Professional Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio

Sept. 23, 2008
By: Kyle Johns and Trevor Taylor

If you are looking for the tome that reveals all with respect to Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (MRDS) then this is it. At over 800 pages, there is little that this book does not cover in depth. It is a good idea to have a background in C# before hitting the pages, and a good starting point for this would be Professional C# 2008 by Christian Nagel, Bill Evjen, Jay Glynn, Karli Watson, Morgan Skinner (click here to read the review).

The book is divided into four sections: robotics developer studio fundamentals, simulations, visual programming Language, and robotics hardware.

The Robotics Developer Studio Fundamentals section does a good job of introducing the two core MRDS concepts: Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR) and the Decentralized Software Services (DSS). These are not simple systems and there is still a lot to learn after finishing this book. This is due more to the complexity of the system and its evolving nature rather than the quality of this reference. Still, you will have a good understanding of how applications work in this environment and how to create them.

The Simulations section takes a look at turning a robot loose in its own virtual environment. It starts with the basics and moves onto extending the system. It addresses tough topics such as articulated robots.

The Visual Programming Language (VPL) section introduces VPL and provides enough examples for the reader to become comfortable with its programming environment. VPL is an alternative to C# and often the two are used together since each has its strengths and weaknesses. Most of the VPL examples are found in this section. Most of the other examples in the book are based on C#.

The Robotics Hardware section delves into a few examples and even presents the framework for writing new hardware services. Most readers will likely utilize services that others create but it is still handy to know what is occurring under the object cover. Still, there are enough examples of different equipment to satisfy most readers including myself.

There are plenty of usable examples presented in all the sections. Overall, this is one book you do not want to be without.

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