“Manipulating physical objects via code is one of those things that gives even the manliest man a warm fuzzy feeling in his stomach.”

Just one of the memorable quotes from this book. I chose this one because it stuck with me most. I remember when I first started working with hardware. The first thing I made, like most people, was the equivalent to hello world, just with hardware. I made an LED turn on. Shortly thereafter I made it blink. Then fade in and out. Just with anything else I became addicted and continued to progress. Needless to say when I was given the opportunity to review “Netduino Home Automation Projects” I was excited.

At first, having been in the Arduino and Raspberry Pi camps, I didn’t know what to expect from Netduino. I was pleasantly surprised. If you knew one thing about me you should know professionally I am a .NET developer. Working with a piece of hardware that I could code in a language that I use every day was a dream come true. Especially with Visual Studio intelisense.

The introduction that Matt Cavanagh gives in this book is very, very, easy to understand. I was impressed with the simple language and step by step instructions. This is a given with any technology book but rarely are they as complete as this.

That said, you will need some experience as a coder before reading this book. It is true that if you pick this book up and use it exactly as it says, you probably could get a solution up and running but to me it seemed as if there was some prior knowledge assumed.

The thing that stood out to me most about this book was that the author didn’t gloss over key points. For example, though this is not a Windows Phone programming book, the author uses the Windows phone in an example project. One of the things you have to understand about mobile development on the Windows Phone is you cannot just do everything without permission from the user. The author makes a special point to explain how to enable capabilities in the WMAppManifest.xml file on the Windows Phone. This is key to having a working mobile solution.

Finally my favorite part of this book were the “Not Working?” sections. If I had a nickel for every single time I did a program out of a book, verbatim mind you, and it didn’t work, well, I wouldn’t be sitting in a one bedroom apartment haha. These sections were an EXCELLENT resource and I got much use out of them. Just basic trouble shooting and debugging wrapped up so nice and tight. Perfect end to each chapter.

My overall opinion on the book was that I wanted more. Not because there wasn’t enough content but because the author took the extra time to make each project special. I think my favorite projects were the ones that incorporated building hardware that could handle high voltage. Only because this has been somewhat of a sick fascination of mine recently and I haven’t had an “outlet” to channel that “energy”. Haha sorry I couldn’t help it!

Total Rating:
4/5 – Could have used just a little more to the code samples or a complete solution at the end of each chapter

Skills Required:
Programming – C# entry level skills would be fine.
Hardware – No experience required.

You can purchase the book here
Netduino Home Automation Projects

A huge thanks to Packt Publishing for allowing me to review this book and also to Lance McCarthy.


Author: Anthony Russell

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