Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 and Databases
Microsoft has completely overhauled the database manipulation techniques with the introduction of ASP.NET 2.0. Real-world applications require access to databases in order to store records. You can not only use a database simply for storing data, but also for updating, deleting, and searching records. Prior to ASP.NET 1.1, you needed to write lengthy code listings to access a database. But with the evolution of ASP.NET 2.0, you can perform all sorts of database programming using a bunch of new controls and wizards with minimum effort.
To explore the techniques involved with the manipulation of databases, you need a good resource material in hand, preferably a book for ready reference. Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 and Databases by John Kauffman and Bradley Millington thoroughly examines all the aspects associated with database programming in a crisp format. Published by Wrox, the book consists of 19 chapters and two appendices, with the authors devoting one complete chapter for a sample case study.
The book kicks off with a discussion about the evolution of the .NET Framework, ASP.NET, and ADO.NET. The authors list the basic requirements for running ASP.NET 2.0 applications, including a reference about different editors such as Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio 2005 Express, and Notepad. The authors also provide a step-by-step demonstration about the usage of GridView and DataList controls using a Microsoft Access database. This will be useful for those readers who don t have SQL Server 2005.
Chapters 2 and 3 explore the steps required for connecting to Access, SQL Server 2005, and SQL Server 2005 Express databases with special reference to the connection strings and security-related aspects. Chapter 4 provides a detailed outline about the various steps required for connecting to other relational databases, such as Oracle, MySQL, and Excel. I wonder why the authors discussed connecting to an Access database in this chapter when there is another chapter for discussing this (it should have been covered in Chapter 2).
Chapter 5 examines the different methods of displaying data using the GridView and DetailsView controls. The next chapter explores all the aspects involved with customization, including the use of CSS, implementation of Themes and Skins, and the use of AutoFormat in Visual Web Developer. Chapter 7 provides a brief outline about the theory behind sorting and paging data. While Chapter 8 examines the different methods of displaying data in selection lists using DropDownList and other data binding list controls, the next two chapters explore all the aspects involved with searching records and displaying data in controls by applying templates with a special note about some of the advanced ideas about data binding.
While Chapter 11 provides detailed coverage about updating and deleting records, Chapter 12 demonstrates insertion of new records to the database using various controls included with ASP.NET 2.0 (although I felt this chapter should be covered first before discussing the topics covered in Chapter 11). In Chapter 13, the authors provide comprehensive coverage about validation controls and their use while working with databases.
The remaining chapters examine the relevance of business objects, XML caching data, and Event handling. The penultimate chapter provides tips for improving the functioning of ASP.NET 2.0 applications. It specifically and comprehensively covers the conversion of ASP.NET 1.1 applications to 2.0, switching from Access to SQL Server, and the concept of precompilation.
The book wraps up with a case study by creating a simple, but powerful FAQ system. The authors provide detailed coverage about each file used in the study in a step-by-step manner, and also with the help of relevant and complete source code. The authors deserve praise as they have attempted to cover in an elaborate manner all the related aspects involved with database programming using ASP.NET 2.0.
I am impressed by the way in which each chapter is presented, with the help of relevant source code in both C# and Visual Basic. From my point of view, the authors should provide screenshots of final output along with each example so that readers will know what happens behind the scene without executing the source code. In addition, each chapter includes a section titled Common Mistakes (which lists some of the mistakes you ll likely encounter), Summary, and Exercises. The authors provide as an appendix the answers to all the exercise questions. This helps the reader verify their knowledge.
Title: Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 and Databases
Authors: John Kauffman, Bradley Millington
Page Count: 535