Review : Teach yourself
Visual Basic.NET in 21 Days
by Duncan Mackenzie and Kent Sharkey
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.
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.
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
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
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 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).
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).
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.