Review: A First Look at ASP.NET v 2.0
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Published: 01 Dec 2003
Unedited - Community Contributed
A review of Addison-Wesley's "A First Look at ASP.NE v 2.0" by Homer, Howard, and Sussman, which is definitely worth picking up.
by Jason Salas
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A First Look at ASP.NET v 2.0
by Alex Homer, Dave Sussman, Rob Howard
published by Addison-Wesley


The scientist Louis Pasteur is famous for, amongst other things, saying, “chance favors the prepared mind.”  With Whidbey on the horizon, Dave Sussman, Alex Homer and Rob Howard, are getting you prepared for battle, as you combat long, drawn-out development sessions and having to write thousands of lines of code.  You’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of this book to properly arm yourself.

Whether you’re an existing alpha tester or one of the many who is privy to a PDC copy of Whidbey, this is the definitive source you’ll want in your arsenal for the next evolution of ASP.NET.  There’s code galore, and the concepts are explained easily and well, while still mixing in the specifics of how the next version of .NET will help you become a better web developer.

The book’s hearty 470+ pages display a tone that is friendly and comforting, which is a plus when taking into consideration the literal piano of information about new features and enhancements that will be dropping on you.  It seems to be best read by an experienced ASP.NET developer, familiar with concepts and terms inherent to Microsoft web development.  One will quickly welcome the perspectives given on a variety of topics from caching to the new server controls, to the enhancements Version 2.0 of the .NET Framework delivers.

The book does not completely marry the reader to the Whidbey version of Visual Studio .NET, rather presenting the code examples in an IDE-agnostic manner, so as to still appeal to the NotePad enthusiast in all of us.  Still, the vast and massive improvements to VS.NET itself are well documented.

All the book’s examples are presented in Visual Basic .NET, which isn’t so bad, as one of the key points of the title is that Whidbey’s new model minimizes the authoring of code itself, so you can concentrate more on working with encapsulated server controls and optimizing your web apps through intelligent configuration and management utilities.

A very healthy chapter on Web Parts and Whidbey’s model for the portal framework is most appreciated, and the ease by which you’ll sift through the accompanying code just goes to prove how much better developing web-based applications will be once Whidbey arrives.  Equally-thick chapters on new aspects of the feature set such as master pages, membership, and personalization, as well as great discussions of the improvements to the existing security, data controls, configuration and administration.

The book also does a great job of keeping multi-platform application development in mind, constantly mentioning the capabilities of Whidbey to generate output for both the desktop-based and mobile browser.

My personal favorite new feature of ASP.NET 2.0 is Web Parts and Personalization, and the book has a great deal of information on both.  The book proves that not only has Microsoft listened to customers and thought way ahead in developing the next big thing, but the title’s authors themselves answer many questions you’d likely ask.

If you’re wondering if this book (and Whidbey in general) is worth it – believe the hype.  Get this book now.  You’ll be very happy you did, and will be anxiously anticipating the release of Beta 1.

Jason Salas, MBA, MCP
Web Development Manager / News Anchor
Pacific Telestations, Inc. (dba, "KUAM")
President, .NET User Group of Guam

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