Book Review: Programming Atlas
page 5 of 5
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Programming Atlas


Christian Wenz



ISBN - 10


ISBN - 13



September 2006




US $34.99




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User Comments

Title: Nice   
Name: Jangid Jaydev
Date: 2006-12-29 8:09:45 AM
Before reading this article, i don't know about Atlas.
But after reading this article i feel its very good feature for developer. Thank for publish on net for use.
Title: ...Part 3   
Name: Speednet
Date: 2006-12-22 7:47:31 PM
"UpdatePanel control, 218, 368; properties, 369; Triggers subelement, 369." Page 368 has one UpdatePanel sentence on it, page 369 has two sentences and two small tables describing 5 properties with half-sentences, and page 218 has a tiny mention of "UpdatePanel".

Your Index is certainly wrong, as you point out, because UpdatePanel is indeed discussed again on the pages you mentioned. However, with the UpdatePanel being perhaps the most important part of Atlas used by your book's target audience (new Atlas users), it does not receive even the minimum amount of discussion. The very first bullet point on your book's back cover states, "Understand the architecture of Atlas and the role played by server controls, such as ScriptManager and UpdatePanel."

Do you seriously think that the tiny amount of space devoted to UpdatePanel in your book meets that goal?

I realize that my criticism is harsh, and I also realize that writing a book is a LOT of work, and I respect the fact that you personally undertook such a challenge. If you are a Microsoft ASP.NET MVP then you must have a good depth of knowledge in the technologies, so my guess is that this book is not representative of your skills.

I hope when Microsoft releases the final ASP.NET AJAX that you have an opportunity to revisit this book and do a masterful job.
Title: (Continued)   
Name: Speednet
Date: 2006-12-22 7:46:55 PM
- Page 236: "...the GridView control works just as you'd expect it to, but the timestamped Label control does not change. This proves that indeed all communication happens in the background." I have no idea what "communication happens in the background" is referring to, but that's not what it proved. It proved that only a section of the page was updated.

- Page 241: "Generally, the Conditional mode transfers less data between client and server, optimizing the UpdatePanel's performance." That's just untrue. The same amount of data is transferred for an UpdatePanel, regardless of if it's Conditional or Always. The only difference is WHEN that section of page is updated, and that's a function of the PAGE's performance, not the UpdatePanel. The UpdatePanel itself will update with exactly the same performance, regardless of the mode.

- Page 244 (in the "Displaying a Wait Screen" section): "...file uploads currently are problematic when done within an UpdatePanel control. Therefore, use these effects carefully. If a regular [iframe] HTML element suffices, you do not have to rely on Atlas and thereby make your application a bit harder to debug if something goes wrong." (Then it goes right into the chapter summary.) Either something was said at a higher level than I can comprehend, or the paragraph makes absolutely no sense. I also have the feeling that it's not true.

- Page 233: "You can think of an UpdatePanel as an iframe..." This may be a subjective viewpoint, but I'm not so sure that it's best to say that an UpdatePanel should be thought of as an IFRAME. Even if a statement like that is targeted at entry-level programmers, it may do more harm than good to make that comparison.

Christian, are right that more than "2 sentences" are devoted to the UpdatePanel. If you read my comment, you will see I was referring to the Index, and I was essentially correct. If you look in the Index under "UpdatePanel", it states, "UpdatePanel control, 218, 368;
Title: My point exactly!   
Name: Speednet
Date: 2006-12-22 7:46:14 PM
I understand that as the author you will defend your book, and I take no joy in giving a negative review of someone's work.

I am looking at the pages you specified. Taking the last one ("368-369") first, to identify that as "two pages" is pretty unfair. There is a headline and 1 sentence on page 368, and two headlines and a few sentences on page 369. The property and trigger listings there have little or no value, because there is not nearly enough information shown in order to be a reference for later lookups. I assume the intent of the section (and those two pages) is to be a reference, because there is no "teaching" going on there: the format is one sentence followed by a small table with half-sentence descriptions.

Now, taking the pages 232-245 that you mentioned, there is a surprisingly small amount of text, and it is not all about the UpdatePanel, as you suggested in your comments. The vast majority of the space is dedicated to discussions of the GridView control, program code listings (most of which have nothing to do with UpdatePanels), and screen captures, which again have little value for the UpdatePanel. Do you really need to devote one entire page to 2 screen captures, when the only point is that the timestamp didn't change when the postback occurred?

There is also a shocking amount of information that's plain wrong in the section too. Some examples:

- Page 233: "The UpdatePanel control contains a content template (ContentTemplate), which, in turn, contains the controls and elements that make up the page." You seems to be saying that the UpdatePanel essentially wraps all the controls on the page. Maybe you don't believe that yourself, but it's what the book implies. In fact, it would be a complete waste of the UpdatePanel to wrap all the page's controls.

- Page 243: "Only one UpdatePanel element is allowed per page..." No, you can have lots of UpdatePanels on a page. Again, very confusing, especially for a new programmer.

Title: Huh?!   
Name: Christian Wenz
Date: 2006-12-21 6:52:02 PM
Hmm, my copy of the book covers UpdatePanel in at least 13 pages (page 232-245, 368-369). Any specific UpdatePanel functionality course) you are missing?
Title: Huh?   
Name: Speednet
Date: 2006-12-21 7:27:00 AM
I don't think I read the same book as you.

I thought Programming Atlas was absolutely the worst ASP.NET book I have read. It did such a poor job of covering Atlas, and spent most of the time covering non-Atlas topics. It is completely worthless.

It did not even cover the most important Atlas feature, the UpdatePanel, other than a passing mention on two pages. Go ahead, look in the Index and see "UpdatePanel", and then find the 2 pages it's listed on. It is simply mentioned in two sentences, and that's it!

You would be better to crumple up your $35 and burn it, because at least then you'll get the benefit of some warmth. If you buy the book you get less value than that.

Sorry for the negative review, but I am upset that the author is wasting everyone's time, and did not put the right level of effort into writing it.

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