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Book Review: Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET 3.5

A good starting point when learning ASP.NET 3.5

There are several authors of .NET books who not only know their material but are able to present the information in a practical manner. One such author is Scott Mitchell. This book is well written and is divided into four parts with a total of 24 chapters. While the level of the book is directed at beginners, it's a good refresher for more experienced developers who want to learn some of the new features available in ASP.NET 3.5.

At the end of each chapter there are three valuable sections that the reader shouldn't skip. There is a Q&A section where clarifying questions are asked and answered, a workshop section where you can practice the skills developed in the chapter, and an exercises section to hone your coding skills.

This book makes frequent use of the SQL data source control and spends a good amount of time reviewing the use of the GridView control and two-way data binding. The topics are timely and valuable. In addition, the author will refer you to additional readings when appropriate from his well-known and exhaustive website called 4guysfromrolla.com.

It's impossible to cover all topics well in an introductory book of this type, I was a bit disappointed with the last two chapters. I felt that the chapter on AJAX was very light. Also, in the last chapter, which covers deployment, Mitchell introduces a tool called the Database Publishing Wizard. This tool seems to work well when this is the first time you deploy a database to a new location, but it doesn't seem to address the issue of how to generate scripts when the database schema and data have changed when deploying a new version of the database.

I recommend this book as a starting point when learning ASP.NET 3.5. You will absorb a lot of knowledge from this book and it will get you started on the road to developing more complex applications by building a good foundation.

Scott Mitchell also provides a bonus - he is backed by a fine website called 4guysfromrolla.com that has a plethora of articles pertaining to ASP.NET. Mr. Mitchell makes use of this web site quite frequently when he recommends areas of further study.

More Stories By Steven Mandel

Steven Mandel has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years designing databases using Microsoft Access and SQL Server. He has developed Web and Windows applications using VB.NET and has written numerous articles and reviews about ASP.NET and VB.NET.

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