Despite the plethora of blogs, podcasts, and online videos that currently abound, I still prefer to get most of my technical learning via the trusty old dead-tree format.

Here’s a quick round-up of the techie books that I bought during 2008.

Inside Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005: Query Tuning and Optimization

One of a series of four books digging deep into SQL Server (see my earlier review of The Storage Engine). A very in-depth book providing a holistic performance troubleshooting methodology for SQL Server.

Essential Windows Communication Foundation (WCF): For .NET Framework 3.5 (Microsoft .Net Development)

Not easy bedtime reading, but rather a truly essential book to have by your side when using WCF out in the field.

Test Driven Development (The Addison-Wesley signature series)

A classic treatise from Kent Beck, and a very entertaining read.

Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers

A reasonable coffee-table book from the folks at the Computer History Museum, but not entirely relevant to young whipper-snappers such as myself (although it does include a nice photo of a Commodore 64!)

LINQ in Action

One of the best programming books that I’ve read in a long time. This could have been a dry and dreary affair, but the examples and depth of coverage help to make the subject come alive.

NHibernate in Action

Setting a new world record for longest time from early PDF to dead-tree edition, this still isn’t out in hardcopy yet! But it proved very useful as I had the pleasure of working on my first NHibernate project during 2008, leading to my Damascine conversion to the world of ORM.

Calendrical Calculations

Not strictly a computing book, but liable to be of interest to other IT geeks and calendar wonks like myself.

Working Effectively with Legacy Code (Robert C Martin)

One of the best programming books I’ve ever read, this had a huge impact on my ability to write clean, maintainable, testable code. The title doesn’t do it justice.

Accelerated SQL Server 2008 (Expert's Voice)

A good introduction to SQL 2008, but loses a star for including information about features which were introduced back in SQL 2005. This could have been several hundred pages shorter, IMHO.

Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk (Martin Fowler Signature Books)

Short but enjoyable book explaining reasons, techniques and resources for implementing Continuous Integration across the whole development lifecycle. Another one of those books you wish your boss would read…

Pro WF: Windows Workflow in .NET 3.5

Haven’t read it yet :-(

Developing Solutions with Microsoft® InfoPath™ (Pro-Developer)

Sent this back when I realised it only covered InfoPath 2003, and I was interested in 2007 – doh!

CSS: The Missing Manual

A great read for anyone who has dabbled with CSS and now wants to learn more about this sometimes opaque subject.

Professional BizTalk Server 2006

Haven’t read it yet :-(

Refactoring HTML: Improving the Design of Existing Web Applications (Addison-Wesley Signature)

Another book whose title doesn’t do it justice – this book is full of great advice for structuring HTML, whether on a new or existing site.

Managing Projects with Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System

Not my cup of tea, a bit dry and theoretical for my liking. More aimed at pointy-haired types than developers.

Software Engineering with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System (Microsoft .Net Development)

A good overview of the capabilities of VSTS and how they can be applied to the software development lifecycle.

Visual Studio Team System: Better Software Development for Agile Teams (Microsoft .Net Development)

My favourite book on software development methodologies using VSTS, this should help any team of developers adopt an agile approach.

Team Foundation Server 2008 in Action

Finally, a really good TFS book for developers. See my earlier review.

Framework Design Guidelines: Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reuseable .NET Libraries (Microsoft .Net Development)

I adored the first edition of the Framework Design Guidelines, and firmly believe that all .NET developers should read this book.

Microsoft Data Warehouse Toolkit: With SQL Server 2005 and the Microsoft Business Intelligence Toolset

An excellent detailed description of how to apply the Kimball Methodology when creating a Data Warehouse / Business Intelligence platform using Microsoft SQL Server 2005.