I promised a while back in my post about the 25% of MCSD / MCAD related tests post to write up some more stuff, and I've managed to not write a single thing. The moral of the story, as usual, is I'm not to be trusted. To correct that, without further ado, a little help on the dreaded 70-320 / 70-310 exam.
For those not familiar with the exam numbers, this is the “Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with insert favorite language here.” exam. And it's a doosy. I'd be willing to bet there are quite a few MCAD candidates out there who only need to take this exam, but have been scared off by the exam matrix. I mean, they list FOUR courses that you need to take to be ready for this exam, and even then that doesn't even get into remoting!
But it isn't that bad. I too was scared to take it, but once I registered myself for the test, and got down to business I was glad to pass it. Here is what I think are most people's top concerns about this exam, and hopefully I'll point you towards some help to get over these humps.
- Create and manipulate a Windows service
- Create and consume a serviced component. Create and consume a .NET Remoting object.
- Create and use SOAP extensions
- Use SOAP extensions for debugging.
- Publish XML Web service definitions in the UDDI.
Things not commonly worried about, but should be (expect LOTS of questions)
- Configure and use trace listeners and trace switches Configure client computers and servers to use a Windows service, a serviced component, a .NET Remoting object, and an XML Web service.
- Implement versioning
- Plan, configure, and deploy side-by-side deployments and applications.
Everyone when they first take one of these Microsoft developer exams are amazed at how many questions relating to debugging and deployment there actually are on the exam. So be prepared.
First of all, bookmark Tim's Exam Links. Do it now. What Tim has done is gone through the “skills being tested” section of the exam matrix and linked to help. This is the way I've always prepared for exams, and this made it a piece of cake to ramp up on things that I don't do on a day to day basis. Good times. You could pass using this resource alone.
But a lot of people are book people. One book that some people have told me that has been helpful is Microsoft .NET Distributed Applications: Integrating XML Web Services and .NET Remoting. This book covers Component Services, .NET Remoting and XML Web Services and has three case studies to play around with. Also has some decent chapters on threading and the such. Not perfect or very in depth, but any book covering so many technologies would be hard pressed to have complete coverage of all the topics.
Other books to check out to take your skills to the next level would be (of course) Ingo's Advanced .NET Remoting book, Juval Löwy's COM and .NET Component Services, and Yasser Shohoud's Real World XML Web Services: For VB and VB .NET Developers. If you read through these books and understand the zen of .NET Remoting, COM+ and XML Web Services, the rest is cream cheese. You'll also find these books go a long way to helping you with the 70-300 exam (think questions like “you are writing a component that will be using distributed transactions. What type of component should you create: remoted, serviced, normal class or a module?).
I'd avoid the Microsoft Training Kits or whatever. This exam is far too large and in charge to be covered properly in an exam prep book properly. Learn the technologies and pass the exam.
As for practice tests and the such, I'm sure they are all fine. SelfTest software seems to have a good coverage of the range of knowledge being tested, and Transcender has always put out quality stuff. I've seen some people complain that the questions don't look at all like the questions on the Microsoft exam, but the point of practice questions is to judge how well you know the material, not to get you ready for specific exam questions.
And if you plan on using Brain dumps, well, you are a bad person and a moron to boot.