Review : Teach yourself Visual Basic.NET in 21 Days
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Published: 07 Oct 2003
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A review of the book Teach yourself Visual Basic.NET in 21 Days by Duncan Mackenzie and Kent Sharkey
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Review

Review : Teach yourself Visual Basic.NET in 21 Days

by Duncan Mackenzie and Kent Sharkey

 

Published 06/06/02

Introduction

In my review of TY ASP.NET I stated that I always liked Sams Teach Yourself books and this one is no exception. TY VB.NET is designed for people that are new to computer programming or new to the world of .NET. It covers a lot of information which is relevant and informative if you want to learn VB.NET

New to Programming

This book starts out with a couple of chapters on the basic concepts of computer programming, what .NET is and an overall view of the VB.NET (VS.NET component) IDE. These chapters are mainly for the benefit of new programmers, but people who are new to the .NET framework would also find these chapters interesting.

VS.NET

This book uses VS.NET primarily (it actually uses the VB.NET standalone version of it and references it as "Visual Basic .NET") for forms and for anything that can be done with the IDE. For people with VS.NET, this is a good thing as it will give you a basic tutorial on how to use VS.NET (Day 2). If you do not have VS.NET, then it may not be as easy as many functions (form creation, proxy class creation etc.) are done using VS.NET, but some of the code examples will still be useful.

Moving Along

After a few chapters on the basics of VB.NET (Variables, Functions and Methods, Program Flow etc.) it then progresses into chapters about Application Architecture, Exception Handling and working with Objects.

I was a bit concerned about placement of some of the chapters in the middle of the book. For example, there were chapters that focused on objects on Days 7, 14 and 15 which I feel could have been closer together.

After the first week focused on getting the basics out of the way, the second week looked at the .NET Framework (specifically, a few classes that you may use) and Forms (Windows and Web) creation through VS.NET. The week then progressed onto two days on ADO.NET. I though that this was quite a short time to be spending on ADO.NET, but I was surprised at how well it covered it (if not briefly). The next chapters looked at the Server Explorer (which could have been compressed into earlier chapters) and then a 'Welcome to Object Oriented Programming' type chapter (a bit late considering that Objects were also covered on Day 7).

Week three finished up objects and forms and then looked at some of the more advanced objects in the .NET Framework. Although it compressed these objects (FileSystem and Graphics) into a single chapter, they were covered adequately, but if you really wanted to progress much further, a trip to another book or the documentation would be required.

The next day focused on documenting your code, code practices and an interesting section on source control before looking at Deployment, a quick run through of XML (too quick for my taste) and another quick run through of web services creation and consumption (all in VS.NET).

Too much information, too little space

This book did fit quite a number of topics into it's 21 day limit and although I thought that in some places, sections should have been left out and other sections expanded, overall it was compiled very well into a readable and good book on VB.NET

The Examples

The examples in the book were good, but some of them started to get too advanced for a beginner to look at and some used objects and methods that weren't mentioned before and then explained what they did and how they worked in a short paragraph afterwards.

There were also sometimes where they made overcomplicated examples of simple things (eg. the Performance counters and the Outlook Message Watcher are things that I would want to refer back to and analyze, not really something for the beginner).

Concepts

I mentioned earlier that there were a number of chapters that drilled into the concepts and ideas of programming in VB.NET and I found these chapters quite interesting. Chapters like Day 5 'Application Architecture in .NET' was an especially interesting one as it looked at the design process, different architectures and a simple tiered style were all very interesting to look at (although chapter 5 should have been moved back a bit). These concept chapters should be interesting even if you already know VB.NET and will provide you with some more techniques and ideas to think about when programming (or designing).

Summary

Overall, this was a great book if you are just getting started in the .NET Framework (possibly from another programming environment) and a good book to either look at new concepts and ideas if you already know a bit about VB.NET.

Content : 8.5 / 10

Layout : 7 / 10

Overall : 8.9 / 10

Total : 81%

 

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