I couldn't pay for advertising this good!
I recently received a book that I thought was exceptional -- "Open Source .NET Development" by Brian Nantz. This book is basically a great introduction to lots of open source projects that should be a standard part of your toolbox. It also is a good mid-level primer on several of the more important open-source tools. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a one-stop advanced book on any one of these tools -- and this is why I find it so exceptional. A good number of developers already know about one or more of these tools, but many people never really discover the others since their time is spent only exploring the tool(s) that they know about. But there are so many more tools that often go undiscovered, and there are also still many developers that do not read blogs or do much exploration outside of their jobs. And this book is exceptional for both those that know some tools, but not the others, and for those that don't have the time or desire to do the research to find these tools.
So what open source tools are covered in this book? The ones covered very well are NAnt for build automation and Log4Net for application logging (both have futher details in the appendices too), while NDoc for Xml documentation and NUnit for unit testing are covered enough to get you started. But this book also introduces many other tools that integrate and extend with these, which is what you typically won't find anywhere else very easily. For instance, there are intros to FxCop, NCover, nProf, various continuous integration tools. There's also an overview chapter that hilites open source editors, source control, databases, web servers, and other tools -- not a reason in and of itself to buy the book, but a very handy list for those far too many developers that don't even know this stuff exists. I also noticed that some things were missing, like open source O/R mappers, but that too is actually a strength of this book. Why? Because it is about all the basic tools that everyone should know about -- it does not waste your time with things that are debated topics!
We have finally finished moving into our new house! Yea! We plan to never move again -- at least not until our kids leave home and its time to downsize or retire. :) The last time we moved was 7 years ago, before we had kids or as much stuff, and we seriously under-estimated the amount of work moving was going to entail. Things were also much more difficult since neither my wife nor myself could get much time off from work -- my job was coincidentally in a very critical time, and my wife's job is short on people right now. But we somehow managed to pull it off, moving things the last week of October, gradually unpacking and getting most things setup this month, and finally cleaning out our rented storage room this weekend. We even managed to get our Christmas tree up this weekend, so hopefully our kids will have a pleasant holiday season in our new home.