MS Press
Create Dynamic Charts in Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and Beyond   
Create Dynamic Charts in Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and Beyond, by Reinhold Scheck

Reviewed by Thomas Pohlmann, program manager, Microsoft Press Germany

When Reinhold Scheck called me some years ago to explain to me what dynamic Excel charts are, how cool they are, and why he had devised his own method to develop them, I did not immediately comprehend the achievements he was describing. A look into just a few of his sample charts converted me, however, into a big fan of him and his work. I’m tempted to advise you simply to get a copy of Reinhold’s book and look at a few of the 169 sample charts he provided; you’ll be so excited by the charts that you’ll want to read the whole book immediately to learn how to do this stuff yourself. But while you’re in review-reading mode, let’s get into a bit more detail about what you can find out by reading Reinhold’s book.

A dynamic chart includes controls that allow you to change the content of the chart. For a simple example, let’s say that you have five different product lines and want to look at their performance in the market. With a simple mouse click in a check box, you choose the product line for which the key indicators are shown in the chart. Even better: you can choose a combination of any two, three, or four product lines or all five of them to compare their success. One chart can present 30 different combinations of data--if I got my math right--all of which provide useful information.

You can also use scroll bars to move through different time periods, use lists to choose a display language for your chart presentation, or use a switch to change between different chart types--and these are just a few of the many possible ways dynamic charts allow you to display and examine data.

And how difficult is it? There’s no programming involved--you just need to begin with some basic Excel experience. Making use of dynamic charts is not anything anyone does by accident; you need to think and practice as you learn from this book. But Reinhold’s book supports your effort--which you’ll discover when you first show off your own dynamic Excel chart.

The book has quite a bit to offer beyond the dynamic chart technology. Those of you new to Excel 2007 will find a good overview of the changes in Excel and their effects since the last version. Also you get a tour of what science knows about perception and what that means for your charts. In addition, you learn design basics, such as the effects of colors, shapes, sizes, relations, and chart types and their purposes. Throughout the book, Reinhold offers many tips for improving your productivity and for designing effective and arresting charts.

Learn more about Create Dynamic Charts in Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and Beyond, by Reinhold Scheck.

Editor's Picks

For Developers

Inside the Microsoft Build Engine: Using MSBuild and Team Foundation Build   

Excerpted from the Introduction:

As software complexity continues to increase, more emphasis is being placed on proper build practices. Previously (before .NET 2.0) the build process for .NET applications was mostly a black box. Now this process has been completely externalized into the Microsoft Build Engine, MSBuild. MSBuild allows you to take control over every aspect of the build process. Since the release of MSBuild, there has been a need for a definitive reference. Inside the Microsoft Build Engine is that definitive reference! We have been working for over a year on this book, and the MSBuild team has been involved right from the beginning.

MSBuild files are just XML files. Since Visual Studio 2005 was introduced, managed projects have been converted into the MSBuild format. Because of this you are able to fine-tune, or even completely change, how your projects are built. Using MSBuild you can customize your build process by adding steps such as code generation, unit testing, or code analysis. You can also use MSBuild to assist in automating the build and deployment process, as well as implementing continuous integration.

This book contains 12 chapters, nine of which are devoted to MSBuild. The remaining three chapters are focused on Team Foundation Build 2008 (Team Build). Team Build 2008 is the latest version of the build automation component of Visual Studio Team System. It takes MSBuild to the next level by allowing it to scale to the team, product, or enterprise level. This is achieved by tight integration with the other components of Visual Studio Team System, including version control, testing, work item tracking, and reporting.

Team Build was one of the most enhanced components in Visual Studio Team System 2008 and addressed a number of limitations in earlier versions, resulting in an extremely powerful platform for automating build processes. This version includes functionality such as allowing builds to be queued on build machines, retention policies to automatically remove unneeded builds, and an improved and easier-to-use API for integrating Team Build into your own applications or external processes.

Another helpful feature of this book is that it explores the functionality that ships with Team Build 2008 and how it can be configured, customized, and extended to automate the end-to-end build process. This includes how to customize the build process to implement common requirements, such as generating API documentation, zipping build outputs and source code, and versioning assemblies. Finally, we’ll look at some of the Team Build functionality in Visual Studio Team System 2010 (code named "Rosario").

Who Is This Book For?

This book is written for everyone who uses MSBuild or Team Build. If you are using Visual Studio to write managed applications, then you are already using MSBuild. Inside the Microsoft Build Engine is for all .NET developers and build masters. If you are interested in learning more about how your applications are being built and how you can customize this process, then you need this book. If you are currently using or are interested in using Team Build, then this book is for you.

This book will help the needs of enterprise teams as well as single-person teams. Readers should be familiar with creating .NET applications. The reader is not required to be familiar with the build process, as this book will start from the basics and build on that. Because one of the most effective methods for learning is through examples, this book contains many examples.

For IT Professionals

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Step by Step   

Reviewed by Denise Bankaitis, project manager, Microsoft Press

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 is packed with new features and innovations. As is often the case with new and improved technology, some level of instruction is needed to be able to take full advantage of the product. Author Mike Hotek heeds the call with just the right guide to help you understand and get the most out of this powerful and comprehensive product. Mike has been a SQL Server professional for nearly 20 years. He teaches, writes, consults, and develops products and solutions that span every feature within SQL Server in addition to numerous application development languages. Mike has authored or co-authored seven books on SQL Server and has written dozen of articles. He has also taught hundreds of conference sessions and seminars and multiple classes worldwide.

Through his teaching and consulting experience, Mike has found that more than ever, IT professionals who deal in database administration are expected to be able to build and manage solutions that use every feature in SQL Server. With this expanding skill set in mind, Mike wrote Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Step by Step to "provide the first comprehensive tour of the entire set of features available within Microsoft SQL Server." After completing this tour, you should be equipped with the skills necessary to manipulate, retrieve, recover, and secure data; create tables and index structures; expand your application’s capabilities with programmable objects, and much more.

As part of the Step by Step series, this book provides a hands-on tutorial complete with numbered, step-by-step exercises and practice files on the book’s CD. This book is suitable for IT professionals who are new to SQL Server or are switching from another database.

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Understanding IPv6, by Joseph Davies
Writing Secure Code for Vista, by Michael Howard and David LeBlanc

MS Press

December 17, 2008

In This Issue:
Editor's Picks
Special Offers
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E-Book Program Offers:
Writing Secure Code for Vista by Michael Howard and David LeBlanc
Understanding IPv6 by Joseph Davies
Quick Links
Microsoft Press Online Developer Tools site
Microsoft Press Online Windows Server and Client site
Hot Sellers
For Developers
Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber

For Home and Office Users
Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Step by Step, by Curtis D. Frye

For IT Professionals
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Best Practices, by Ben Curry and Bill English with the Microsoft SharePoint Teams

For Certification
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-620): Configuring Windows Vista Client, by Ian McLean and Orin Thomas

Latest Releases
For Developers
Anytime, Anyplace: The New Way of Working, by Dik Bijl
How We Test Software at Microsoft, by Alan Page, Ken Johnston, and Bj Rollison

For Home and Office Users
Create Dynamic Charts in Microsoft Office Excel: For Excel 2007 and Beyond, by Reinhold Scheck

Coming Soon
For Developers
Inside the Microsoft Build Engine: Using MSBuild and Team Foundation Build, by Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi and William Bartholomew
Web Performance Improvement, by Mukesh Jain
How to Be Found: Search Engine Optimization, by Leon Warman
Microsoft .NET and SAP, by Juergen Daiberl, Steve Fox, Scott Adams, and Thomas Reimer

For Home and Office Users
Building Web Applications with Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 Step by Step, by John Jansen

For IT Professionals
Active Directory Administrator's Pocket Consultant, by William R. Stanek
Windows Small Business Server 2008 Administrator’s Companion, by Charlie Russell and Sharon Crawford

For Certification
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-432): Microsoft SQL Server 2008—Implementation and Maintenance, by Mike Hotek

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