I recently passed my MCTS 2008 Development (70-433). Yay me! That made my 3rd 2008 certification. This one was probably the easiest so far since I’ve been a DBA Developer (as opposed to Administrator) for the vast majority of my career (16 of the last 22 years). After reviewing the skills required I found that the information I needed to study included changes since 2000 (I haven’t done much development in 2005 and 2008), XML, CLR and Powershell. So what did I do? I picked up a book. Well, actually I skimmed a number of the books I had from studying for the administration track to learn about the changes since 2000. For the rest I picked up the book “SQL Interoperability Joes 2 Pros Volume 5” by Rick A Morelan. This book claimed to be everything I needed. It covers XML, C# and Powershell. I made the assumption that the C# was related to CLR and was correct.
First let me give a general description of the book. It uses large print with lots of pictures. Because of this it’s a fairly quick read. Even working every example I was able to finish a chapter in a couple of hours tops. The media related to the book is easily downloaded from the Joes 2 Pros site. If you are starting from scratch and have to get all 5 books in the set it might get a bit pricy at a total of around $180. It’s a lot of information though so I can understand why it was split up the way it was. If you are in a situation like mine however, where you just need a few specific pieces, it can be perfect.
This book focuses mostly on XML. In fact probably about 2/3 of the book covers XML. This isn’t unreasonable given the focus on XML in the 70-433 compared to the focus on CLR and Powershell. Each chapter is broken into different sections with lots of examples and a nice smooth progression of information. At the end of each section are “labs”. The set up scripts for both the work within the sections and the labs worked flawlessly. They set up several databases with easy to follow tables and data that followed along with the chapters very well. At the end of each chapter there are “Points to Ponder”, which is basically a summary, a glossary and a review quiz. Then as a kind of bonus, there is a PowerPoint “game” called BugCatcher in the downloadable media for each chapter.
I found that if I followed along with the examples through the chapter, did the labs, skimmed the Points to Ponder and the glossary and of course did the review quiz I ended up with a good grasp of the material. The book nicely builds up your knowledge section by section and chapter by chapter. Honestly by the time I was done with the book it felt like I had gone through an instructor lead class on the material.
Really the only problem I ran into was a few typos and editing issues. A fair number of books I’ve read have them and at least in this case they didn’t distract too much from learning the material. Over all I would highly recommend the book for someone who needs to learn this particular material. I ended up getting all but one of the XML questions on my 70-433 correct and I believe I got all of the CLR and Powershell questions correct which is really the best recommendation I can give.