Brian H. Madsen
Computer says no

InnerWorkings – .Net training very much hands-on

August 9th 2007 in 3118, 3267, 4959

I got an email from Brian Finnerty yesterday who runs www.innerworkings.com – a .Net training site with a twist.

I’ve been through quite a few of them over the years..from instructional DVDs, to remote training and onto class-room training and thought at first this was yet another of the same.

But i was rather surprised when i took the trial..

First off, you download an application which contains your “courses” and you can do them at your leisure.

The first thing you get faced with a “Developer Interface”:

developer-interface

The “Developer Interface” also syncs your results with their server, so you can keep tap on your progress through the labs you take.

When selecting the “Drill” from the list (i have one, a sample – circled with red) it’ll take you to the main interface which you’ll be dealing with.

Each “Drill” has a set of tasks to perform:

list

Once you’ve selected a task, you’ll be forwarded to the scenario which explains what the outcome of the task is:

scenario

At the top of the Developer Interface you have three tabs:

tabs 

And after you’ve read through the scenario you move onto the challenge which explains what the goal is, the individual steps you have to make in order to complete the task.

The problem statement sums up the issues that this task has in detail.

problem-statement

After reading through that there is just to open up the code/project and you’re on your way.

It is extremely simple to navigate this Developer Interface and to get started. All is taken care of as it will launch Visual Studio 2005 for you, load the solution and off you go. Each task is commented in each class enough so that it’s not too “easy” to engage with. Methods and Classes are comment clearly where you are expected to edit and you are to leave alone.

Once you’re done you simply go back to the Developer Interface and click on “Judge Project Code” and it’ll scan your solution and find out if you have successfully accomplished the task, or alternatively what you have missed or done inaccurately.

actions 

When Visual Studio loads it not only loads the solution, but it also configures your environment, tabs etc so that everything is at hand – including a “userful links” window which will take you to MSDN. Absolutely Brilliant!!!

I can highly recommend taking a look at this – www.innerworkings.com ..simply brilliant! i’m hooked that’s for sure. the Drills aren’t just a “copy/paste”, but leaves you with enough clues and help to “figure” things out yourself.


4 comments to...
“InnerWorkings – .Net training very much hands-on”

Brian Finnerty

Hey Brian,

Glad you liked our free trial and thanks for taking such a thorough look at the product! InnerWorking was founded by a group of us who were tired with the old training formulas that were being thrown at developers. It was really time for something new, practice-based, and embedded in Visual Studio.

I love your reaction to the product, because that’s exactly what we hoped for when we launched the company. By the way, we’ll be bringing out a Silverlight 1.0 RC sampler next week and it would be great to get your reaction to those tasks!

Thanks,

Brian Finnerty
http://blogs.innerworkings.com/brian-finnerty



Brian Madsen

Hey Brian,

let me know when the Silverlight tasks is ready to be launched and i’ll definitely take a look at it.

All in all, i love the way you guys implemented the training directly into Visual Studio. It makes it more of a fluid experience and you don’t waste time submitting solutions for review and/or reading through proposed solutions for self-evaluation.

Have you plans on making this interact with Visual Studio 2008? Of course I run both on my machines but it would be great to see this come out now that VS2008 is spreading more and more.



Claudio Perrone

Brian,
Thanks for the nice feedback.
I can confirm that our infrastructure team is working on supporting VS2008…in fact, the feature almost ready (it is in the hands of the QA team at the moment).
We are also developing content for .NET 3.5, with Linq being on top our our list.
All the best
Claudio
CTO InnerWorkings
http://www.claudioperrone.com/blog



Brian Madsen

Hey Claudio,

I’m happy to hear that you’re this close to getting it implemented for VS2008..I think the guys at Redmond should be very happy about this.

Are you planning to Beta release the implementation? open or private beta? regardless, i’d very much like to participate.




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