Murach's ASP.NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008
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Published: 19 Nov 2008
Abstract
Developers, especially beginners, require quality resources to master the essentials of any programming technology. In this review, Anand deeply examines the contents of Anne Boehm's latest book from the house of Murach Publishing and also points out a few suggestions for improvement. Is this a book worth purchasing? Read on and find out.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Introduction

Murach has been regularly publishing updated new editions of their existing programming oriented books as and when a new version of the software is released by the relevant companies. This fact is indeed true for their Microsoft centric books. Murach's ASP.NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008 is an update to Murach's ASP.NET 2.0 Web Programming with VB 2005 edition. First, I would like to point out that the new edition is a massive book with 29 chapters divided into 5 sections.

Inside the Book

Section 1 provides a solid introduction to ASP.NET 3.5 with special reference to the development of single and multiple page web application and also the steps required to test and debug them. The chapters in section 2 help you to work with standard controls including validation and also provide a detailed coverage of state management, master pages, site navigation and themes.

Section 3 examines the usage of data oriented controls such as GridView, DetailsView, FormView, ListView, DataPager and various data sources such as SQL, Object and LINQ. The author has examined the new controls included with ASP.NET 3.5, such as DataPager, which I feel is a big bonus for beginners. This section also examines the usage of LinqDataSourceControl with the help of a sample application.

The chapters in Section 4 provide a detailed overview of the procedure involved with securing a website. It examines the concept of authentication, authorization, usage of profiles, advanced controls, such as MultiView, Wizard and a concise overview of WebParts. This section also helps you send email using ASP.NET 3.5 and also the usage of custom error pages, back button control and also the steps required to configure and deploy an ASP.NET application.

The author has devoted a separate chapter which examines the usage of AJAX and its server controls including a demonstration of the steps involved with the development and deployment of a sample AJAX project. I hope this chapter will be highly useful for intermediate level developers.

The final section examines the development of user and custom server controls including an introduction to Web Services. I would like to see a case study which examines the development of either a shopping cart or web based invoicing application by utilizing all the discussed concepts in the next edition of the book. It would be great if the author examines the development of ASP.NET 3.5 application for Mobile and Pocket PC's. I feel that readers especially those who purchased the previous edition of the book expect some new content to boost their learning skills.

The author has examined the concepts in each chapter in a uniform style beginning with an introduction followed by relevant screenshots and description of important information in tabular format. I hope the description in bulleted format will help a beginner to grasp the concepts quickly. I feel that the author has provided a long explanation to discuss some of the concepts and developers tend to skip them. Some readers, especially beginners, opt to learn the concepts quickly rather than spending too much time in reading the content. I hope the author will keep this point in mind while authoring future editions of the book.

The book also includes Appendixes which provide a short overview of the installation procedure involved with Visual Studio Express Edition and also about the usage of source code available for download from the website of the publisher. The author has also provided the steps required to work with ASP.NET applications using IIS under both Windows XP and Vista. These appendixes will help beginners a lot, but advanced developers tend to skip them as they might be already aware of the topics covered in it. I would prefer to see a short coverage of the development of ASP.NET application using Mono under Linux Operating System in the next edition of the book.

I feel that the book is bit difficult to carry from one place to another due to its size. I also found it difficult to place it on both my system and study table. However, the coverage of the content is extremely good and I would recommend it for any developer who would like to master ASP.NET 3.5 over a span of 3-6 months time. Experienced developers who are well versed with ASP.NET 2.0 can directly jump to the content relevant to ASP.NET 3.5. Computer training centers can use the book to impart training for its students for a course spanning 6-8 months. The publisher has released an Instructor CD for the book which will be available upon request. It contains PowerPoint presentations which they can use during classroom training including Student projects and solutions, Testbanks and other supporting materials.

It would have been better if the author had provided a ready reference sheet on the back of the book with a list of new features included with ASP.NET 3.5 along with the relevant chapter numbers. I would also suggest the author to provide multiple choice questions at the end of each chapter so that students can access their knowledge immediately after learning the content provided in each chapter.

The complete extract of the first two chapters is available for download from the website of the publisher. If you are unsure or confused about the content of the book you can download the PDF files of the chapters and examine them before purchasing the book. As of this writing, the publisher has released a C# version of the book for the benefit of C# developers. The content is similar to that of the reviewed book except that code listings are provided in C#.

Conclusion

The author examines the concepts with the help of a demo application and I feel that by the time you finish the book you will be in a position not only to develop an application from scratch, but also will master the essential aspects of ASP.NET 3.5 effectively. The author has written the book in a lucid style with plenty of illustrations and I recommend the book for all developers who want to effectively master ASP.NET 3.5 with Visual Basic 2008 without any hesitation.

About the Book

Title

Murach's ASP.NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008

Author

Anne Boehm

Publisher

Murach Publishing

ISBN

978-1-890774-47-9

Edition

First

Pages

1000

Price

US $52.50 (Available for $36.75 directly from Murach)

Rating

*****

 



User Comments

Title: VB.Net   
Name: lavpokorng
Date: 2010-04-11 9:08:02 PM
Comment:
VB.Net2008
Title: Good info   
Name: Sunil Punjabi
Date: 2009-01-03 1:51:34 AM
Comment:
A nice review of the Book and Resources.






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