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Programming ASP.NET 2nd Edition

A flawed gem that's worth the price

Now that ASP.NET has hit its stride, the number of books out that deal with it on an intermediate level has increased nicely. The problem, though, is that if the books all cover the same topics, how do you decide which one to buy? I have several criteria that I look at in making that decision. Firstly, how does the book read? Is the writing crisp and clear or does it plod along? Does the author have a sense of humor? Are the examples offered full-bodied? Is this a book that you'll be able to use as a reference book as you develop your own applications in ASP.NET? Are the code listings clear and to the point or do they go on for page after page? Has the publisher done a good editing job or are there a lot of errors?

The authors of Programming ASP.NET 2nd Edition exude a sense of confidence and humor in their writing that comes of quite a bit of practical experience as software developers.

All of the examples in the book are given in both C# and VB.NET. The authors refreshingly see the differences between the two languages as "syntactic sugar." The examples given are well thought out and practical. I don't like the endless pages of code, but I do appreciate it when new code is added and it's bolded to show the differences. Unfortunately, this was only done with the C# code, not the VB.NET code.

Also, if the authors feel a topic is covered better in another of their books they tell you. The only place where I disagreed with this approach was in the discussion on IComparer and Icomparable. Programming ASP.NET 2nd Edition says it will discuss how these interfaces work in a sidebar but there's no sidebar. On their web site, they admit there's no sidebar but say a discussion can be found in another one of their books. They show you how to implement it, but don't explain how it works referring you to another of their books.

My one big beef with the book is the number of errors I found. Most of them were typos but there are a few code errors as well. Most of the code fixes can be found on the authors' web site.

I think you will find Programming ASP.NET 2nd Edition to be a welcome addition to your library that you will use over and over again. That's not to say that it doesn't have its flaws but the positives more than outweigh the negatives.

Authors: Jesse Liberty and Dan Hurwitz
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: July 2003
ISBN #: 0596004877
List Price: $49.95
Development Tool: Visual Studio.NET, Notepad
Level: Advanced Beginner through Intermediate
Languages: VisualBasic.NET, C#

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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