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Book Review: Designing Microsoft ASP.NET Applications
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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About the Book

Designing Microsoft ASP.NET Applications
By Douglas J. Reilly
Microsoft Press
402 Pages (Including Index)
US $39.99


ASP.NET is one of the hottest programming technologies in today’s computing world. There are several books available on the market for learning ASP.NET. Some of them are very bulky and others provide compact information about the topic. Designing Microsoft ASP.NET applications is a book which provides in-depth and relevant content about ASP.NET and the .NET Framework.

The book begins with a brief comparison of various server side technologies such as CGI, ISAPI and ASP. The author further examines the pros and cons of these technologies with the help of traditional programs that are well supported by screenshots. The chapter concludes by stating the various features of ASP.NET.

Chapter 2 (Managed Code and the CLR) delves deep into .NET. It examines the .NET Framework architecture, Intermediate Language and other related topics with the help of source code listings. This chapter will be very useful for beginners as it will help them understand the basic fundamentals of .NET.

The third chapter doesn’t cover anything about ASP.NET. It evaluates the main features of Visual Basic .NET and C# and also the .NET Framework in general. The final section about Operator Overloading is explained very well. Chapter 4 deals with ASP.NET web development and chapter 5 illustrates the various aspects of Web Forms. The remaining chapters examine ASP.NET in detail. Topics such as Web.Config, Validation Controls, User Controls, ADO.NET, XML, and Web Services have been explained in an elaborate manner with source code and UML diagrams.

Chapter 10 (XML Web Services) also includes a real world application titled “Article Distribution”. The section “Creating Data Entry Pages” on chapter 9 (Data and ASP.NET Forms) will be very useful for beginners. This book also includes two useful appendixes as well. The first one examines about the configuration of IIS and it will be very useful for beginners. The second appendix completely explains the fundamentals of HTML. I feel that this appendix is not required since most of the learners will have a basic understanding of the HTML. This could have be replaced by something more useful and relevant to the context of ASP.NET.

The disappointing factor is that this book hasn’t been updated for very long time. The contents can be further improved to reflect ASP.NET 1.1 and possibly the upcoming version of 2.0. This book also comes with a CD containing the source code files of all the listings.

Overall, this book is a very useful resource for all levels of learners of one of the most exciting and powerful web technology. I give this book a 4 star rating (****).

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