ASP.NET for Developers
By Micael Amundsen & Paul Litwin
|Value for money||7/10|
|Did it do what it said on the box?||7/10|
A Good Introduction
This book is a clear and well-written introduction to the latest version of Microsoft’s Active Server Pages. It is written how technical books should be written: no messing about, no unnecessary repetition, and a lot of material covered clearly in just over 400 pages. A clear target audience (experienced ASP and VB6 developers), and clear objectives help – the book’s intention is clearly to communicate the essentials, and the practitioner will then get more detail from other sources.
The book clearly presents the VB.NET language, the new ASP architecture, how to develop using server-side and user controls, and supporting technologies such as Web Services and ADO.NET. However, there are some omissions. For example, the book states that you can’t raise standard events from User Controls, not only is this possible, but the standard MSDN documentation has a very simple example of how to do so.
If I have a major complaint, it’s that the book was not developed around Visual Studio. Instead the examples are mainly pure text, similar to old server pages. This has two drawbacks: it fails to support the new paradigm of web development which Microsoft have finally raised above hacking with a copy of notepad; and it’s sometimes difficult to relate the text-only examples to code generated by the Visual Studio design tools, and vice-versa.
Another weakness is shared with many other books on web-based development, especially in the Microsoft arena, with very little focus on how to properly structure code and solution components. I have had to resort to Java-based architectural pattern books, and I think there’s a major gap in the market here.
This won’t be the only book you’ll buy on .NET: I also purchased "VB.NET for Developers" by Franklin, and "the Visual Basic Programmer’s
Guide to the .NET Framework Class Library" by Powers & Snell, both in the same series from Sams. However, I can recommend it as a good clear introduction to ASP.NET, which doesn’t require you to read thousands of pages.