Proposed Book Title

The new book is entering its final stages before we start work in earnest.  After much discussion internally we have finally come up with a potential title for the new book and I wanted to get your thoughts.  Let me preface this with the following:  We wanted to depart from the “tips and tricks” moniker for the book as we feel it doesn’t adequately portray what the book does (or should do at least).  With that said, the current thought on a title is (drum roll, please):


Microsoft Visual Studio Productivity Handbook


I really want your feedback on this one.  Does it suck?  Do you like it?  Tell me your thoughts…



Comments (32)

  1. Kevin Stevens says:

    Sorry to rain on the parade, but the title sounds incomparably generic.

    May I suggest an alternative:

    Code Faster: Make Visual Studio Do Exactly What You Want.

    That tells me exactly why I would want to buy your book and what the benefits of reading it are.

  2. yannduran says:

    Hi Zain,

    Actually I don't like that title, it seems a bit "stiff", a bit "formal" (unless of course that's what you're going for). It wouldn't want to make *me* go buy the book at all.

    I'd suggest something along the lines of "Things You Might Not Know About VS 2010", or "Getting The Most Out Of VS 2010".

    Just my 2c.


  3. Shawty says:

    How about not ditching the tips & tricks line completley, but dressing it up slightly…

    Visual Studio Productivity Magic Tricks


    Tips for the Visual Studio Debonair

    Just my 2cents.

  4. Chadd Nervig says:

    I agree about the proposed name sounding too 'formal'. I do however like the 'Productivity' in the name.

    Visual Studio Productivity Tips & Tricks


  5. zainnab says:

    The publishers are absolutely against the "Tips and Tricks" moniker so it is 100% out.  They want the titles to be sort of inline with the other MSPress titles hence the more formal type name.  I wanted to call it "Cool Visual Studio Shizzle" but any proposed title has to pass the board for review so that was out πŸ˜›

  6. MarcT says:

    I have to agree with feedback so far – it's not so much formal as just "blah". You could put a Charlie Brown zig-zag across the cover. Devs like puns, hyperbole, and an inflated sense of self-importance. Tell me that this book will make me the XKCD guy who swings in on a rope, says, "Everybody stand back. I know Visual Studio", and saves the day. Because I've totally done that with your tips (minus the rope)!


    Maybe "Microsoft Visual Studio Walkthrough"?

  7. Aaron says:

    Zain, I think Kevin and Yann are onto something…

  8. zainnab says:

    @aaron Yeah, I agree.  

    The delimma is how to best describe the contents.  I like the thought process.  A couple of things to note:  The title has to have "Microsoft Visual Studio" in it according to the rules from MSPress and the content will cover versions 2005-2010.  There can be a title and a subtitle for the book.  The subtitle seems like a given "Covers versions 2005, 2008, and 2010" or something like that.  But the title is kicking my butt.

  9. zainnab says:

    @MarcT  totally off topic but I just burned though two hours going though old xkcd cartoons thanks to you πŸ˜›

  10. How about "Microsoft Visual Studio Productivity – The Basics and Beyond", actually the only word in the title that I don't find it fit for a title is the "Handbook". A title have to be meaningful and attractive for the potential buyer, eye-catching. It depends also on which category of programmers you are targetting, where you want to place your book in the pool of books available on the market. "Handbook" tells me nothing more than "another book on productivity" or VS. You have to consider also the various meaning of words, for example I had a bad experience with books having in their title words as "Complete" so I'll think twice before buying such a book.

    Sometimes it makes sense to use associations between words when making a title, simple associative games could be productive from this point of view.

  11. Luke Baughan says:

    I agree with all who said the title is a bit dry, all the really fun titles might not be permissible by sensible publisher types (I'm thinking Visual Studio on Steriods or indeed Pimp My Visual Studio might not make it past the sensors!) however something more "fun" like "Microsoft Visual Studio Productivity Afterburner" might liven it up a little bit. I think that afterburner correctly describes what the book is about and brings to the mind visions of Top Gun pilots and excitment!


    1 : a device incorporated into the tailpipe of a turbojet engine for injecting fuel into the hot exhaust gases and burning it to provide extra thrust

  12. kelvin.mcdaniel says:

    Title doesn't suck but it wouldn't convince me to buy the book. How about…

    1. Things You Wish You Knew About Microsoft Visual Studio

    2. Microsoft Visual Studio: Everything they forgot to tell us, and then some

    3. Mastering Microsoft Visual Studio

    4. Microsoft Visual Studio: The Next Level

    5. Microsoft Visual Studio: From the Rooter to the Tooter

    6. Microsoft Visual Studio: Alpha And Omega

    7. Microsoft Visual Studio: Everything but the kitchen sink

    8. "… And you thought you knew Microsoft Visual Studio"

    9. Microsoft Visual Studio: Soup to Nuts

    10. Microsoft Visual Studio For The Rest Of Us

    Ok… I think I got a little too carried away there… must be those new vitamins.

  13. drew.miller says:

    Agree with the general consensus – the title sucks…  

    The only thing that could save the titile would be to completely depart from the typical 'blah' reference book design.  Perhaps it could be designed to look like a worn, heavily referenced sketchbook / notebook.  When I think of a "Productivity Handbook", I think of something that I've pieced together over the years and used countless times.  

    The book would Include all the information (of course), but it would look so different from the other reference books that it would make you want to pick it up from the bookshelf and take a peek.  At that point, the title becomes irrelevant.

    My two cents…

  14. Dan Stewart says:

    I vote for an Asian themed or martial arts cover.

    The Way of Microsoft Visual Studio

    The Tao of Microsoft Visual Studio

    Microsoft Visual Studio: Path to Mastery

  15. TRBesser says:

    "… Productivity Handbook" doesn't reveal anything to me.  I would probably gloss over the title as it stood on the shelf.  

    In particular, the term "Handbook" is synonymous for any lengthy document that a corporate committee thinks is in my best interest to read.  IMO, it doesn't connect with developers down in the trenches.  ("… Field Guide" may be closer.)

    What would stand out to me is a title that tells me what I can expect to receive as a result of reading the book.  I'd go with one that had verbal descriptions such as:

    "Unlocking Productivity with… "

    "Optimizing Productivity with…  "

    "Mastering … " (already mentioned above, a tried and true convention of earlier MS Press books)

  16. Raphael Koch says:

    There are some good suggestions here. I think the title needs some pizazz and should create excitement  (agree with Luke)…that's what the book will do make Visual Studio exciting to develop with.

    The Zen and Art of Microsoft Visual Studio

  17. zainnab says:

    I'm loving the ideas folks, keep them coming.  I've got the folks at MSPress looking at your comments as well to get some ideas we can throw around.  


    @kevin.mcdaniel  I espcially love "Microsoft Visual Studio: From the Rooter to the Tooter" πŸ™‚

  18. Mr. Jiggs says:

    Microsoft Visual Studio – A Manual (there and back again)

  19. yannduran says:


    So it comes down to a bunch of "nerds" (no offense to nerds intended), who aren't even developers themselves, to choose a title that fits a bunch of "rules" instead of taking the intended buyers of the book into consideration? Gee, how "Microsoft" (unfortunately seems to be the trend these days).

    So be it if they prefer to have a "formula" title that nobody wants to buy. Funny, I thought "marketing" meant make it appeal to the most people possible. Go figure..

    A little OT maybe: I miss the days when Microsoft had "vision" & was "innovative", like when Bill Gates was at the helm. Mr Ballmer may be a great accountant, but he's driving MS into obscurity.

    Don't get me wrong, I've been a long-time Microsoft supporter, but it's getting harder & harder to stay one.


  20. zainnab says:

    @yannduran man, that is seriously harsh.  It's actually o'reilly that is handling this stuff for MSPress but regardless I am sure any publisher would have constraints like this.  I can't call it "Pro Visual Studio" for example becasuse the "Pro" thing is an APress moniker.  It gets a little corporate but the folksI'm working with are very cool.  

    I'm actually pretty impressed with the process so far.  At this stage there are no committees just Sara, our publishing contact (Russ), and me.  We kick around ideas.  It was my idea to see what you all thought and we are already into new titles based on the feedback.  Keep the good stuff coming.

  21. zainnab says:

    I just got an email from Russ and everyone likes the title Kevin suggested:

    Code Faster: Make Visual Studio Do Exactly What You Want

    My only concern is that there is a lot of stuff that doesn't have anything to do with coding (fonts and colors, finding stuff, etc…).  I know you can't please everyone so what do you all think of that title?  Suggestions on mods?


  22. Mike Shacter says:

    First, let me say how much I enjoy your postings. They are concise, well-illustrated, and informative. I don't think that the proposed title "Microsoft Visual Studio Productivity Handbook" conveys those attributes. To me, the word "productivity" sounds hectoring. A small change, however, could make the title more in keeping with the flavor of the contents. I would suggest "Microsoft Visual Studio: A Handbook". My second choice would be "Microsoft Visual Studio Quick Reference". Both titles convey the sense that the articles are pithy and instructive.

    Hope this helps.


  23. Kevin Stevens says:


    About your concern that there's a lot of stuff that doesn't have to do with coding:

    Don't worry.

    You're thinking too much. Besides, the subtitle "Make Visual Studio Do Exactly What You Want" covers all the rest of that stuff.



    P.S. Don't forget my free copy when it goes to press πŸ™‚

  24. zainnab says:

    @Kevin  muhahaha hell yeah if we use that title you will get the hookup πŸ™‚

  25. MarcT says:

    I'm down with "Code Faster". The subtitle gets pretty long, especially when you throw "MS" in there, but it's my favorite so far.

    As for XKCD, I'm just the messenger. =)

  26. yannduran says:

    Hi Zain,

    Oh well, if "harsh" is the worst I get called I guess I can live with that. I can also live with keeping my opinions to myself if they're not found to be useful. But I'm not really one for "political correctness", I say it as I see it.

    Not sure which part you were referring to, or both, but you did make it sound like the situation I described, "publishers are absolutely against", "so it is 100% out", "they want the titles to be sort of inline with the other MSPress titles hence the more formal type name" & "any proposed title has to pass the board for review". If I got it wrong then I'm pleased to hear it. I certainly wouldn't have made that comment about Sara, & I've vaguely heard of Russ before as well.

    As for Balmer/Microsoft, I'm know for a fact I'm not the only one who feels this way, though I may be the only one stupid enough to say so to a Microsoft employee on a Microsoft forum, lol.

    As far as Kevin's suggestion for a title goes, my only suggestion is maybe omit the "exactly". That's not strictly true & could be construed as a bit misleading. Oher than that, nice title.


  27. zainnab says:

    @yann No worries man πŸ™‚  and it looks like we are slowly coming to consensus on a title.  

  28. CoryCissell says:

    I like Mastering Microsoft Visual Studio.

    I don' t think I'll spend my money on a "handbook". I'm a professional and I want a book that speaks to me. If the title suggests otherwise I may not even look the preface or TOC.

    I also like:

    "Experience Productivity with Microsoft Visual Studio "

    "Code faster with Microsoft Visual Studio"

    "Be Productive using Microsoft Visual Studio"

  29. Andrew Greatorex says:

    How about…

    "Microsoft Visual Studio – Stuff you should know that will get you up to speed with the product faster than reading this whopping great title"


    "Using Microsoft Visual Studio for Taking Care of Business"

  30. zainnab says:

    I want to thank everyone for the most awesome suggestions!  I seriously appreciate the great qudience I have reading and contributing to the discussions.  We have settled on a title to be announced soon and it looks like all that is left to do is actually WRITE the book at this point.  I'll be looking for more input on areas that I think are still grey as far as content layout, etc… to see what you all think but the hard parts appear to be done so far πŸ™‚   Look for me to announce the title on this thread, hopefully, this week.


  31. Shawty says:

    Looking good Zain, the excitments building dude…. πŸ™‚

  32. zainnab says:

    At long last, it only took a month to get to this but I can finally announce the new Title (drum roll):

    Coding Faster:  Getting More Productive with Microsoft Visual Studio

    Thanks to Kevin Stevens who came up with the great verbiage.  Shoot me an email Kevin so I can hook you up with some swag and, of course, you will be mentioned in the book πŸ™‚

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