Review: Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0: Core Reference
Published: 31 Aug 2006
Unedited - Community Contributed
Teemu Keiski reviews Microsoft Press book titled Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0: Core Reference, authored by Dino Esposito.
by Teemu Keiski
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When Microsoft released ASP.NET 1.1 in 2003, Microsoft Press published Programming Microsoft ASP.NET, authored by Dino Esposito.  The book is known for its definitive and great in-depth coverage of ASP.NET 1.x internals.

With ASP.NET 2.0, Dino and Microsoft Press have refined the strategy and this time the entire coverage of ASP.NET 2.0 platform has been separated into two books, Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0: Core Reference and Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 Applications: Advanced Topics.  This review is about the former.

The book is meant for developers already familiar with the basics of ASP.NET and it intends to cover features that an ASP.NET developer wants to know about in ASP.NET 2.0.

Table of Contents

Part I: Building an ASP.NET Page

1.      The ASP.NET Programming Model

This chapter covers ASP.NET's workings from HTTP standpoint, the component model of ASP.NET, the development stack of ASP.NET, presentation layer and controls and the rationale behind provider model implementation in ASP.NET.

2.      Web Development in Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2005

This chapter covers issues of Visual Studio .NET 2003 and how they are solved in Visual Studio .NET 2005.  It also explains how to create an ASP.NET project, how to work with ASP.NET project items and how to deploy and administer an ASP.NET application.

3.      Anatomy of an ASP.NET Page

This chapter covers ASP.NET Page's machinery and request processing mechanics, Page class's object model and page lifecycle.

4.      ASP.NET Core Server Controls

This chapter covers generalities of ASP.NET server controls, html controls, web controls and validation controls.

5.      Working with the Page

This chapter covers programming with server-side forms, error handling, tracing and personalization.

6.      Rich Page Composition

This chapter covers master pages, themes and creating wizards.

Part II: Adding Data in an ASP.NET Site

7.      ADO.NET Data Providers

This chapter covers .Net data access infrastructure including .NET managed data providers, data sources accessed through ADO.NET and provider factory model.  It also covers in detail how to connect to a data source and how to execute database commands.

8.      ADO.NET Data Containers

This chapter covers data adapters, table mapping, batch updates and in-memory data container objects, such as DataSet, DataTable and DataView.

9.      The Data-Binding Model

This chapter covers data source-based data binding, list controls and iterative controls, data-binding expressions and data source controls.

10.  Creating Bindable Grids of Data

This chapter covers DataGrid control and its successor, GridView control.  It focuses on how GridView makes working with grids easier and how to bind data to the grids.  It also covers paging, sorting, editing and advanced capabilities of GridView.

11.  Managing Views of a Record

This chapter covers DetailsView and FormView controls' object model, binding and editing data with them and how to create master/detail views.

Part III: ASP.NET Infrastructure

12.  The HTTP Request Context

This chapter covers initialization of an ASP.NET application, global.asax file and HttpApplication object, HttpContext class, Server object, HttpResponse object and HttpRequest object.

13.  State Management

This chapter covers application state, working with and customizing session state plus view state.

14.  ASP.NET Caching

This chapter covers data caching with Cache class, ASP.NET page caching known also as page output caching and cache dependencies (SQL and custom).

15.  ASP.NET Security

This chapter covers security threats in web applications, ASP.NET security context and identity flow with ASP.NET authentication methods, forms authentication, membership and role management API and security-related server controls.


I like Dino's writing style very much.  He is always accurate in what he writes and tries to place the knowledge at the reader's disposal.  He has the ability to not just write about interesting subjects, but to make the results of the writing process enjoyable to read.  

All the things are covered thoroughly and with a professional touch.  Discussion about ASP.NET mechanics under the hood is especially good.


I think that there was a slight mistake in what was considered to be part of the core reference book and part of its companion book covering the advanced topics.  Topics such as navigation, user controls and configuration should belong to a reference book because they are important for basic web site building and administration view.

Do not get me wrong, the book is great in what it covers, but the balance between reference and advanced topics is not 100% correct.


Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0: Core Reference is a very good book and definitely worth buying.  Just be prepared that you might need to buy its companion book Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 Applications: Advanced Topics.  I am going to review that soon.

About the book






Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0: Core Reference


Dino Esposito (Solid Quality Learning)


Microsoft Press




ISBN-10: 0-7356-2176-4

ISBN-13: 978-0-7356-2176-3

Related URL

List Price





User Comments

Title: What a great book!   
Name: Bilal Haidar [MVP]
Date: 2006-11-18 10:28:04 AM
Hello Teemu:
I was reading in the book right now and being an author at, I came online to submit a proposal to give a review on this book, but I found yours :D.

This book is a master piece! I am waiting to finish thisone and start with the advanced one!

Title: Re. Totally agree   
Name: Steve Culshaw
Date: 2006-10-29 6:49:12 AM
The Programming ASP.NET is by Jesse Liberty, not Juval Lowy
- the thought of Lowy doing an ASP.NET book :-)
Title: Dino's style   
Name: John Nelson
Date: 2006-10-27 4:39:05 AM
The thing about this book is that Dino isn't JUST a luminary on the subject of, he's a superior writer. The fact is, not even a year ago I was coming out of pretty basic PHP school, when I picked up this book. While there's no real coding example in the first book, the book gave to me not just the fundamental understanding of 2.0, but to think in web application. Rather than HTML/Business Logic/Data Layer all on one crappy PHP page. The factor that Dino's writing got me engaged. It was the first computer book where I read it from front to back. And enjoyed it. He's dryly witty, and enthused on the subject. That's more valuable than some one who will offer you more detailed knowledge, and have poor language. I mean, the missing details we can do Google searches on the subjects. It's the incentive to want to get to that stage. I'd dare say that because of this book, my skill set has gained into at least a junior OOP n-tier developer with in the span of less than a year. There were many other books and blood sweat and tears that came to be, obviously. But those other books wouldn't have pushed me down the road...So, I think there's more to look here than just the technical information.

However, I think the separation of the two books came from Dino's personal life. Look at the tone from the one book to the next. The first one is not as personable, and text book like at times. Where as the Advanced topics has a major credit to his family, children and the topic of getting back to sports. Also, there's a way more "fun" edge to the advanced topics book, with good code samples.
Title: Totally agree   
Name: Scott Galloway
Date: 2006-08-31 11:14:02 AM
I totally agree, to me it felt as if the Core and Advanced books are really just one big book which have been split for no good reason (well, one good reason you make more money that way..). I recently picked up 'Programming ASP.NET' by Juval Lowy and Dan Hurwitz and I have to say, it's a far superior book to Dinos two combined. The only comparable book I've seen so far is ASP.NET 2.0 Unleashed...which is very comprehensive...just HUGE.

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