A Programmer s Introduction to Visual Basic .NET
Experienced Visual Basic (VB) programmers will find Craig Utley s A Programmer s Introduction to Visual Basic .NET to be a well-written and concise introduction to the changes that await them with the forthcoming release of VB .NET.
The book is now in its third incarnation. The first was barely 200 pages. The second release was a free e-book for Microsoft TechEd. Although this release is still brief, at 321 pages of text, the content has broadened to include chapters on multithreading, performance monitoring, deploying applications, and COM interoperability.
Although the coverage has broadened, it has not deepened, and that was a disappointment. A good example is the chapter on multithreading. The author provides an interesting example, walking the developer through each line of code. Utley does a good job of explaining the benefits of multithreading. Unfortunately, the book provides just enough information to get a developer in serious trouble. There s no discussion of threading models, and not enough discussion of synchronization and the dangers of side effects and deadlocks. The chapter on inheritance and polymorphism was equally disappointing. The book offers some advice on the topics, but nowhere near enough for developers to avoid fragile base classes, programming to classes instead of interfaces, etc. In the author s defense, one could argue that detailed conversations about topics such as multithreaded programming and object-oriented programming fundamentals belong in another book. This is a book about how to use the new features in VB .NET.
The coverage of the Microsoft .NET Framework, including the Common Language Runtime and the Framework Class Library, was a big disappointment in the earlier version of the book and remains weak. VB developers have access to new libraries in the .NET Framework that greatly expand the versatility of VB and need to understand the basic features of the Microsoft .NET Framework in order to use VB .NET profitably.
If you want technical details, such as the available features in the .NET Framework Class Library, this book will disappoint you. However, if you like books loaded with examples that show snapshots of the IDE as you build something like a Web Service client, you will applaud this book. The book, which walks you through the code, is well written and offers lots of practical advice. The lack of technical detail is a blemish, not a disqualification. With lots of useful information, especially if you plan to use ADO.NET or ASP.NET, this book is definitely worth considering for your bookshelf.
Glenn E. Mitchell II, Ph.D.
A Programmer s Introduction to Visual Basic .NET by Craig Utley, SAMS, http://www.samspublishing.com
Cover Price: US$34.99