Murach s ASP.NET 2.0 Upgrader s Guide, VB Edition
Hot off the heels of their ASP.NET 2.0 Upgrader s Guide, C# Edition, technical book publisher Mike Murach & Associates have released a nearly identical version for Visual Basic.NET developers. In fact, almost every aspect of the book except the VB code samples and a few VB-specific keyword and behavior explanations are copies of the C# edition. This is by no means a knock against the book. I already praised the C# Edition with a five-star rating (see the review at http://www.aspnetpro.com/bookreviews/1890774359_b/1890774359_b.asp or in the November 2005 issue of asp.netPRO), and this book simply duplicates the successful style and educational flair that has become Murach s trademark.
As I mentioned in my review of the C# edition, it is no secret that I found Murach s first ASP.NET guide to be one of the best ASP.NET educational manuals on the market. Murach s ASP.NET 2.0 Upgrader s Guide, C# Edition continued to solidify this proclamation. VB developers seeking a no-muss, no-fuss book that will show them the fastest ways to ASP.NET 2.0 productivity will be hard-pressed to find another VB teaching tool as effective as this book. The tactic of using the left-hand page to provide a technical explanation coupled with the opposite right-hand page offering a practical demonstration is so smart in its simplicity that it s a wonder other technical titles don t take advantage of this obvious approach, as it offers a definite productivity gain.
Perhaps another reason Murach s titles make such an impact is because of the book s large 8x10 inch trim size, its use of large Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman fonts, and its meaningful screen captures that have a purpose beyond filling white space. But the most important reason for the book s effectiveness is the authors superb writing style. Rather than meandering through prose weighed down by theory, dry details, and anemic enthusiasm, Murach s guides always hit the mark with the most important day-to-day, need-to-know knowledge. To paraphrase my praise of the sister C# edition, there s a certain magic imbued into Murach books that accelerates the knowledge transfer process better than most other .NET developer titles on the market today.
As was the case with the C# edition, this VB edition is an upgrader s guide to ASP.NET 2.0 (unlike their original Murach s ASP.NET Web Programming with VB.NET title, which assumed no prior ASP experience). Based on the ASP.NET 2.0 Go Live Beta 2 release, this book is also one of the most closely accurate to what will most likely be manifested in the final release of ASP.NET 2.0, and thus it should be relatively safe to spend the time committing to memory the programmatic recommendations. As such, the book expects readers to be working in front of the latest available release of Visual Studio 2005.
The guide is divided into four sections, with the first providing a summary of the enhancements made to the ASP.NET 2.0 release, working with the VS.NET 2005 IDE, and understanding the new master pages feature by building the front end for a Halloween products e-commerce Web site.
Section 2 targets data access and continues building on the Halloween example to teach the consumption of object, SQL, and XML data sources in ASP.NET 2.0 applications. This section also delves into the details of Microsoft s new GridView, DetailsView, and FormView controls.
Section 3 expands on the specifics of the ASP.NET 2.0 improvements by demonstrating the use of Microsoft s new site navigation controls (the Menu, SiteMapDataSource, SiteMapPath, and TreeView components) and login controls (the ChangePassword, CreateUserWizard, Login, LoginName, LoginStatus, LoginView, and PasswordRecovery components), understanding and applying the Membership and Roles classes, and showing how to create and manipulate user account profiles. Chapters on using the MultiView and Wizard controls, building and modifying site themes, creating and using Web parts for portal frameworks, and a handful of other interesting new ASP.NET 2.0 features and controls (such as the new FileUpload, HiddenField, and ImageMap components) are also covered in this section.
The last section, aptly titled ASP.NET 2.0 in Practice, is the shortest, focusing on the most important issues to be prepared for when upgrading ASP.NET 1.x projects to the 2.0 version. The last chapter reviews how to configure and deploy an ASP.NET 2.0-based Web application. The book closes with a single appendix that covers installing and configuring Visual Studio 2005, as well as obtaining the book s code from the Web site at http://www.murach.com.
Even though this VB edition is virtually identical to the C# edition, which was released approximately a month earlier, it s still an admirable (and an expensive, even risky) proposition that, in today s glut of technical books, a publisher would create an entirely separate book for a different syntax. Although many publishers are content with combining the C# and VB.NET code samples, Murach boldly asserts that C# and VB.NET developers do have different needs that serve different purposes. Even so, the quality of either their C# or VB product is the same. For those VB developers who want to experience the Murach approach for themselves, check out Chapter 3 of the book, How to use master pages ; it s freely available for download at http://www.murach.com/books/ugvb/chapters.htm.
Title: Murach s ASP.NET 2.0 Upgrader s Guide, VB Edition
Author: Anne Boehm, Joel Murach
Publisher: Mike Murach & Associates, Inc.
Page Count: 526