ADO.NET Programmer s Reference
To use ADO.NET, you must throw out nearly everything you knew about accessing a database. A book like ADO.NET Programmer s Reference should help you migrate to a new technology. Unfortunately, it comes up a bit short.
ADO.NET Programmer s Reference is very complete; it documents all the classes, properties, methods, and events found in ADO.NET. After a brief overview of ADO.NET and the ADO.NET object model, each chapter focuses on a particular class, such as OleDbCommand/SqlCommand, DataSet, and DataReader. Within each chapter is a short explanation of how that class fits into ADO.NET. The rest of each chapter contains a detailed reference for every constructor, property, method, and event associated with the class. Each item usually includes a short code listing demonstrating how to use it in either Visual Basic .NET or C#.
One of the most useful chapters is the one on exception and error handling. It contains a complete set of the exceptions raised by ADO.NET, which isn t easily found in Microsoft s documentation.
The last two chapters discuss security in the .NET Framework and COM Interoperability. Two useful appendixes follow these chapters; one contains a quick reference to the classes in ADO.NET, the other contains a set of diagrams that describe how the classes relate to each other.
The authors place a lot of emphasis on XML support, which is a key component of the .NET Framework. For instance, many pages are spent discussing the XMLDataDocument class, which can be easily synchronized with the DataSet class.
This book is reasonably well organized; you can find all the information related to a class very quickly. However, the documentation supplied with the .NET Framework is also extremely detailed, although it offers no opinion as to which features are important and which can be ignored. This is where a book like ADO.NET Programmer s Reference could shine but this is where it fails. It does not present the useful tips, tricks, and suggestions that make a book like this worth purchasing.
It s also important to note that this book is based on the Beta 2 version of the .NET Framework. This means it doesn t cover some important features, such as ODBC support. If you re using SQL Server or Oracle as your database server, this isn t a problem. But if you use another database, such as Informix or DB2, you won t find much in the way of help.
Another minor nuisance is that the page numbers in the table of contents usually don t match the page numbers in the text. Fortunately, the page numbers in the index are correct.
Given that the same material can be found in the .NET Framework help files, and it s based on Beta 2 of the .NET Framework, I would think twice before buying this book. I hope Wrox releases a revised edition that covers the gold version of the .NET Framework, including ODBC support. On the other hand, many people find it hard to browse online documentation. If you are one of these people and use Oracle or SQL Server, this book may prove useful.
Wayne S. Freeze
ADO.NET Programmer s Reference by Adil Rehan, et al., Wrox, http://www.wrox.com.
Cover Price: US$39.99