Review : Professional Active Server Pages 3.0
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Published: 06 Nov 2001
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A review of the book Professional Active Server Pages 3.0 by Alex Homer et al.
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Book Review : Professional Active Server Pages 3.0
by Alex Homer et al.

Published 11/06/01

About this Book

Professional Active Server Pages, published by Wrox Press is about Classic ASP. I had time to read this book before I got into ASP.NET so I won't be bashing it as much.
This book is about 1800 pages and is a very in-depth reference guide to the more professional parts of ASP 3.

In the Beginning

I was a bit surprised to see this book start off with ASP Fundamentals, followed by the Response and Request Objects. I didn't know what these were doing in a Professional ASP 3 book, but still, it was good revision and it went in-depth into these objects showing off features that you probably will never use, but its nice to know that their there.

After the Fundamentals, we moved on to a bit about the Session object and the ASP Scripting Library, there was some times where I just skipped huge chunks because I felt that this stuff was stuff that -

a) I was never going to use

b) Just went on and on about stuff I already knew

c) Just bored the hell out of me

When you get to chapter 8 the boredom sets in. The explanation of code was not that good and introduction of new features was excellent but it was just boring. It was kind of like at school (or a tertiary institution) and you find a teacher that will just go on and on about something and you just want them to shut-up. It was like that.
After a lot of code that was confusing to say the least, I prayed for the chapter where there would be no code. My prayers were answered with Chapter 13, all about the theory and structure of components.

Be careful for what you wish for - The all-text no-code chapter was even worse than the ones with code.

Now, I'm not simply bashing this book in all aspects of it. I thought that the content was great and there was a very good ASP Object Model guide in the back. It was more about the 50 page chapters that went from one object to the next like those text books I got with Visual Basic 5 - complete and in-depth but boring.

After a while

I pressed on with my struggle, soon realizing that since ASP was just components, all about the components I could skip chapters (but decided not to for the sake of this review). After the first 10 chapters you can then chose specific chapters to read (although reading them in order might be a good idea as they refer to things in previous chapters). For a project I was working on, I just looked at the CDONTS chapter to get all of my resources.

It went though stuff like transacted web applications, Active Directory, CDO (that included Exchange server, CDONTS and other messaging things), security and the great lot of reference to a lot (if not all) of the ASP objects (that come build in) and how to use them.

At the end there was a nice big chapter on a case-study. It was on an XML driven Newspaper site and it was good. Using some of the skills learnt in the book (you can't use all of them for any kind of project) to build a like app that you can run on the web.

At the end

Although this book was like a reference guide (I know that it is but I kind of expected something more). Its content was excellent and I will be referring to it if I should have any ASP 3 needs in the future. However it did a good job of trying to put me off Wrox books, because I think that the style is pretty much the same across their books, but I haven't given up on them yet.

Content : 8 / 10

Layout : 4 / 10

Overall : 4.5 / 10

Total : 55%



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