Professional ASP.NET 2.0 XML

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Professional ASP.NET 2.0 XML

The Wrox Programmer to Programmer series has been successful in generating various excellent titles for its target niche: mid-level to advanced developers. And so it is with this book. In Professional ASP.NET 2.0 XML, author Thiru Thangarathinam has done a very good job of balancing breadth and depth he covers a wide array of topics and covers them in sufficient depth. Which is no surprise; Thangarathinam is well known to developers who work with Microsoft technologies. He is the author of more than a dozen books on Microsoft technologies, including ASP.NET Professional Secrets, Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2003 Unleashed, Professional .NET Framework, and Developing C# Windows Software: A Windows Forms Tutorial.

 

What justifies having yet another XML book? With the advent of .NET Framework 2.0, Microsoft has overhauled and extended the base class libraries. In the XML arena, Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 provides many enhancements, including (but not limited to) a new XSL Transformation (XSLT) processor; type support in the XmlReader, XmlWriter, and XPathNavigator classes; new editing capabilities in the XPathNavigator class; a new model for creating XmlReader and XmlWriter objects; and many performance improvements. The focus of this book is to bring the developers up to speed in these areas by providing targeted knowledge.

 

Like other Programmer to Programmer books, Professional ASP.NET 2.0 XML gradually walks the reader through concepts of XML and ASP.NET, employing appropriate source examples in all relevant places. Also like other Programmer to Programmer titles, Professional ASP.NET 2.0 XML is presented as a step by step guide, starting with the basics and leading to more advanced topics of the technology, increasing the level of difficulty and encapsulating the previously learned items in each successive chapter. The first two chapters provide a technical introduction to XML and ASP.NET 2.0. Base class libraries, which are functional endpoints provided to handle XML in the .NET Framework, are discussed in the third chapter. The frequently used operations of reading and writing XML data using XmlReader and XmlWriter constitutes the theme of the next chapter, which further elaborates on framework class libraries, namespace support, and editing XML files. Chapter 5 discusses XML Data validation via DTD, XDR, and XSD. The XML DOM object model is the subject of chapter 6, which details how a document object is represented in memory. Transformation of XML Data with XSLT is covered in detail in chapter 7. Going further, an important topic of XML data access is discussed in greater length in chapters 8, 9, and 10 ( XML and ADO.NET , XML Data Display , and SQL Server 2005 XML Integration , respectively). I especially enjoyed chapter 10 because it explains how SQL Server 2005 is different from the FOR XML world of SQL server 2000, as well as the ease of performing data transfers without having to do lots of transformations.

 

For those readers who work everyday with distributed applications and data transfer across tiers, chapter 12 covers the practical and everyday use of XML Serialization. Also in this distributed programming cluster, chapter 13 focuses on XML Web services, and goes beyond a simple add reference example. Thangarathinam went to the effort of explaining SOAP header processing, SOAP extension, and asynchronous Web service invocation, even though it wasn t the core focus of the book. I found this chapter to be helpful, albeit a bit short. The ASP.NET 2.0 configuration is discussed in chapter 14.

 

The book also provides two detailed case studies: Building an Airline Reservation System Using ASP.NET 2.0 and SQL Server 2005 and Building a Shopping Assistant Using XML Web Service. These case studies reinforce the previously learned concepts of XML data manipulation, validation, transformation, SQL Server integration, XML data access with ADO.NET, and XML Web services.

 

The main focus of the book is to explore how XML documents can be augmented by the powerful ASP.NET 2.0 engine. Thangarathinam has done a very good job. Professional ASP.NET 2.0 XML is practical, yet detail oriented. For instance, while discussing the new Model for XML Data Processing, Thangarathinam noted that the XPathNavigator class has been updated to include editing capabilities and can be used to modify data stored in the XmlDocument. He also talks about in-memory XML data processing, XSLT processing, and transformation.

 

I noticed that type support is one of the topics not thoroughly discussed in this book. An avid reader will notice that, even though Thangarathinam elaborates on typed datasets and type sharing across proxies, the XmlReader, XmlWriter, and XPathNavigator classes that are updated to include type support aren t covered in much detail. However, Schema Inference, a new feature, is included in the book, with an example of the XmlSchemaInference class that I found very helpful. For the configuration file fans, Thangarathinam provides techniques to build programs or scripts that create, read, and update settings in web.config and machine.config files. A teaser for the AJAX technology solution toolkit (ASP.NET Atlas Framework) is also included, with examples.

 

Visual Studio 2005 and C# are used to demonstrate all the features and examples. The target audience ranges from intermediate to experienced programmers who have some level of familiarity with XML. If you are interested in learning the ins and outs of XML with ASP.NET version 2.0, I recommend you get this book.

 

Adnan Masood

 

Rating:

Title: Professional ASP.NET 2.0 XML

Author: Thiru Thangarathinam

Publisher: Wrox

ISBN: 0-7645-9677-2

Web Site: http://www.wrox.com

Price: US$39.99

Page Count: 600

 

 

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