The Microsoft Expression Web Developer s Guide to ASP.NET 3.5
Microsoft FrontPage was an excellent product used for the development of Web sites. With the introduction of Office 2007, Microsoft has discontinued it and developed new software named Expression Web, which is packed with many features mainly oriented for ASP.NET 2.0. Visual Web Developer 2008 is also available free of cost for those developers who wish to work in an environment similar to that of Visual Studio, but with reduced features. The product is an excellent alternative for developers who don t have the required investment to purchase Visual Studio. But there are developers who make use of both the above mentioned products for building ASP.NET applications. While Expression Web can be used for designing Web pages, Visual Web Developer can be used for coding purposes.
The Microsoft Expression Web Developer s Guide to ASP.NET 3.5 by Jim Cheshire thoroughly examines all the concepts of the latest technology in a step-by-step manner using Visual Web Developer 2008. The book targets Expression Web developers who want to use ASP.NET. I feel the title and subtitle (Learn to create ASP.NET applications using Visual Web Developer 2008) are misleading. I would suggest either Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008 Developer s Guide to ASP.NET 3.5 or Guide to ASP.NET 3.5 for Expression Web Developers . I don t see any need for the author to examine Expression Web in this book because he s already written a book on this topic. However, this book will somewhat help developers understand certain steps in detail, which are not present in Visual Web Developer 2008.
Part 1 examines the architecture-related aspects of ASP.NET, such as Code/Compilation models, Events, Page Lifecycle, State Management, Configuration, Performance, and Security. Parts 2 and 3 provide comprehensive coverage of Web Forms, Master Pages, and User Controls. The author also examined the steps used to create Web pages using Expression Web.
While Part 4 covers all the aspects related to Membership, Part 5 helps you learn about validation of Web forms. The final chapter in Part 5 is disappointing, as the author doesn t provide detailed coverage of the Custom Validator control which I feel is important among the other controls. But I assume that the aim of the author was to explain the concepts with the least amount of code. The chapters in Part 6 deeply examine the creation and management of CSS Styles, as well as the use of Themes and Skins.
Part 7 provides extensive coverage of various database controls and the manipulation of records. A beginner can easily learn the concepts if the steps outlined are followed properly. The remaining parts explore the concepts behind sending e-mails, AJAX, Web services, Debugging, Tracing, and Deployment of ASP.NET applications. I noticed that the author didn t cover each of the AJAX Toolkit Controls in detail, which is, of course, beyond the scope of the book. However, the author provided a list of controls with a short description, so developers will get the basics.
The author covered the concept of debugging in detail, which will surely help advanced developers. Developers expect some content for these new technologies, and I hope it will find a place in the next edition of the book. The author has taken great effort to explain the concepts in a user friendly manner. If you look at page 216 you ll be amazed to see how he has pinpointed each of the steps with related tips and additional notes.
To get the full potential from this book, the required software, such as Visual Web Developer 2008 Express, SQL Server 2005 Express, and Expression Web, should be installed. It would be of great help if this software, including a trial version of Expression Web, was provided on an accompanying CD so developers could instantly install it to get the most from the book.
This book will surely help beginners grasp the relevant aspects of ASP.NET 3.5 very quickly. I very much liked the way Cheshire presented the material, in his unique, lucid writing style. I would like to see coverage of the Data Pager control with the required steps and screenshots. The author has given more importance to ASP.NET 2.0 controls, namely GridView, DetailsView, and FormView, which I hope will help beginners a lot.
I found that the author has covered the concepts in each chapter very effectively in a minimum number of pages, which I hope will reduce the learning curve among developers. The book will be very useful for beginners, but intermediate and advanced developers will not find any extra content in this book for enhancing their skills.
Title: The Microsoft Expression Web Developer s Guide to ASP.NET 3.5
Author: Jim Cheshire
Page Count: 504