Professional ASP.NET 2.0 Special Edition
Professional ASP.NET 2.0 Special Edition is a book about Web development and includes a disk with a trial version of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. The book covers everything from introductory material to configuration, administration, and deployment. This book targets those with a fundamental knowledge of programming, but not necessarily experience with ASP.NET 2.0. It s also a good read for programmers migrating to ASP.NET 2.0.
The first two chapters are purely introductory, and will be most helpful if you are learning Web programming for the first time. The second chapter is good if you aren t familiar with Visual Studio 2005. The chapter doesn t go into great detail, but there is enough information here to make you comfortable with the IDE. If you are familiar with previous IDEs, you can breeze through this chapter. There are plenty of graphics to complement and enhance the explanations.
Chapter 3 shows you the building blocks for ASP.NET 2.0, and can t be skipped even if you are familiar with ASP.NET 1.0. I liked how the authors explained the purpose of each of the new folders in an ASP.NET 2.0 application. The explanation of the built-in IIS Web server for development is also very nice. The book discusses how you can choose to work locally or remotely. I enjoyed this section because a lot of my development is done locally, but it s nice to have options.
In the early chapters you don t get a lot of source code, but from Chapter 4 on, there are lots of coding examples. Sometimes the examples are in C# and other times they are in C# and VB.NET. I can only surmise that the authors felt the differences were minor and you could make the translation easily enough.
The next few chapters could be a small book by itself. The authors cover Web server controls from beginning to end. They discuss how a server control is generated and how it gets rendered on the client. This is generically covered in Chapter 3, as well, but this section goes into more detail. Chapter 5 is a rehash of the controls available to you in ASP.NET 1.0. You can skip this if you are comfortable with 1.0, but it s good information if you aren t.
Chapters 8-11 are about the look and feel of your site and how to use the features of ASP.NET 2.0. Master pages are great and do wonders for the consistency of a site; Chapter 8 does a great job of telling you how to use them don t skip Chapter 8 no matter what your skill level. There also is a chapter that talks about style sheets and how to use themes and skins. This section is pretty good, as well, but wasn t as important to me as Chapter 8. The other two chapters cover look and feel and data binding.
Chapter 11 is great because it not only talks about using the GridView control, but also how to handle errors and events associated with the GridView. The GridView is great for displaying tabular data, and you ll like this section if you don t have any experience with that control. The authors cover the template field, which allows you to extend the functionality of a standard GridView. They also cover the DetailsView and FormsView controls. It s a good chapter; I recommend taking your time and reading it thoroughly.
Chapter 11 transitions you into the next section. Chapters 12-14 cover how to manage your data in various formats; data storage in databases to XML files are covered. You quickly can see the benefit of the new data model in ASP.NET it doesn t take nearly as much code to provide the same functionality. ASP.NET 1.0 coders will appreciate this section the most. There is a lot of code in this example for you to follow. The authors do a nice job of presenting the code and then showing you the resulting output.
The provider model is discussed quite a bit in the next section. The authors actually discuss state at the beginning of the provider section, so you can understand the power of the provider section. They explain the purpose of a provider in ASP.NET 2.0 and what you can do with it. It can be used to manipulate state, session information, and even your user menus. This discussion leads into the next section about site navigation providers.
I strongly recommend reading the site navigation section. It talks about how you can control all your navigation through an XML file instead of hard-coding menus, etc. This section also lays the groundwork for getting your site navigation from a database instead of an XML file. It s a good read if you require dynamic menus.
Next are a series of chapters on security and the new security model in ASP.NET 2.0. I liked the graphics in this section as they help one understand at a glance what is going on behind the scenes. Discussing memberships, roles, and security, Chapters 18 and 20 are must reads. ASP.NET 1.0 programmers will appreciate the section on membership and roles functionality. I ve read a few books on this subject matter and these authors cover it nicely. It s not a trivial thing to explain, but they do it well, and in a way that s supported by graphics. The authors also provide an introduction to security and the different types of authentication. You get the pros and cons of each, as well as instruction on how to implement them. There s also a small section on securing folders with IIS.
State management is also covered, as well as caching. State management is critical when it comes to Web programming and I like how clearly the authors explain it. They also discuss where you can store your state information. It s nice to be able to store it in cookies or in a database, and they show you how to do just that. They also walk you through the decision-making process of where you should store state information.
Error handling is also a common thing programmers must deal with, and there is a chapter on that. The authors touch on exceptions and how to deal with errors. But don t expect too much detail; they spend more time discussing how to debug your application than error handling.
If you need more control over your Web application, there are three chapters for you in this book. If you need to learn how to build your own controls, there is chapter that discusses that in detail. There s also a chapter on how to customize how your Web requests are handled. It s a great section to read if you need to redirect http requests on a case by case basis.
The last few chapters in the book deal more with managing your Web application than actual coding. The authors discuss how to configure your application and what functionality you can control. There is a section on monitoring the health of your application, which is new in ASP.NET. The authors go into a lot of detail about this capability. You should at least browse this section, even if you don t need the capability immediately. The last chapter talks about all the different ways to deploy your application whatever else you do, do not skip this insightful content. There are many options, and this chapter explores them and gives the pros and cons of each.
Professional ASP.NET 2.0 Special Edition is a large book, but it is well written and presented. It s organized in such a way that you can read through it once, but quickly reference a section down the road when you need it. I liked the writing style, and the coding examples are better than other books I ve read. Some of the chapters could have been moved to different locations, but nothing is really out of whack. It would have been nice to have more information on exception handling, but what s there is a good start for beginners. I recommend this book to novice ASP.NET programmers or anyone migrating to ASP.NET 2.0.
Title: Professional ASP.NET 2.0 Special Edition
Authors: Bill Evjen, Scott Hanselman, Devin Rader, Farhan Muhammad, and S. Srinivasa Sivakumar
Page Count: 1,541