Book Review: Murach's Visual Basic 2005
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by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Inside the Book

Section 1 provides a basic introduction about Visual Studio 2005.  Chapter 1 introduces you to the world of Visual Studio 2005.  The author also provides a brief comparison about the benefits of Visual Basic over other languages (such as Java) and includes a short tour about the various elements included with Visual Studio 2005 Integrated Development Environment (IDE), such as Form Designer, Code Editor and Solution Explorer.  The relevant portions of the screenshots have been marked with notes and it will help beginners to understand the development environment in a quick way.  The remaining two chapters on this part examine Windows Forms application. While chapter 2 deals with the design, chapter 3 examines how to write the code and test a Windows Forms application.  The author has examined the concepts with an imaginary project and I hope it will help readers to grasp the content very easily and in a quick span of time.

Section 2 provides a detailed explanation about the essentials of Visual Basic 2005 language, such as data types, control structures, event handlers, exception, data validation, arrays, collections and debugging.  The author also demonstrates the different ways you can tweak dates and strings, including some of the advanced controls included with Visual Studio 2005.

Section 3 provides a detailed explanation regarding the various aspects of database programming.  The author analyzes the usage of data sources in two parts.  The section examines the concepts using a sample application titled Customer Invoice Maintenance with the help of supported screenshots along with the source code and a detailed analysis.  I am sure that the sample project will be a big boon for beginners.  The author also devotes a chapter about how to write your own data access code using ADO.NET and the usage of data sources with business objects.  I hope these chapters will be a great use for advanced developers.

Section 4 examines the core aspects of Object Oriented Programming (OOP), such as Classes, Indexers, Delegates, Events, Operators, Inheritance and Interfaces.  This section also provides a brief coverage of Generics in addition to a separate chapter about organizing and documenting your classes.  The final section deals with some of the advanced functionalities like files and streams, including the manipulation of XML using Visual Basic 2005.  The author also provides additional tips for enhancing the user interface of a Windows Forms application, such as Single Document Interface (SDI) and Multiple Document Interface (MDI), creation of Menus, Toolbars, Tooltips and Context sensitive help.

The final chapter of the book demonstrates the different ways by which you can deploy a Visual Basic 2005 application like XCopy and Click Once deployment scenarios.  The author also examines how to create and use a setup program which includes the deployment of a database application in a network server, local environment and on a remote web server.  The author has provided a list of important properties, events and methods in a tabular format along with a brief description.

The book includes an appendix which explains how to use the code files, installation of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Express Edition.  The author also examines the procedure which has to be followed for attaching the sample database to a database server.  I do wonder why the publisher has specified code listings as figures.  I feel that it will create confusion among readers.  You can download sample chapters and access other related content in addition to the views expressed by the readers of the book at the website of the publisher.

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