A First Look at ASP.NET v 2.0
||Author: Alex Homer, Dave Sussman, Rob Howard|
List Price: $39.99
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Pub Co (24 October, 2003)
Sales Rank: 19,709
Average Customer Rating: 4.67 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 5 out of 5
I ordered this book a few weeks after ordering my tech preview copy of Visual Studio.NET "Whidbey" and got them both in the mail on the same day. I've read the book and am just starting to work with the amazing new tools, technologies and techniques it describes, and I can't remember the last time I was this excited about an upcoming developer tools release. ASP.NET 2.0 resolves 99% of the issues I have with ASP.NET 1.x and introduces lots of new mind-boggling features that I never knew I needed, but now I wonder how I ever lived without.
If you're an ASP.NET developer and are planning to upgrade your skills to the new platform, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of this book. I read it in about two weeks of bedtime reading and could have finished it in a few days if I'd invested any real time, so it's not a big investment of effort to get through. The authors do a great job of sticking to just the new features and assuming that their readers all know ASP.NET 1.x pretty thoroughly, so there was little wasted space. All code samples were in VB.NET, which was a little weird, but it was very refreshing not to see the same code repeated in VB anc C#, which so many books do to pad their page count.
If I have one complaint about the book, it's that there is no reference in it to the sample code and applications available online. The authors have a web site with working versions of all of the example applications used in the book, along with downloadable code so those of us with the tech preview of Whidbey can have a good starting point. Here's the URL:
Rating: 4 out of 5
Time to get excited about Whidbey
A First Look is one of the first, if not the first, books on "Whidbey", the codename for Microsoft's new version of ASP.NET version 2.0. At the time I'm writing this, ASP.NET v2.0 "Whidbey" is in the Alpha stages and not even released into Beta, but already it has caused quite a stir in the ASP.NET development circles. The latest information I have heard is that Beta 1 will be out at the beginning of May 2004 and Beta 2 will be the first release that includes the "go-live" license so that anyone can host a website using Whidbey.
The first chapter of the book starts out with an introduction to "Whidbey" and briefly covers many of the impressive features, giving a strong "wow factor". The second chapter touches on Visual Studio "Whidbey" and then the rest of the book covers "Whidbey" development and administration in detail. Whidbey is something worth writing about and the authors have done a great job covering the whole spectrum of impressive new features.
So, what type of book is this? It's not just a book trying to show off the ease and power of Whidbey, otherwise I'm sure I would have been bored before too long. It's a book that is both a reference book and a readable book on "Whidbey" that gets into the features in detail and expounds on the properties, methods and other aspects of v2.0. There is really so much to cover that some parts weren't covered at all or only briefly in this book. For example XML and ADO.NET each get their own book. Also, as this is specifically about the changes that Whidbey offers, you won't see mention of anything that isn't new or changed. Again, the target audience isn't the non-ASP.NET developer.
Code examples were generously given, and in my opinion, a good balance of small and simple, offering a foundation to work with. One example where I wasn't disappointed was the Client callbacks, a new Client-Side Script feature. The description of it was good enough but I was itching to see a code example, and sure enough they gave one. Expect to see code examples in Visual Basic for most of the major features and many of the sub-features. There are dozens of great code examples that will at least get your feet wet.
I have to try hard to come up with any cons for this book, but there are two things I noticed. I found that there wasn't consistency throughout the book in regards to documentation, code examples and other reference information. Sometimes you would find reference charts, code examples, even flow charts while other times there is just a quick mention in paragraph form of a new feature or change to an existing feature. This really isn't as bad as it sounds, the features that have the largest target audience and 'wow factor' are well covered. The second thing I wish this had is a better means of locating the reference information. There isn't a cross-reference chart or means to quickly find much of the great information, and when I have used this as my reference guide for some development it look me a while to find what I was looking for. But, with a few bookmarks and a highlighter this could quickly become a great tool to use as a primary reference for development in Whidbey.
One of the things that I appreciated most was the inside knowledge that all three authors offer. They don't just cover specs and reference material, but give information on the goals of the ASP.NET Team on various features, and vision on what will be available in the Beta and final releases of the product. This is one of those books that you don't think twice about its accuracy and correctness. I found the book enjoyable although my wife (a non-developer) started getting sick of me telling her all the details of Whidbey. It's one of those topics and books that you just need to tell someone about and my wife happened to be the unfortunate recipient of my excitement.
I would highly recommend A First Look to existing ASP.NET Developers. The topic is exciting and the authors did a great job of covering the bases in an enjoyable and easy to follow format. Now it's just a matter of waiting until Whidbey is fully released so that development with Whidbey can be shown to the world.
Rating: 5 out of 5
If this doesn't get you to buy an MSDN subscription...
I started working with ASP .Net when the first beta went out in 2001. It was so much better than anything out there at the time that I bought an MSDN subscription and jumped in head first, despite not having a job at the time.
Weird how history repeats itself. I am working this time, because of my initial pursuit of the .Net platform. During that time, I spent a great deal of time working with it to make slick content management apps and portal sites. As much as I'd like to pat myself on the back for all of that, Microsoft clearly understood I shouldn't have had to do that.
The names on the cover of this book should be familiar. Homer has been writing MS-centric books for years. Howard has always been active on www.asp.net, a refreshing thing to see given his position at Microsoft. His team's participation in online communities has largely gone away, but this book shows what they've been up to. It's hard to review the book without reviewing what v2.0 is brining to the table. It changes everything, again.
The book is not for new developers to the platform, though much of the declarative programming info should be easily digested by anyone. If you've been living and breathing this platform for a couple of years, you need to see what's in this book. It'll have you buying an MSDN subscription again when v2 goes beta in the spring.
· Windows Forms Programming in C#
· Programming .NET Components
· First Look at ADO.NET and System Xml v 2.0
· The C# Programming Language
· ASP.NET 2.0 Revealed