Review: Distributed .NET Programming in C#
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Published: 17 Oct 2003
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Abstract
This book, Distributed .NET Programming in C#, is intended for experienced Microsoft developers and architects. It expects the reader to be familiar with the basics of C#, the .NET framework, and object-oriented practices. It also clearly assumes the reader is at least somewhat experienced with both COM and distributed programming. If you have this background and want to learn about distributed programming in .NET, then this book is for you.
by Paul Wilson
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Review: Distributed .NET Programming in C#

Review: Distributed .NET Programming in C#

Paul Wilson
www.WilsonDotNet.com
www.ASPAlliance.com/PaulWilson

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Book Details

Author: Tom Barnaby
Publisher: APress
ISBN: 1590590392 (©2002)
Pages: 528 (Paperback)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Evolution of Distributed Programming
Chapter 2: This is .NET
Chapter 3: Introduction to .NET Remoting
Chapter 4: Distributed Programming with .NET Remoting
Chapter 5: Additional Remoting Techniques
Chapter 6: Understanding XML Web Services
Chapter 7: Understanding COM Interop
Chapter 8: Leveraging Component Services
Chapter 9: .NET Message Queuing
Appendix: Data Access with ADO.NET

Book Review

Audience

This book, Distributed .NET Programming in C#, is intended for experienced Microsoft developers and architects. It expects the reader to be familiar with the basics of C#, the .NET framework, and object-oriented practices. It also clearly assumes the reader is at least somewhat experienced with both COM and distributed programming. If you have this background and want to learn about distributed programming in .NET, then this book is for you.

Pros

This books covers nearly every topic in distributed .NET programming in enough detail to get you going yourself. While this book is not solely about .NET remoting, it has three very thorough chapters that are sufficient for me. If you are not familiar with the concept of .NET remoting, it is the centerpiece of the distributed .NET model. It basically is the replacement for DCOM, and thus you can see that it is essential for the distributed developer. I had read some about remoting to be familiar with the basic concepts before reading this book, but that was all; now I could easily go out and implement .NET remoting, with this book being a great supporting reference to keep.

Of course, if you are an experienced Microsoft developer, then you also want to know about COM+ and MSMQ in .NET. This is actually why I picked this book to read, since it covers these essential topics as well as .NET remoting. There is one chapter on Component (or COM+) Services in .NET, and another one on Message Queuing (MSMQ) in .NET. Both of these assume the reader is already familiar with the concepts, and gets right into their .NET details. This included thorough discussions of Just-In-Time (JIT) activation, object pooling, and transactional support. There were also chapters on COM Interop and Web Services, as well as an advanced "overview" of some .NET topics.

Cons

While this book is a very good book on distributed .NET programming, there are also some things I did not like. First, you have too read (or skip) the first 90 pages to even get to .NET remoting, and then just an introduction. That said, I did learn several things from the author's advanced discussion of assembly binding and other topics, but I can't help believing that this was too much -- it could have been mixed in later or put into an appendix. Next, the chapter on Web Services, while clearly being part of distributed programming, just seemed out of place. It was too short and too shallow -- it could have either been dropped completely or more should have been added.

Although the book was thorough with .NET remoting and some other COM+ topics, there were also some items missing. I would have liked to have seen a short section or chapter on COM+ Events, also called Loosely Coupled Events. To be fair, this topic is mostly left out of COM+ books too, but it is actually a very important part of COM+. Next, as the author himself notes, there were no "real world" examples, only short code snippets as examples. There was also little, if any, discussion of the whys and why nots of distributed programming, only the hows. Both of these items may not matter to many readers, especially those already experienced, but they were missing.

Notes

I have one other issue with this book that didn't really belong anywhere else -- its just one of my complaints. There is a long (74 pages) appendix in this book called "Data Access with ADO.NET" that just doesn't belong. It is actually a complete chapter out of another book, C# and the .NET Platform, written by Andrew Troelsen. I have heard Andrew speak before, and I do respect his work, but it is here only because he is a colleague of this book's author, Tom Barnaby, since it clearly isn't relevant to this book, nor the audience of this book. I appreciate cross-marketing, doing it myself whenever possible, but this just seems to be an excessive case.

Author Bio

Paul Wilson is a software architect in Atlanta, currently with PRG-Schultz. He specializes in Microsoft technologies, including .NET, C#, ASP, SQL, COM+, and VB. His WilsonWebForm Control allows Multiple Forms and Non-PostBack Forms in ASP.NET. He is a Microsoft MVP in ASP.NET and is also recognized as an ASPInsider. He is a moderator on Microsoft's ASP.NET Forums, as well as one of the top posters. He is holds the MCSD, MCAD, MCDBA, and MCSE certifications. Please visit his website, www.WilsonDotNet.com, or email him at Paul@WilsonDotNet.com.


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