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Review: Visual Basic 2005 for Programmers, 2nd Edition
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by Jason N. Gaylord
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Table of Contents

Introduction to .NET, Visual Basic and Object Technology

This chapter introduces .NET, XML, Visual Basic and the Internet.

Introduction to the Visual Basic Express 2005 IDE

This chapter discusses the Visual Studio 2005 IDE including the Menu bar, Toolbar, Solution explorer, Toolbox and Properties window.  It also discusses using the Help feature.  The end of the chapter provides an example program that can be created visually.

Introduction to Visual Basic Programming

This chapter begins to jump into Visual Basic.  During this chapter you will learn how to create a console application.  You will also learn how to do some basic arithmetic, such as adding integers. Finally, you will learn how to examine a requirements document for an ATM system.

Introduction to Classes and Objects

This chapter discusses classes, objects, methods and instance variables.  It also talks about value and reference types.  The chapter will wrap up by identifying the classes in the requirements document from Chapter 3.

Control Statements: Part 1

During this chapter you learn about If…Then…Else, Do While…Loop, and Do Until…Loop statements. You also learn about nested control and repetition statements.  The chapter wraps up by identifying the class attributes in the project mentioned in Chapter 3.

Control Statements: Part 2

During this chapter you learn about For…Next, Select…Case, Do…Loop While, and Do…Loop Until statements.  It also discusses the Exit and Continue statements.  The chapter wraps up by identifying the objects' states and activities in the ATM system project from Chapter 3.

Methods: A Deeper Look

This chapter discusses modules, classes, and methods.  The Subroutine and Function methods are also discussed.  Other items that are discussed include Shared methods, method call stack, implicit arguments, option strict, data type conversions, value and reference types, pass-by-value vs. pass-by-reference, method overloading, Optional parameters and recursion.  The chapter wraps up by identifying operations in the ATM system.

Arrays

This chapter discusses how to declare an array and how to pass an array to a method.  You will also learn how to use the ReDim statement to change the size of an array at execution.  The chapter wraps up by discussing the collaboration between objects in the ATM system.

Classes and Objects: A Deeper Look

This chapter talks about class members, such as Shared, Const and ReadOnly.  You can take a look at the Object Browser.  Also you learn about constructors, partial classes and using the Me reference.  The chapter wraps up by beginning development on the classes of the ATM system.

Object-Oriented Programming: Inheritance

This chapter is focused on base and derived classes.  You learn about the relationship between base and derived classes, protected and friend members and using the class object.

Object-Oriented Programming: Polymorphism

This chapter focuses on abstract classes and methods.  You learn about NotOverridable methods and NotInheritable classes.  The chapter will wrap up by incorporating inheritance and polymorphism into the ATM system.

Exception Handling

This chapter covers the basics of exception handling.  You learn about the different types of exceptions, such as DivideByZeroExceptions and FormatExceptions, and how to handle exceptions when they occur.  You will also learn about the exception hierarchy as well as how to use the finally block, exception properties and how to create your own exception classes.

Graphical User Interface Concepts: Part 1

The first part of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) chapters will discuss windows forms, event handling, control properties and layout and controls.  The chapter talks about the Label, TextBox, Button, GroupBox, Panel, CheckBox, RadioButton, PictureBox, ToolTip and NumbericUpDown controls.

Graphical User Interface Concepts: Part 2

The second part of the GUI chapters discusses more complex controls.  You learn about the MonthCalendar, DateTimePicker, LinkLabel, ListBox, CheckedListBox, ComboBox, TreeView, ListView and TabControl.  You also learn how to establish form menus, how to create MDI forms and use visual inheritance.  Finally, you see how to create your own controls.

Multithreading

This chapter discusses the life cycle of a thread.  It also talks about thread priorities and scheduling.  You learn how to create and execute threads with and without synchronization. Finally, you learn how to establish multithreading with UI's.

Strings, Characters and Regular Expressions

This chapter will discuss the String class and how to use the properties and methods with the class.  You also learn about the various character methods.  Lastly, you learn about using regular expressions and the RegEx class.

Graphics and Multimedia

This chapter discusses using the System.Drawing namespace.  You learn how to draw UI and graphical objects on the fly using this namespace as well as how to use Windows Media Player and Microsoft Agent in your applications.

Files and Streams

In this chapter you learn how to access files and send the files into a data stream.  You also learn how to serialize your data.

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

This chapter starts out by discussing the XML basics.  It then continues by talking about the W3C standards and wraps up by discussing the .NET classes that work with XML.

Database, SQL and ADO.NET

This chapter starts out by discussing relational databases and explaining transact SQL.  The ADO.NET object model is then discussed and finally, you learn how to use a dataset to read and write XML.

ASP.NET 2.0, Web Forms and Web Controls

This chapter provides a very brief overview of how ASP.NET 2.0 works.  The chapter discusses creating and running a simple web form using various web controls and how to use session tracking.  It does not go in depth into ASP.NET 2.0.

Web Services

This chapter begins by discussing the basics of web services and .NET.  It then discusses Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and publishing as well as consuming web services.

Networking: Streams-Based Sockets and Datagrams

This chapter discusses the various ways of communicating on a network.  It demonstrates how to use TCP connections with Stream Sockets.  You can learn about the WebBrowser class and .NET Remoting.

Data Structures

This short chapter talks about linked lists, stacks, queues and trees.

Generics

This short chapter explains what generics are and how to use generics in your application.

Collections

This chapter discusses what collections are, particularly non-generic and generic collections.  You also learn how to synchronize your collections.

The book also contains a series of appendices, which includes among other topics an Operator Precedence Chart and information about Primitive Types.  It also includes a two-part coverage about XHTML.

Pros

The main purpose of this book is for the educational sector.  Fortunately for me, I have taught Visual Basic and VB.NET 1.x to students at a local community college before.  With my experience I can say that this book definitely follows its main purpose.  Putting education aside, this is a great book for developers looking to broaden their knowledge of Visual Basic.  Paul and Harvey really go in depth to talk about the various areas of development.  Some of the key areas that are missed in many books include the emphasis on classes and objects, inheritance, polymorphism, multithreading and networking.  Many VB books that I have used talk about basic programming techniques and then jump into advanced topics without a smooth transition.  This book does not do that.

Cons

There are a couple of flaws with this book that I can see.  If you want to learn ADO.NET, this book definitely misses that.  The issue the Deitel's ran into was deciding where to draw the line in database development content.  Since this book is geared towards education, it would have been nice to see more database content.  The other flaw that I see is the chapter layout.  This might be a personal preference rather than a flaw, but I would liked to have seen file access and database development earlier than graphical content.  The database chapter contains a section that discusses reading and writing XML with datasets.  I felt that should have been contained in the XML chapter.  I also think that generics and collections should be moved ahead of the ASP.NET and web services content as this book is supposed to focus more on Visual Basic.

Opinion

Overall, the $59.99 suggested retail price tag for this book fits the bill.  It is difficult to find an educational book that covers everything that each instructor is looking for.  However, the Deitel's may have the right tool here as it seems to miss very little.  Next time I teach Visual Basic, I will definitely be using this book.

About the Book

 

Visual Basic® 2005 for Programmers, 2nd Edition

Title:

Visual Basic 2005 for Programmers, 2nd Edition

Publisher:

Prentice Hall

Authors:

Paul J. Deitel and Harvey M. Deitel

Pages:

1344

ISBN:

013225140X

Price:

US $59.99

Rating:

 


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