Review: Real World ASP.NET Best Practices
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Published: 10 Nov 2003
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A review of the book: Real World ASP.NET Best Practices
by Colt Kwong
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Review: Real World ASP.NET Best Practices

Authors: Matt Milner, Farhan Muhammad

ISBN: 1590591003

Publisher: APress

Pages: 224 

Published: May 2003


I'm glad to have read the book "Real World ASP.NET Best Practices" by Matt Milner and Farhan Muhammad. This book contains lots of practical and useful knowledge, excellent practices of ASP.NET web applications and the experience and wisdom of the authors themselves – as stated in the title of the book "Real World". This book is suitable for intermediate to advanced ASP.NET developers and architects. It doesn’t show any detailed code listing with explanation but shows best practices and explanation on the creation of the application as well as what should be considered when developing a web application.


Chapter 1: The Age of ASP.NET

This chapter mentions the history of classic ASP and ASP.NET and explains the concept of the new model named Code Behind in ASP.NET. This chapter discusses the benefit and mechanism of using Code Behind and it also explains how to apply it in an object oriented programming model on top of the .NET Framework. This chapter has a 3 page long example of Master Page (with code) showing the features of inheritance in ASP.NET.

Chapter 2 – Cache, Session and View State (Sample Chapter)

This chapter explains what is caching very briefly, but it discusses the pros and cons of using cache in a web application in detail. Instead of throwing everything into cache as shown in many ASP.NET and ADO.NET books in the market currently, this chapter carries out a series of performance tests using Application Center Test. It also shows when and how to use cache effectively and turbo charge web applications. The authors explained how to enable ViewState wisely and demonstrated the best practice to use either types of Session state by performance test as well.

Chapter 3 – Client-Side JavaScript: Oh, What Fun!

This chapter demonstrates how to implement and hook client side script in ASP.NET and presents an example Photo Album with the use of JavaScript. This chapter mentions the best practice of using JavaScript in ASP.NET, including the pros and cons of hardcode and softcode client script and how to design a flexible and reusable script block for web application. It uses a single example throughout the chapter with different approaches and source code included and explained in each approach. Using JavaScript on web pages is kind of fun and good performance-wise, but I think readers do not have much interest in reading every single line of code about injecting JavaScript to Web form indeed.

Chapter 4 – Handling Data Effectively

This chapter covers a couple of key topics in handling data, like data binding with DataTable and DataView, creating strongly type collections and implementing the IList interface. This chapter tells you how to handle data by using business objects and custom collection objects, too. In addition, to show how to create a custom collection object by yourself, this chapter also demonstrates how to implement search, filter and sort ability per custom collection object. This chapter suggests and provides guidelines for data binding and is a must read chapter before you are going to design your next database related application in an object-oriented manner.

Chapter 5 – Using ASP.NET to Manage Lists

There are mainly 3 server control for binding and displaying data in ASP.NET, and the confusion that most ASP.NET developers would face is the similarity and difference among these controls. This chapter examines these controls in detail with the use of Application Center Test, including the productivity and performance points of view. This chapter also mentions 3 ways to customize data controls with explanation of usage and performance aspects.

Chapter 6 – User Controls and Server Controls

This chapter reveals the benefits and practices for these 2 kinds of controls, compares and explains how to choose either one in different scenarios, depending on scale and requirements of the application. The authors assume the readers know how to develop user and custom controls and show an example about creating a custom control with JavaScript as well, where readers can refer to what they have learned from chapter 3 easily.

Chapter 7 – Remoting and Web Services

The topic of this chapter is one of the hottest discussion topics in online communities, and is frequently encountered by software architects when designing a distributed and scalable system. Unlike the generic response - “Depends” - this chapter firstly describes the overview of each mechanism, and describes the best practices that are common to both mechanisms, and then eventually mentions the best practice of each of the mechanisms in detail. Thus. you can understand why and how to choose the best one for yourself by reading in this sequence.

Chapter 8 – Configuring ASP.NET Applications

This chapter does not tell you what the elements are in the configuration files, but it shows how the system works behind the scenes. This chapter shows the best practices like how to employ external configuration files, reference to an external configuration file in web.config file, and explains how and when to use a custom configuration file and setting. This chapter contains detailed information that is seldom found in other ASP.NET books.


All of the chapters are the hottest discussion topics and/or issues that confuse most people today, but the authors highlight and explain the pros and cons and the reason for creating ASP.NET web applications in such ways. Although this book does not have any actual exercises / hands-on examples, readers can follow and learn from it easily, and say "gotcha" throughout reading it.

This is a great book if you have the basic knowledge of ASP.NET and want to find some breakthrough in your technique and knowledge in ASP.NET. I’m not biased though I know Farhan. Reading a book full of the real word experience and wisdom of the authors will definitely inspire and enrich you.


Book Provider: APress
Editor: Ian Chow Castor

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