VB.NET Programming with the Public Beta
Microsoft s .NET strategy represents a milestone in the company s recognition of the Internet s untapped potential. By leveraging the concept of an always-on connection between disparate servers in disparate locations, and building the communication layer on top of ratified Internet standards, Microsoft s bold new world will soon be part of our new world. In making that vision a reality, Microsoft has redesigned its popular Visual Studio development environment from the ground up to provide software developers with an optimal IDE for the .NET world. They publicly unveiled the Visual Studio.NET beta in November 2000. Although not yet frozen, the beta provided eager programmers with a glimpse of the future, as well as a vision of what must be left behind to support the .NET framework. That s where VB.NET Programming comes in handy.
Although the documentation provided with the Visual Studio .NET Public Beta was adequate, it wasn t optimized for the upsizing VBers. Billy Hollis and Rockford Rocky Lhotka have been publicly speaking and writing about Visual Basic for years, and they know the product inside and out. They re also honest about the product s features and flaws. VB.NET Programming is Rocky s third Wrox book, and his serious and sensible approach reads like a tour guide s description of a city that has undergone tremendous architectural change. Like wide-eyed tourists trying to take it all in, readers are patiently led over the shifting landscape and explained the practices needed to build bridges from the old VB way to the new.
This book is not intended for VB newcomers, but rather those with intermediate VB programming skills. In fact, VB.NET may be easier to learn for newcomers, since the adoption of true object orientation. This means that many of the pseudo-OOP VB tricks of the past are obsolete, along with fundamental (albeit flawed) keywords such as the dreaded Gosub. In fact, with the addition of new keywords like Imports, Inherits, Overridable, and Structure, the new VB syntax looks more like C# and Java than its own ancestors.
The only problem with the book is its brief shelf life. By focusing on the .NET public beta, the authors have addressed the programming audience infected with beta fever. Disclaimers abound in the book about how certain features were either not fully implemented or are subject to change with the final release, thereby limiting the book s appeal after Visual Studio.NET ships. This is unfortunate; I hope the authors follow up this brief introduction with a comprehensive work on all the nuances of the shipping VB.NET.
If you re an active VB developer, buy this book. If you are a former VB developer programming in a different language, peruse the contents to review how much the language has changed; you might be pleasantly surprised. And if you re new to VB, wait until Visual Studio.NET ships and Wrox publishes a .NET introductory book comparable to their well-written Beginning titles.
VB.NET Programming With the Public Beta by Billy Hollis and Rockford Lhotka, Wrox Press, http://www.wrox.com.
Cover Price: US$34.99