Review : Introducing .NET
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Published: 08 Oct 2003
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A review of the book "Introducing .NET" byJames Conard et al. , published by Wrox Press
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Review

BOOK: Introducing .NET

James Conard et al. Published by Wrox Press

Introduction

This is a bit strange having an introduction for a book review but you'll see why later. Anyway, Introducing .NET is a book that introduces you to the basic concepts of .NET and what they do for you. It gives you a run down of - C#, Visual Studio.NET Changes in VB.NET, ASP.NET, Web Stuff (Web Services, etc.) and briefly on ADO.NET.

I'm still thinking about weather to go for this .NET stuff, I don't want to learn it just to see it flop so this book was going to give me what I needed to make my decision.

Beware

In the first chapter of this book I leant that this is not for a beginner, in fact you'd better know something about one of the major .NET languages (or VB, maybe C++) in order to understand most of this book (well, all of it). I feel inclined to give you a blow-by-blow description of this book, but I'll break it up into nice bit size chunks.

Introducing .NET

The introduction basically was all I expected from the title, a brief introduction to .NET, and it gave it to me, it also made me think of how we're going to move people already with the old runtime's into the new, and XP doesn't have .NET runtime installed. But it was all I wanted. The next bit (chapter) was an introduction to the CLR, which runs all your .NET applications. This chapter crossed the line, the line is the line between enough information and detailed examples and losing the topic. The first few pages were on the CLR then some C# stuff that was poorly explained to the beginner, but I got the general idea.

C-Hash

I know its pronounced C-Sharp. We also have an intro to the C# language, the start looked like it was going to cross the basics of the language and it did. But after a while the syntax was too complex for me to read and understand (complex as in - I had no idea what this was.) I ended up skipping the last bit because I obviously wasn't going to get anything out of this. I think I missed some stuff on Implementing Interfaces and Advanced C# features (in an introduction????)

The Rest

After a rather rough introduction the rest was ok, we looked over VS.NET and because I was familiar with VB the VB.NET chapter was very helpful, as was the ASP.NET one. We looked at Windows Forms (which I realized wasn't going to be easy for anyone, but did provide some enhancement that I would defiantly use.

The ASP.NET section also included a chapter on web services and how to implement them. Since I already knew a bit about these services, it was easy.

Language Clashes

The problem with having a book on .NET is that .NET has 2 primary languages (C# and VB.NET), although it was good that they acknowledged this, I'm a primarily VB programmer and the people reading this book probably don't know C#, when writing the business web service they wrote the whole component in C#! Although they showed this as a cross-language advantage it was over the top. They did explain every bit of the way, and dumped a hunk of code at the end for the VB version, but I would have liked it if they put all the heavy explanation in the part about VB.

The Rest (cont.)

They then proceeded into ADO.NET and told me that I really needed to know this stuff (previously I new next to nothing about ADO, except for connecting and getting and changing data). It gave a very good example on using ADO.NET with a real-world example and showed me the various benefits of it (no more lengthy UPDATE statements!).

A case study?

As with nearly all Wrox books, this one had a case study at the end, I thought that a case study would have been a bit out of place, but it use the ASP.NET and ADO.NET knowledge that we had leant earlier. It used a component to provide access to a database. The component was written in ------- C# with no VB version. Also I understood (basically) what was happening, I found this extremely annoying.

Overall?

This book is too general really, it provides examples in C# and VB.NET, which I found quite frustrating, also the book was geared around .NET Beta 1 so a few pencil notes in the book were needed. This book is only a 'Public Beta Release' so hopefully when a final version comes out it will be a bit better. I wouldn't really recommend this book, but even I might refer to parts of it again (only the VB.NET and ASP.NET and ADO.NET parts). If you really want to get on the road to .NET start with a book that introduces you the concepts of a specific area, such as - Teach yourself ASP.NET or Beginning VB.NET.

Scale Ratings:

Content:                            4/10

Relevant Information:       5/10

Worth it?                           No (0/2)

Overall:                             9/22 (40%

 

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