Book Review: Murach's ASP.NET C# 2010 Web Programming

A guide to help you learn ASP.NET development on the fast track

Murach has updated one of the best-selling tutorial books to keep in step with Microsoft's 2010 .NET library update. I have been following the various editions for years and been consistently impressed by the high standards and relevance that authors Joel Murach and Anne Boehm have maintained. This edition of Murach's ASP.NET C# 2010 Web Programming maintains that level of quality while staying current with the latest additions and improvements to the Microsoft stable of .NET technologies.

The book sprints through 23 chapters organized into four sections and three appendixes. The first section sets the stage with an introduction to developing and debugging ASP.NET applications and concludes with a brief review of HTML and CSS (Murach has a book dedicated to these topics—see my review here).

The second section covers basic ASP.NET skills, including server-side and validation controls and the use of master pages, site navigation, and themes. Section 3 describes ASP.NET database programming, connecting to SQL servers as well as manipulating data via the GridView, DetailsView, FormView, and DataPager controls. It also includes topics such as ADO.NET 4 and using object data sources. The concluding section covers a variety of topics, including user authentication, AJAX, ASP.NET web application deployment, and a brief introduction to Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services. Each chapter concludes with a variety of exercises to help solidify skills and explore concepts further on your own. The appendixes cover the logistics of working with the book's code and setting up Microsoft IIS for web development under the various versions of Windows.

I have written extensively about how effective I find Murach's left page/right page, large format with large type book layout to be for introductory learning. The format continues to be used without change in this book, and that's a good thing. Murach has locked on to a winning design, and I have come to expect this page layout format with each new title they publish. While I still bemoan the fact that they do not yet offer an ebook version for Kindles or iPads (they do offer a PDF edition, but it's constrained to a desktop browser to enforce document rights management), I also admit that the format simply wouldn't work given the reflow and reduced page real estate that those electronic alternatives deliver. Still, it's a challenge that I would like to see Murach rise to the occasion to meet and engineer a design that works as powerfully as (and hopefully even better than) their ink-on-paper counterpart.

Overall, this latest release continues to embody the special sauce that Murach has concocted, and it also continues to deliver one of the fastest and most effective books I can recommend to those looking to learn ASP.NET programming. Clear descriptions, plenty of examples with accompanying code and screenshots, and review exercises move along at a fast, enthusiastic pace. Murach has published another winner.

Mike Riley
([email protected]) is an advanced computing professional specializing in emerging technologies and new development trends. He is also a contributing editor for DevProConnections. Follow Mike on Twitter @mriley.

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