Murach s ADO.NET 2.0 Database Programming with VB 2005
Murach s ADO.NET 2.0 Database Programming with VB 2005 by Anne Boehm (published by Mike Murach & Associates) is a beginner s guide to creating data-connected applications for both the Web and Windows using Visual Studio and Visual Basic. The book s 764 pages cover a lot of ground in the areas of data connectivity: data sources, data adapters, parameterized queries, three-tier architectures, etc. However, the book s title is a bit of misnomer. The book really should be titled Using Visual Studio Designers with SQL Express 2005 to Create Visual Basic Applications. The book is very narrowly focused on a single database platform (SQL Server 2005 Express) and primarily how to leverage the designers in Visual Studio to connect to and consume SQL Server data. The information contained in this book, while accurate, is simply just too basic for anybody with any experience in creating database driven .NET applications.
As aforementioned, this book tries to cover the entire gamut of database-driven application design and development and is largely successful in hitting most of it (at least from a topic perspective). The book is very linear in how it takes the reader from a cursory introduction on such database concepts as foreign keys and referential integrity, through how ADO.NET 2.0 connects to and uses these concepts. From there it splits out and devotes multi-chapter sections to both three-tier Windows applications and Web applications. One thing to note (and something that was somewhat confusing to me) is that the editors stuck a four-chapter section on Web development in-between two multi-chapter sections involving Windows applications. In both the Web and Windows sections, business cases around vendor maintenance and invoicing are used to illustrate how the data-bound controls specific to each platform could be used to create such applications. In the Web sections, special attention is given to the use of the grid, details, and form view controls and how to bind them to both the SQL data source control and the object data source control. However, information on using transactions, typed and untyped data sets, and data views are exclusively under one of the Windows sections (these topics are broader than just Windows development and I would have like to have seen them applied to each).
The book s more advanced chapters deal with working with XML data, such as the use of XML data sources, transferring XML data to and from a dataset using diffgrams, and reading and writing XML using ADO.NET and the XML features of SQL Server 2005. Other topics in the advanced section include using the server explorer within Visual Studio 2005 and using the Crystal Reports package that comes with Visual Studio. These sections, which comprised about 60 pages of the book, were a bit out of place given the context of the rest of the book, which read more like a case study in building a particular type of application for the Web and Windows (although these chapters were welcome, as they do touch on topics that should be addressed in a book about database development and .NET).
This book is by no means a reference book to me it really read more like a textbook. The way that topics were presented was very beginner-focused in nature. The one thing that struck me time and again throughout the book was the emphasis placed on the data-oriented designers within Visual Studio 2005, such as the table adapter designer and the data source wizards. The implication was that this is the only or best way of working with the data objects in .NET and I would venture that most hard-core developers never use them. In addition, this book never once touches on the topic of security; I expect a book on database programming to mention protecting against SQL injection and other common vulnerabilities. All in all, it was not a bad book, just not very deep from a technical perspective. I noticed on Murach s Web site that there is an instructor worksheet that goes with this book, which is exactly how I would position it: as the main textbook of an introductory course on database development and VB.NET.
Title: Murach s ADO.NET 2.0 Database Programming with VB 2005
Author: Anne Boehm
Publisher: Mike Murach & Associates, Inc.
Page Count: 764