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Book Review: ASP.NET 2.0

Your Visual Blueprint for Developing Web Applications

ASP.NET developers are bored with traditional books that outline concepts in a lengthy way. These books are good if you like to learn the features in a detailed manner. However, by the time the book is read, a new version will be released. Hence, many learners including myself prefer short and succinct books that not only explain the topics in a user-friendly way, but also enable the reader to learn the concepts of the current technology before a new version is released. ASP.NET 2.0 – Your Visual Blueprint for Developing Web Applications is a book that examines ASP.NET 2.0 in a new style without providing any junk content.

When I got the book to review, I quickly glanced through it and was immediately impressed. The author has done a great job of restricting the content of each exercise to two pages. At first I thought he hadn’t divided the content into chapters. But looking more carefully I saw the chapter titles were laid vertically on the right-hand side of the page. The author begins with brief coverage of Visual Studio 2005, ASP.NET and then explores important aspects of standard Web controls, validation controls, Membership, RoleProviders, Navigation controls, SiteMaps, MasterPages, Themes, Personalization, Data Objects, Error handling, Messaging, Web Services, and AJAX.

I very much liked the coverage of GridView, DataList, and DetailsView controls. I’d prefer to see the implementation of an exercise that prompts a MessageBox while deleting records from a GridView. I wonder why the author failed to cover ASP.NET 3.5 even though it was in beta when he wrote the book. I hope he’ll release an update soon. I found that he places special emphasis on nomenclature and syntax throughout the book.

The author provides a brief outline followed by relevant steps with screen captures including additional information at the end that I hope will help you learn advanced techniques for each concept discussed. A unique feature of the book is that screenshots are marked in colored bullets alongside the relevant steps. I feel that this approach will help learners, especially beginners, to master the concepts quickly because they can see the Visual Studio screen directly.

The book will only be helpful if the reader has access to either Visual Studio 2005 or the freely available Express version. This will enable him to learn the concepts while doing the tasks described in each step. I’d suggest the publisher provide Visual Web Developer Express 2005 along with the book so readers can instantly install and get the most from the book. Even though Microsoft has released Visual Web Developer Express 2008, its 2005 counterpart is still available for download and as such learners won’t have any difficulty following the book.

The author maintains a Website to support the book but I was unable to find a link to either the live demo or download the source code. However, the required downloads are available on the publisher’s Website.

From my point-of-view, the title of the book is too long. I’d prefer a title like Learn ASP.NET 2.0 Visually. Advanced developers can use the book to fine-tune their knowledge. I’d suggest that computer training centers use the book as course material for a hands-on lab. I’m sure it will help developers, especially beginners, learn ASP.NET 2.0 quickly and effectively rather than spending hours with a huge book.

More Stories By Anand Narayanaswamy

Anand Narayanaswamy, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), works as an independent consultant based in Trivandrum, India. He also works as chief technical editor for ASPAlliance.com and is the author of Community Server Quickly (http://www.packtpub.com/community-server/book), published by Packt Publishing. He runs http://www.Learnxpress.com, http:/www.dotnetalbum.com and http://www.csharpfaq.com. Find out more about him and his other websites at http://www.visualanand.net.

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