By Ron Grattopp ….besides security and Windows, one of the themes I commonly blog about is training and certification. A few months back I mentioned the great opportunity for you to win prizes by completing free training on Partner Learning Center, and I also blogged about the re-vamping of our certification program as it passed its 20th anniversary. This time I want to mention another free resource, like PLC, and it’s our Microsoft Press free e-books. Let me give a shout out to my old friend Eric Ligman, MS blogger supreme, who has recently put out 2 posts, the first was a comprehensive list of these free e-books, which he then followed up with another list that included some of our newest products (e.g. Office 2013 Preview), you can read his original blog here. If you haven’t seen Eric’s blog before, I’m sure you’ll find it’s one of the most informative around and it’s focused specifically on our partner community.
I won’t repeat his links here, since I’m hoping that you’ll want to go and see the whole list for yourself. But I did want to encourage you to leverage these great free resources. One of the interesting things that I’m seeing happen in the last few years, and one of the reasons I’m writing this, is the advent and rise of single function apps and the fact that it’s so much more easy to distribute and monetize them than it has ever been in the past. If you have an idea for how to do or play literally anything, there’s probably a way to turn it into an app. And as Windows Phone 8 moves to the same core as Windows 8, this will enable developers to write their app once and have it work and be available across the entire Windows platform and device spectrum. In this new paradigm I believe a lot more folks will be taking the plunge into programming and I wanted to highlight these free books as a great way to potentially start learning how to do that or enhance or update whatever web and dev skills you may already have. There are e-books on Visual Studio, as well as Programming for Windows 8, and for Windows Phone 7, developing applications for the cloud and many, many, more and did I mention these are all free. I saw a dev blog recently that characterized these books as a “potential treasure trove” for those develop or work in a Microsoft-centric environment and want to broaden or update their skills – I couldn’t agree more. I suspect that there isn’t a Microsoft environment admin around who hasn’t bought some Microsoft Press books for reference, and now some of them are available as free e-books. In fact, Rob, Woody, and myself have all blogged at some point about specific e-books. My point here is to make sure you were aware of Eric’s comprehensive list of freebies and that you were aware that some of these are already available for our newer technologies (i.e. Office 2013 Preview, Windows Server 2012, and SQL 2012). And, of course, the fact that they’re e-books, and typically available in PDF format means that your can read them anywhere on literally any device (many of which are now smaller and lighter than even a single printed book). Enjoy, and hopefully you will write the next Wordament or Cut the Rope.