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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Nice Reviews

Two more nice reviews for the Compact Framework book:

From Developer Central
January 7, 2004 - Vol. 3 #8

ARCHITECTURE AND BEST PRACTICES FOR MOBILE DEVELOPMENT, by Dan Fox and Jon Box (Addison-Wesley): The title's a mouthful, but the book is a good one for the experienced .NET developer trying to move on to the smaller platforms. It starts with a lot of excellent material that tries to sort out the confusing welter of platforms, development tools, protocols and so on that are unique to PDAs and other compact devices. The authors then go into some of the key architectural aspects of working with the .NET CF: ActiveSync, remote data access, using SQL Server CE, and so on.
There are chapters on localization, security, and deployment issues, and a wrapup of "Developer Challenges" that points out some pitfalls and suggests solutions. It's not a behemoth of a book, but its focused information will be useful to many developers."

From Know Dot Net (click the link to see the entire review)
by William Ryan

"If you've done much programming with Microsoft products, then you have probably know the names Jon Box and Dan Fox. If you aren't familiar with them, suffice to say that they are two of .NET's heaviest hitters and know their art as well as it can be known. When two guys like this write a book, it's a sure bet it will be excellent, and IMHO, it's superb....This book is pragmatic in the 'big picture' sense and really focuses on the 'why' type questions regarding the Compact Framework and then fills in the gaps with plenty of code examples.

Including indexes, appendices and all that good stuff, the book is just under 370 pages hosting 9 Chapters. The first three chapters focus primarily on the background of the Compact Framework and what it can do for you. Personally, I've been developing with the compact framework for over a year now, help run a website covering mobile development exclusively and spend a good part of my time following the mobility scene. Normally, 'what is' type chapters are something I'd breeze over, but I found there coverage of it very interesting. They discussed the whole gamut of mobile devices, what you'd need to write applications for them and how the compact framework fits into all of this. Using real world anecdotes from their company and providing some first rate "Related Reading" links, the first three chapter can get someone totally clueless about mobility up and running very quickly.

After this general discussion, things get much more targeted. When you think of mobile development, you don't have a whole lot of real estate and the whole environment is much different. As such, the major areas of concern for most developers will be, building a UI, Accessing Data under multiple scenarios (after all, you probably won't have network connectivity whenever its needed so working offline is just as important as working online) and security. These three areas are covered very well....

Another important aspect of CF development that they do a great job on is Synchronization. After all, if your PDA only acts as a stand-alone island never communicating with other devices, it probably won't be of much use to you. Anyway, only about 20 pages are dedicated to Synchronization and 15 of those to ActiveSync but those 15 pages are so detailed and to the point that they are all most developers will probably need. If I've seen such a large topic discussed so succintly and effectively, I can't recall it.

Next comes security and they really knocked the ball out of the park here...Well, they dedicate almost 25 pages to this subject and really do a nice job. It's nice to see that so much emphasis is put into such a dry yet critical subject...

In summary, I think this is a first rate book by two first rate authors. The discussion of security alone justifies the price of the book but that's not to say that they didn't do a great job everywhere else. I also think that this book is particularly cool because of its emphasis on architectural considerations, which are easy to overlook and potentially devastating if not given the necessary attention. Overall, I think it's safe to say that if you buy this book, you'll consider it a great investment."

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