REVIEW: A First Look at ASP.NET v2.0
 
Published: 14 Nov 2003
Unedited - Community Contributed
Abstract
A brief review of the latest ASP.NET book by Alex Homer, Dave Sussman and Rob Howard, A First Look at ASP.NET v2.0 (Whidbey).
by Teemu Keiski
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Overview

ASP.NET, Microsoft's web development platform, was originally released to production in January 2002. Since then we have had updates to the product, service packs and the.Net Framework 1.1. Now the time has become for a major version update, ASP.Net v2 "Whidbey".

ASP.Net v2 "Whidbey" Technology Preview was published at Microsoft Professional Developer Conference (October 2003). This book, A First Look at ASP.Net v2, by Alex Homer, Dave Sussman and Rob Howard was also released to the public at the same time. Attendees to the conference got the latest software which included Technology Preview version of ASP.Net v2 "Whidbey" and Visual Studio .Net "Whidbey". This software is currently available only for attendees, alpha testers and MSDN Universal Subscribers. I have tested ASP.Net v2 "Whidbey" since July and I was excited about the early chance to review this book. Homer, Sussman and Howard are famous book authors and I’ve read their books before so I was expecting a good book.

The subject of the book is an introduction to the Technology Preview of ASP.NET v2. This means that some implementations are likely to change when newer versions of the product are released .Therefore the information book provides is more introductory like and also valid for a shorter time than usually

Basic Information

The book has 498 pages in 13 chapters including the index.

Chapters

1. An Introduction to ASP.NET 2.0
2. Tools and Architecture
3. Data Source Controls and Data Binding
4. The GridView and DetailsView Controls
5. Master Pages and Navigation
6. Security
7. Personalization and Themes
8. Web Parts and the Portal Framework
9. Pages, Posting and Validation
10. Mobile Device Support
11. Caching
12. Control Enhancements
13. Configuration and Administration

The publisher, Addison-Wesley maintains a web site for the book at:
http://www.awprofessional.com/catalog/product.asp?product_id={4AF26663-2C49-469A-98F0-CEC0ACA17ABF}

The authors have also a web site for the book at http://www.alanddave.com/books/8960/ . The site provides a code download and an errata as well as a more detailed table of contents for the book. You can also try out book’s examples at online.

Pros

It is clear after a few paragraphs that this is a good book. The content is written carefully and with a clear thought in mind. The content is logically structured and tries to follow the pattern of simplicity. Authors have utilized their insight and have tried to give as good overview as possible without going too much into specific implementation details as they are still likely to change. Still there's given very many details for example about the new GridView control and security features as well as about Personalization and Web Parts. And this is just a scratch to the surface. If it was known at the time of writing that some feature is more likely to change it is clearly pointed out. Also some additional features that we might expect to see in future releases of the product are covered in some detail.

If comparing to previous books of the authors when they were writing for Wrox Press, this book is better than their previous ones. They have now given more significance to explaining things and trying to give more space for reader's own thoughts which is good if considering reading the book as a learning process.

Cons

As was said, the book tries to keep things simple. But at certain points it perhaps goes even too simple. Some things are covered with a few words even if one would expect a bit more details though most of this could be explained with the early version of the product. One example of this is the discussion and examples related to provider implementation for Membership and Personalization features where one might expect to get even more concrete examples, despite that the main line is to give an introduction. Luckily the most important new features are very well covered and the example I mentioned wasn't so bad but it could have been even more detailed. This is perhaps a result of the aspect that authors have now given more explanation than providing exact details.

Another thing to complain of is that there isn't so much sample code provided and samples aren't really real world oriented, but they do their job and demonstrate the new features.

Conclusion

Reading this book was after all a pleasure. If you are eager to get quickly into new things and you want to know about the new version of ASP.NET, this is the first book for you. I still state that the book is an introduction and it should be treated as such, as a very good introduction.


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