Review: Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 Databases Beta Preview
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Published: 02 Aug 2005
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This article provides a brief review of the latest book from Wrox publishing, titled Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 Databases Beta Preview.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Even though version 2.0 of the .NET Framework is still in the Beta stage, many publishers have released books concerning the ASP.NET 2.0 Beta. One such book is Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 Databases Beta Preview, from Wrox. This book covers the ADO.NET part of the .NET Framework 2.0 Beta. It examines almost all the concepts in a comprehensive manner with step-by-step explanations together with supporting code samples. The author begins with a basic introduction to ASP.NET 2.0 and ADO.NET. This will surely help novice developers as they can learn right from the evolution of the .NET Framework. This chapter also examines the different editors available for programming with ASP.NET, such as Visual Studio 2005 and Notepad.

Chapters 2 and 3 examine the connection aspects of database access. While chapter 2 covers Microsoft Access, chapter 3 touches on SQL Server and SQL Server Express. The author also provides coverage about connecting to other popular relational databases such as Oracle and MySQL. Chapter 5 shows the different ways by which you can display data using ASP.NET 2.0. These include the GridView and DetailsView controls. The next chapter examines in detail the usage of Cascading Style Sheets with ASP.NET 2.0 controls. Chapter 7 examines the paging and sorting aspects of controls such as the GridView. The next chapter provides a clear explanation of displaying data in list controls.

Chapter 9 shows you how to filter data from the database using different methods such as using a QueryString parameter or a TextBox value. This chapter also demonstrates how to display data using a GridView and DetailsView on the same page and on different pages. Chapter 10 examines the different ways of displaying data in templated controls with the help of source codes. Chapters 11 and 12 cover updating, deleting, and inserting data in a detailed manner. The author covers, among other things, the handling of NULLs in updates.

Chapter 12 examines the inserting of data using DetailsView and FormView controls. The author provides a detailed explanation about n-tier applications and the creation of a data access logic layer using the Visual Studio DataSet Designer. Do you have knowledge of XML? If so, you should refer to chapter 14 as it provides detailed coverage about the usage of XML with ASP.NET 2.0. The final two chapters cover data caching and handling of events. Many readers will keenly read the chapter about caching as this technique has been used by many developers to improve the performance of ASP.NET applications.

An important point to note regarding this book is that each chapter includes exercises titled Try It Out. These exercises will help readers to learn while they read the book. Moreover, all aspects are covered in a step-by-step manner.

This book includes an excellent appendix which gives a short and crisp introduction to SQL statements. Each chapter includes exercise questions, and the final appendix provides answers for the same. I feel that the author should provide multiple-choice questions as exercises rather than conventional style questions. This will help those who are preparing for the upcoming .NET 2.0 certification examinations. I also found some coding errors in the book. I hope the author will fix them before releasing the next edition of the book.

I feel that even beginners with no experience of ASP.NET can easily learn the concepts covered in this book, as it is written in easy-to-understand language. This book should find a place on the shelves of upcoming ASP.NET developers.

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