Bill Evjen, one of the most prolific writers on all things ASP.NET, presents his latest technical literary offering with his overview of the Beta 1 release of ASP.NET 2.0. I've been playing with ASP.NET 2.0 since the early alpha bits, and I got a lot of out of this title.
Admittedly not a primer for the .NET neophyte, Bill dives right into the major changes in the architectural, infrastructure and syntactical concerns facing next-gen web developers. The book is a quick read, containing 16 succinct but not light chapters on the major areas of building and administering ASP.NET web applications. Although the book takes a slight slant towards Visual Basic .NET, nearly all the code samples are presented in both VB .NET and C#.
The book's high points, in my humble opinion, are evident in the "Membership and Role Management", "Personalization", "Additional New Controls" and "Changes to 1.0 Controls" chapters, being an outstanding breakdown of V2's improvements and new features for those respective topics.
Also to be appreciated is a great compendium featuring the new languages shipping with both VB .NET 8.0 and C# 2.0, including new enhancements to both languages like generics, partial classes and anonymous methods. He also breaks down new language-specific improvements, such as VB .NET's new keywords and C# iterators.
In criticism, I would have liked to see a discussion of authoring the revamped custom control development model, which the book didn't cover. But in Bill's defense, that respective programming convention isn't quite finished yet. The only other thing lacking would be more descriptive ASP.NET 2.0 APIs, which is usually a hallmark of Wrox-produced texts (the only area to get such treatment in this title is the WebParts/Portal Framework APIs). But then again, moving towards more declarative programming is one of V2's goals, so this may be intentional.
With the exception of Bill looking a bit harried on the cover, it's a masterful work: well-rooted in the ASP.NET fundamentals while accommodating advanced topics, accompanied by relevant, code-heavy examples, all written in Bill's very appreciated friendly voice, with the right timely intermingling of humor.
Bravo and cheers, Bill! Great work!