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Book Review: Beginning ASP.NET 4 in C# 2010

A thorough introduction to ASP.NET using the C# language

It's a daunting task to author a book of over 1000 pages and maintain the interest of the reader. Matthew MacDonald is able to do so for several reasons. He maintains a good sense of humor and he is not afraid to express his opinion about a topic. Two examples come to mind. The first example is during his mention of the creation of a new Microsoft framework for the Internet called "MVC." He states that "to some the MVC pattern is cleaner and more suited to the web, to others it's a whole lot of extra effort with no clear payoff." In regard to some of Microsoft's practices he states, "Microsoft has a time-honored reputation for creating innovative technologies and wrapping them in buzzwords that confuse everyone." His examples are small and to the point and his goal is to be "as relentlessly practical as possible." If you already have experience with ASP.NET and C#, the author directs you to read a companion volume Pro ASP.NET 4 in C# 2010 instead.

Mr. MacDonald provides a good basic review of the C# language and a very thorough introduction to ASP.NET with C#. I like the tables that he provides as you can use them for quick reference guides like the tables on common data types and useful string members. He provides tips on getting the most out of the Visual Studio IDE (integrated development environment) and he suggests coding standards as well. He makes references to helpful web sites when appropriate. He has a thorough review of the web page life cycle and how postback works.

He has a nice discussion on the wizard control and creating custom steps. You'll want to read this if you ever need to expand the logon control. His book is one of the few I have seen that discusses the CSS properties window, which is a valuable tool. He also provides a good discussion of the various types of databinding that are available

While it is impossible to cover everything, even in a book this size, there are a few areas that I would have liked the author to spend more time on since he did mention them:

  • Testing
  • How to find controls when using master pages
  • More robust examples of  URL mapping and routing
  • Impersonation

All in all, this is a very good and thorough introduction to ASP.NET using the C# language.

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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