Review: ASP.NET 2.0 Unleashed
Published: 27 Jul 2006
Unedited - Community Contributed
Since ASP.NET 1.0, one of the most popular books (if not the most popular book) has been Stephen Walther's ASP.NET Unleashed. Recently, Sams Publishing has released ASP.NET 2.0 Unleashed, again written by Stephen. This review will discuss the good and the bad of the book.
by Jason N. Gaylord
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Table of Contents

I. Building ASP.NET Pages

1.      Overview of the ASP.NET Framework

During this chapter the author covers ASP.NET and the .NET Framework, understanding ASP.NET controls, understanding ASP.NET pages and installing the ASP.NET framework.

2.      Using the Standard Controls

During this chapter the author covers controls that display information, accept user input, submit form data, display images and the Panel and HyperLink controls.

3.      Using the Validation Controls

In this chapter the author covers validation and discusses the validation controls.

4.      Using the Rich Controls

This chapter explains how to accept file uploads, display a calendar, display advertisements, display different page views and display a wizard.

II. Designing ASP.NET Websites

5.      Designing Websites with Master Pages

During this chapter the author explains how to create master pages, modify master page content and load master pages dynamically.

6.      Designing Websites with Themes

In this chapter the author explains how to create themes, add skins and style sheets to themes, create global themes and apply themes dynamically.

7.      Creating Custom Controls with User Controls

This chapter explains how to create user controls, dynamically load user controls and utilize AJAX with user controls.

III. Performing Data Access

8.      Overview of Data Access

This chapter explains how to use databound and datasource controls, use templates and databinding expressions, and it provides an overview of SQL Server 2005 Express.

9.      Using the SqlDataSource Control

During this chapter the author explains how to create a database connection, execute database commands, use ASP.NET parameters with the SqlDataSource control, programmatically execute SqlDataSource commands, and cache database data with the SqlDataSource control.

10.  Using List Controls

In this chapter the author explains how to use list controls, provides details about the list controls and explains how to create a custom list control.

11.  Using the GridView Control

During this chapter, the author provides GridView control fundamentals, explains how to use fields with the GridView control, explains how to work with the GridView events and explains how to extend the GridView control.

12.  Using the DetailsView and FormView Controls

In this chapter the author explains how to use the DetailsView and FormView control.

13.  Using the Repeater and DataList Controls

Throughout this chapter the author explains how to use the Repeater and DataList control.

IV. Building Components

14.  Building Components

This chapter explains how to build basic components, build component libraries and the author lists some architectural considerations.

15.  Using the ObjectDataSource Control

In this chapter the author explains how to represent objects with the ObjectDataSource control and use parameters with the ObjectDataSource control.  It discusses enabling paging, sorting, and filtering data with the ObjectDataSource control, how to handle events from the ObjectDataSource control and explains how to extend the ObjectDataSource.

16.  Building Data Access Components

During this chapter the author explains how to use connected and disconnected data access objects, execute asynchronous database commands and build database objects with the .NET framework.

V. Site Navigation

17.  Using the Navigation Controls

Throughout this chapter the author explains how to use the SiteMapPath, Menu, and TreeView control.  He also details how to build a SQL hierarchical data source control.

18.  Using Site Maps

This chapter explains how to use the SiteMapDataSource control, use the SiteMap class, perform advanced site map configuration, create a custom site map provider and generate a Google SiteMap file.

19.  Advanced Navigation

In this chapter the author explains how to create a custom UrlRemapper module and how to use the VirtualPathProvider class.

VI. Security

20.  Using the Login Controls

During this chapter the author explains how to use the Login, CreateUserWizard, LoginStatus, LoginName, ChangePassword, PasswordRecovery and LoginView controls.

21.  Using ASP.NET Membership

In this chapter the author explains how to configure authentication and authorization as well as how to use ASP.NET membership and the role manager.

VII. Building ASP.NET Applications

22.  Maintaining Application State

During this chapter the author explains how to use browser cookies, session state and profiles.

23.  Caching Application Pages and Data

During this chapter the author explains how to use page output caching, partial page caching, DataSource caching, data caching and SQL cache dependencies.

24.  Localizing Applications for Multiple Languages

This chapter explains how to set the current culture, use the CultureInfo class and create local and global resources.

25.  Working with the HTTP Runtime

Throughout this chapter the author explains how to create a custom BuildProvider and ExpressionBuilder, create an HttpHandler and HttpModule, and work with the Global.asax file.

26.  Configuring Applications

During this chapter the author explains how to configure your website, use the Web Site Configuration tool, use the Configuration API, create a custom configuration section and create encrypted configuration sections.

VIII. Building Applications with Web Parts

27.  Introduction to Web Parts

This chapter explains the web part framework and explains how to create a simple web part application.  I also explains the Catalog, Editor, and Connections zones.

28.  Building Web Parts

In this chapter the author explains how to create simple web parts, filter web parts, create custom web part verbs, display web part help and manage web parts using the WebPartManager control.

29.  Personalizing Web Parts

Throughout this chapter the author explains how to configure Personalization, create personalize-able web parts and create custom Personalization providers.

30.  Extending the Web Part Framework

This chapter explains how to create custom web part, catalog and editor zones.  It also discusses how to create custom web part display modes.

IX. Custom Control Building

31.  Building Custom Controls

During this chapter the author explains how to build custom controls, view state and control state, process postback data and events, work with control property collections and create a better designer experience.

32.  Integrating JavaScript in Custom Controls

This chapter explains how to use the ClientScriptManager class, build JavaScript controls and build AJAX controls.

33.  Building Templated Databound Custom Controls

Throughout this chapter the author explains how to create templated controls and templated databound controls.

X. Sample Application

34.  Building an E-Commerce Application

This sample application covers the technologies that the reader has learned throughout the chapters.  It includes, but is not limited to, master pages, themes, user controls, building a component library, creating a custom site map provider, creating a shopping cart, protecting credit card numbers, handling images, retrieving data using AJAX, improving performance through caching and conforming to standards.


To sum up this book (some may call it a novel or encyclopedia), it contains lots and lots of content.  Stephen Walther has followed up on his best selling "ASP.NET Unleashed" book with this release.  The original "ASP.NET Unleashed" book was an excellent example of a book that developers could work up from installing and configuring ASP.NET to building enterprise applications.  Much like the original, this book starts off by covering the basics and then details how ASP.NET 2.0 works.  It covers each of the new additions to ASP.NET 2.0 including, but not limited to, the new data objects, web parts, navigation controls, authentication controls, master pages and themes.  Unlike most ASP.NET 2.0 books, this book continues to mention and explain how to accomplish many of the new features in ASP.NET 1.x.  For instance, Chapter 20 discusses how to use the new login controls in ASP.NET 2.0 for forms authentication.  In Chapter 21 there are multiple examples detailing how to create a login control for forms authentication in ASP.NET 1.x.  This book also contains some topics similar books do not including, such as creating your own provider, creating your own custom controls and building AJAX controls.


In all seriousness, there are very few flaws with this book besides the fact that C# developers may not be able to follow the examples in the book unless they are familiar with Visual Basic.  Every code snippet and sample is written in Visual Basic.  It would be great if the author could provide source codes in C# as well as a separate download from the website of the publisher.


In my opinion it is definitely worth paying the $59.99 suggested retail price to purchase this book. This is one of those few books that both beginners and advanced ASP.NET developers should have.  Not only is it a great reference guide, but it also demonstrates how to apply each principle in an example.

About the Book


ASP.NET 2.0 Unleashed


ASP.NET 2.0 Unleashed


Sams Publishing


Stephen Walther






US $59.99



User Comments

Title: Horrible   
Name: NazMan
Date: 2010-02-25 9:14:05 AM

This book is one of the worst I ever read.
A lot of code in the book but a lot of valuable information missing. You use the samples then you keep wondering for a long time about the missing parts that will make the samples work.

Alos, this book is toooo much tied to microsoft technology. Try using a database other than SQL Server... good freaking luck !

Title: Instant Host   
Date: 2009-05-18 5:36:04 AM
Very interesting article. You just earned a new fellow reader :)

I like a lot this article and others I just read on this blog.

Mind me a question, have you ever considered using the standard edition of LiteSpeed instead of lighttpd?

LiteSpeed has some good features like compatibility with .htaccess files (with caching) and mod_rewrite.

Best regards,
Title: What?   
Name: Guru
Date: 2007-08-28 5:27:30 AM
Dont do timepass here! ok
Title: Code Slut   
Name: Mike
Date: 2007-08-09 4:00:32 PM
Title: well indeed   
Name: Patrick
Date: 2007-07-02 10:02:52 AM
I think the reviewer was pointing out that for those of us that know C# syntax, it would be nice to have the source in C#. I am unfamiliar with VB.NET and find the syntax for most code very strange. I am NOT saying that one is better than the other, just that I can understand C# syntax. Most modern text actual provide both -- I would not buy this book for that reason.
Title: well?   
Name: mark
Date: 2006-10-17 9:38:58 PM
c3? VB? this is not the place! is anyone gonna talk about the book??
Title: Re: Jon Nemesis   
Name: Jason N. Gaylord
Date: 2006-09-11 11:33:09 AM
Jon's Nemesis, I think you've been taking some C# pills lately. Don't start any language wars. There will always be a place for each language.
Title: To Jon   
Name: Jon's Nemesis
Date: 2006-09-02 9:08:40 PM
Lay off the space cake. C# owns VB and day of the week. C# is for real programmers, just wait until 3.0 gets lamdba expressions, something which very few imperative programming languages (save python and ruby) have. Or did you not notice that VB is always lagging behind C# in terms of feature development? Get real.
Title: C# code   
Name: Jason N. Gaylord
Date: 2006-08-07 12:01:33 PM
Mike is correct. The C# examples are on CD. However, CDs can be lost or destroyed so it would be nice if the examples could be downloaded (which Stephen has made available) or shown in the book. I was merely pointing out that if I had to force myself to find a flaw, that would be the only one. :)

Jon, I'd stay away from comments like that. C# does have a purpose and place. If it didn't, it wouldn't exist. Notice that many of the source downloads from Microsoft are still in C# only. The only thing I can add to your comment is the fact that Microsoft has mandated that their examples be written in VB. This is most likely due to their desire to have VB 6 developers switch to .NET (Just my opinion and speculation).
Title: C# code   
Name: Jon
Date: 2006-08-03 12:46:43 PM
All .net books should be only in VB.

Stick all that C# crap where it belongs, buried on some CD
Title: C# code   
Name: Mike
Date: 2006-08-02 6:31:58 PM
At the begining of the book Stephen mentions that every code sample is provided in c# on the accompanying CD.

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