Review: ASP.NET 2.0 Web Programming with VB 2005
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Published: 08 Mar 2006
Unedited - Community Contributed
In this article, Anand examines what is packed inside one of the latest books published by Murach Publishing.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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ASP.NET 2.0 is an exciting framework upon which to work.  It reduces the workload of developers by introducing tons of new controls and by implementing codeless programming.  Moreover, the Visual Studio 2005 development environment is greatly improved over previous editions, and this enables a developer to design, develop and deploy his applications under a common platform.  I have seen that many people are very eager to learn ASP.NET 2.0 because of its new features.

There are a lot of articles scattered all over the web covering a wide variety of topics about ASP.NET 2.0.  Even though one can easily learn all the concepts with the help of those articles, it would be very difficult to combine them into a single resource for ready reference later on.  This is where the importance of books comes into picture.  There are many books available for learning ASP.NET 2.0, but not one can beat ASP.NET 2.0 Web Programming with VB 2005 from Murach Publishing.  This book provides a snapshot of all the essential concepts involved with ASP.NET 2.0, including fundamentals, new web controls, validation controls, database programming, and web services.

This book has been divided into five sections and an appendix.  Each section contains 4-5 chapters with rich content.  Chapter 1 provides a basic introduction to ASP.NET programming.  This chapter provides a brief overview of some of the general concepts with the help of relevant screenshots.  While Chapter 2 examines the development of a one-page web application, Chapter 3 provides an outline of the development of a multi-page web application.  These chapters provide coverage of the various aspects of the Visual Studio IDE and web forms, validation controls, data sources, and session state.  The authors examine all of these concepts with the help of an imaginary shopping cart application.  Chapter 4 delves deep into debugging an ASP.NET application by examining the Visual Studio debugger, tracing, and more.

Section 2 is a combination of 7 chapters.  It starts with a crash course in HTML.  This chapter will be a good orientation for those who don’t have prior experience with web programming.  Chapter 6 examines, with the help of source code, the working of server controls that ship with Visual Studio 2005.  Some of the important properties and methods are given inside of tables along with a short description for easy readability.  Chapter 7 examines validation controls.  These controls play an important role in the development of web applications and hence this chapter will serve a good purpose among the developer community.  Among other topics, the authors have given the code to validate credit cards.  If you are planning to develop a shopping cart application in the near future, then you could extend the code given in this chapter.  Chapter 8 provides an outline of state management, including sessions, cookies, application state, URL encoding etc.  The remaining three chapters deal with some of the new additions to ASP.NET 2.0, such as Master Pages, Site Maps, and Themes.

In my opinion, a reader can learn the material in each chapter within an hour if he/she has prior knowledge of ASP.NET 1.1 and has the required software with which to work.  The writing style is very lucid and even beginners can follow the topics covered without much effort.  I would suggest that the publisher supply Visual Web Developer Express, as well as the source code, on a CD so that computer training centers and teachers can use this book as instant course material for their students.  One of the elegant aspects to note with regard to Murach books is that all the explanations are given on the left-hand side of the page, and screenshots and source code are given on the right-hand side.

Section 3 is all about database programming.  It begins with a basic introduction to database programming and the remaining chapters provide additional coverage of various data sources.  The authors also examine the usage of new data controls included with Visual Studio 2005, such as GridView, DetailsView and FormView, in an elaborate manner.  An important point to note about this book is that each and every point has been covered in detail with the help of a complete code snippet.  Moreover, the discussed code sample has been completely analyzed in a section titled Description.

The chapters in Section 4 provide coverage of some of the advanced topics associated with ASP.NET 2.0.  The first chapter of this section examines how to secure a website, and the topics include an introduction to SSL and digital certificates.  The authors also show how to write code for a sample store application using SSL.  Chapter 18 delves deep into various new login controls which ship with ASP.NET 2.0.  The remaining chapters of this section deal with a variety of topics, such as personalization, MultiView and Wizard controls, e-mail, custom error pages, and Web Parts.  The final chapter of this section examines configuring and deploying ASP.NET 2.0 applications.  It covers topics such as xcopy, creation of a setup program, and much more.  You should read this chapter if you are planning to distribute your application as a single executable file.

Each chapter ends with a short summary titled Perspective which provides a short introduction about what is covered and what will be covered in the upcoming chapters.  The authors have also provided a list of terms discussed on the back of each chapter.  I am wondering about the purpose of these terms when there is an index in the book.

The final section contains 3 chapters which provide a detailed orientation of the development of user controls, custom server controls, and web services.  This book includes an Appendix which provides instructions for downloading the source code discussed in the book, installation of IIS and Visual Studio 2005, creation of a virtual directory, and more.  From my point of view, the appendix will be very useful for beginners.

The book is priced at $52.50, but I am sure that you will not feel sad after the purchase of this book.  This book will be an ideal reference for all levels of programmers, and will be a good asset to your ASP.NET development.  If you have experience with ASP.NET 1.1, then you can skip certain chapters and start with those chapters which discuss new features included with ASP.NET 2.0.

Finally, I would like to say that books published by Murach provide us with the necessary information which we can read and instantly play with on our computers.

About the Book


ASP.NET 2.0 Web Programming with VB 2005


Anne Boehm and Doug Lowe






841 (including Index)


US $52.50



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