Review of David Parker's new book
Visio is almost twenty years old and for the last few versions, Microsoft has been extending Visio's capabilities beyond being the standard for drag and drop diagramming applications. In the beginning, Visio lead the way with it's ability to quickly create business diagrams with intelligent shapes. Rather than worrying about the details of drawing shapes, the user could concentrate on how the shapes interacted. With Visio 2010, Microsoft laid the groundwork for validating the diagrams. As a new feature, Microsoft made sure that the validation process was well defined, but only created basic rule sets.
With this book, "Microsoft Visio 2010 - Business Process Diagramming and Validation", my fellow Visio MVP, David Parker has explained how the new validation feature works and provided tools for analysing and creating your own rules. This is more than a rehash of Microsoft documentation, he has worked with the people who created the validation feature to make sure the book contains a good overview of the rule creation process so that anyone can create their own validation rules. The book walks you through the creation of some dot net programs to analyse rule sets and other programs for actually implementing some of the rules. It also provides some good background into the Visio object model and the Visio Shapesheet so that developers new to Visio are not totally lost. The examples David provides make a good starting point for rule developers.
The 314 pages of this book are well written and provide a good insight into a new and very useful feature of Visio 2010. Microsoft will be embellishing this feature in future versions, but for those who can not wait and need to create their own rules, this is the book.