David Parker's latest book "Microsoft Visio 2010 – Business Process Diagramming and Validation" from Packt Publishing is one of the very few technical books that I would give a hearty "Thumbs Up" and a strong recommendation to every business Visio user.
The book is in excess of 340 pages, and every page is both insightful and well crafted. David leads off with an overview of Process Management and how Visio applies as a tool to solve the challenges incorporated in visualizing process management. David then provides a thorough understanding of the Visio Object model: this is not an easy task, since general Visio business users are seldom deep programmers, and the Visio Object model can, at times, be daunting to some. David handles this challenge with both brevity and alacrity.
Following on from this thorough background as well as an introduction to the other (and original, from the beginning of Visio itself) programming paradigm, the ShapeSheet", David carefully guides the reader through how the new Visio 2010 Validation API works, and how to customize, and extend, the built-in Validation Rule sets with user/business defined rule sets.
It is this last point, the EXTENDING of the rule sets, that sets this book apart from all other documentation on the subject. Microsoft, subsequent to its purchasing Visio in 2000, has done much to advance Visio as a Data Visualization tool, however the greater majority of Visio users still tend to "draw" rather un-intelligent diagrams; diagrams which must be manually reviewed and validated. Through creating unique business rules and utilizing them in conjunction with the standard "Flowchart" and "BPMN" rule sets, the business can gain the highest advantage in understanding their business processes and therefore optimize their business for profitability. David's book is the "Blueprint" for leveraging Visio Process Validation to its greatest advantage.
As an aside... I first met David when he was a student of mine in a Visio Development course I was delivering in Paris, France, many, many years ago. We immediately struck up a friendship since we both began our professional careers as practicing Architects. David showed then, as well as now, a keen insight into technology, and the use case for Visualization. Congratulations David, on another excellent example of your facile advancement of Visio use and Visio Technology.
Mr. David A. Edson, M.Arch., MCP, Visio MVP
CTE / Director of Consulting Services