to bind to different sources like objects, custom objects and xml. This chapter also describes the new Data Templates feature.

Chapter 6 introduces data conversion and validation. Chapter 7 is about how-to modify controls appearance with styles and enhance the interface with animations. Chapter 8 describes how to reuse Windows forms controls in WPF applications and how to create custom templates, WPF user controls and custom controls. Chapter 9 is very interesting because explains how to manage resources, how to create and manage XPS Documents, describes the new enhanced printing feature and finally how to deal with localization, suggesting best practice to localize WPF applications. Chapter 10 is about deployment, it explains the different options available to bring WPF applications on the user's PC, but focusing more on ClickOnce because is the preferred technology for WPF deployment.

I strongly recommend this book, its content is easily readable and flowing. Tips are added in each lesson, pointing to which are the concepts that will most likely to be asked during the exam. Each fundamental topic and new features introduced with WPF are clearly explained, but also a working experience in Windows application development with c# or is needed. The companion CD includes code samples, question review for each chapter and also a practice test that simulates the exam.

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