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ASP.NET 3.5 Enterprise Application Development with Visual Studio 2008: Problem Design Solution [Paperback]

Vincent Varallo
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 16 2009 Wrox Programmer to Programmer
This book provides a step-by-step guide for developing an ASP.NET 3.5 application using the latest features in Visual Studio 2008. The Problem Design Solution series by Wrox is unique because it describes a large case study and builds an entire solution chapter by chapter for each incremental step. This book uses a wide variety of new features in Visual Studio 2008, explains each in detail, and produces a solution that you can use as a starting point for your own applications.

If you are responsible for designing or developing enterprise-wide applications, departmental applications, portals, or any line of business application, then this book is for you. Many applications have a similar set of features, and this book builds an application with some of the most common features of enterprise applications. Let’s face it: Every application has the same general set of features, but implemented in a different way. A database sits in the back end and you, as the developer, are responsible for enabling users to add, update, select, and delete records. If only it were that simple, no?

The real development work starts when you sit with users and try to understand the business process and why they need a new or improved system in the first place. A lot of companies have departments that use Excel and Access wizards to create small systems that eventually become a lifeline for some part of the business. Usually something bad happens because of the nature of the tool they are using. Senior-level management is called in, project managers are hired, programmers are contracted, and the Project Management Office (PMO) is called to save the world. Suddenly this loosely defined process is high priority and people want documented standard operating procedures, audit reports, more productivity, less people, and of course a system that can do it all, which is where you come in. When you think about it, it’s a pretty daunting task. You’re expected to become an expert in someone else’s business process, flaws and all, and create a system that the company will rely on as the backbone for their existence. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit, but when you go looking for that raise you might want to phrase it that way.

This book will give you the tools necessary to build a framework that can be extended to create a solution to solve your company’s problems. The design pattern uses the normal three layers, the user interface (UI), the business logic layer (BLL), and the data access layer (DAL), but also builds the classes in each layer that encapsulate common business rules such as role-based security, workflow, reporting, dynamic menus, data entry, dynamic querying, notifications, exception handling, and auditing. As the book guides you through the complete solution, each business requirement is thoroughly examined and some of the latest enhancements in ASP.NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 are used to implement them in a reusable framework.

Enterprise applications are typically complex, and the teams that build enterprise applications come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the roles include a project sponsor, a project manager, business analysts, an architect, UI developers, middle-tier developers, database developers, and, if you’re really lucky, testers. Just a side note: Users are not testers. If you ever have the pleasure of working with professional testers, you’ll realize how important they are in the process, and how they truly are “quality” assurance engineers. Unfortunately, a lot of companies aren’t willing to invest in professional testers, so the users and/or developers end up assuming that role. This book is mainly focused on the architect and developers, but testers may find it valuable as well to help them understand the plumbing that goes into developing and architecting an enterprise application.

This book is for the intermediate to senior level developer or system architect. It would be helpful if you have experience with Visual Studio, the .NET Framework, ASP.NET, and C# because that is what the samples are written in, but the design pattern could be used in any language. The book is focused on enterprise applications, but the pattern could be used for any type of application that has a web front end and connects to a database. The application framework built in this book provides a foundation that can be extended to meet the specific business needs of your organization.

The sample application in this book is built using Visual Studio 2008, ASP.NET 3.5, C#, and SQL Server 2005. Each chapter goes into great detail, with plenty of code samples, and uses some of the new features in Visual Studio 2008 and the language enhancements in the .NET Framework 3.5. The solution includes examples for technologies such as LINQ to SQL, master pages, custom controls, GridViews, business objects, data objects, and Crystal Reports. Some of the language enhancements discussed include LINQ, extension methods, partial methods, automatic properties, anonymous types, lambda expressions, and object initializers.

Of course, I realize that the code is what most developers are interested in, and each chapter provides numerous examples.

The Problem Design Solution series is just that. Each chapter has three sections with a description of the problem to be addressed, the design considerations for choosing a solution for the problem, and the solution that ultimately addresses the problem. The solution includes the bulk of the code. Each chapter builds upon the previous chapter, and it is recommended that you read them in order. The base classes that are described in the first few chapters are critical to an understanding of the rest of the book. Later chapters build upon the base classes and extend their functionality in all three layers of the application.

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From the Back Cover

ASP.NET 3.5 Enterprise Application Development with Visual Studio® 2008

If you are faced with the many challenges that come with delivering business applications, experienced author and ASP.NET expert Vince Varallo is here to help. He arms you with the necessary tools for developing ASP.NET applications with Visual Studio 2008 that are elegant, easy to maintain, and can be extended to create solutions for particular problems.

Putting Wrox's popular Problem – Design – Solution format into practice, each chapter features an individual scenario and provides a description of the problem to be addressed, the design considerations for choosing a solution, and the solution that ultimately gets to the bottom of the problem. As Varallo walks you through the solutions, each of the business requirements are examined, while the latest enhancements in ASP.NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 are used so that you can implement them in a reusable framework. Packed with code samples, this hands-on guide will provide you with a foundation that you can extend to meet the specific business needs of your organization.

What you will learn from this book

  • New features in the .NET Framework 3.5 such as lambda expressions, extension methods, partial methods, LINQ, and ASP.NET Ajax controls

  • Design patterns for using LINQ to SQL in the data access layer

  • Best practices for using patterns for data entry, auditing, workflow, and event notification

  • How to develop and customize server side controls

  • How to create a dashboard using the ASP.NET web part controls

  • Implement the Microsoft Exception Handling App Block

Who this book is for

This book is for developers and system architects who are responsible for designing or developing enterprise-wide applications, departmental applications, portals, or any form of business application. Experience with Visual Studio, the .NET Framework, ASP.NET, and C# is helpful but not required.

About the Author

Vince Varallo has been developing applications for over twelve years using Microsoft technologies and is currently the Director of Application Development for MTI Information Technologies. He develops marketing applications for the pharmaceutical industry using ASP.NET and SQL Server. Prior to working at MTI, he worked in the clinical and the financial industries on a wide array of projects such as clinical data management systems, internal portals, and treasury workstation software. Vince enjoys exploring new technologies but always finds time for golf, biking, and watching the Phillies. He previously co-authored Professional Visual Basic 6: The 2003 Programmer’s Resource.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars June 28 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
very good
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great for Beginners, Otherwise Disappointing May 13 2009
By Travis Illig - Published on Amazon.com
I read through this book thinking, with a title like "ASP.NET 3.5 Enterprise Application Development with Visual Studio 2008," that it would take me through creating an enterprise-class application, complete with all of the things one would think are a part of such an app. As it turns out, I think the title should be something more like "Introduction to N-Tier Development in ASP.NET."

Each chapter is set up in the same format, and it's a decent format - outline the problem, explain the design, implement the solution. The chapters are:

1) A Framework for Enterprise Applications
2) The Data Access Layer
3) Designing the Business Logic Layer
4) The User Interface Layer
5) Exception Handling
6) Role-Based Security
7) The Workflow Engine
8) Notifications
9) Reporting
10) The Query Builder Control
11) The Dashboard
12) Auditing
13) Code Generator

If you go in never having built a multi-tier app where you separate your data access from your business logic and your UI, this is a good intro to that. The explanation of the separation and showing how to keep those things separated is a good education for the ASP.NET developer who has only ever just thrown a DataSource on a page and let the controls do the work.

If you have any experience with multi-tier apps, though, the goodness, unfortunately, is not to be found. Even if you have a light amount of experience, I probably wouldn't recommend this book since it could do more damage than help. There are several reasons for this.

First, there are little things through the code that are just bad practice.

The naming conventions for everything in this book are absolutely horrible. "ENTBaseBO" is the name of the base class that all enterprise business objects derive from. The names only get worse and more unintelligible and distracting from there. When cruising through the method bodies presented you sometimes wonder if he's using Hungarian notation in C# and then you realize that it's just bad naming.

Almost every exception that gets thrown in the code is the generic System.Exception type. Even if a more specific exception type would be more appropriate, it's always a general Exception.

Rather than overriding the ToString() method on business objects, a new "GetDisplayText()" method gets added in one of the myriad base classes which gets used throughout the book when displaying the object in UI.

The data access layer uses the Microsoft Patterns and Practices Data Access Application Block, which is good... but the book urges you to use an old version of it "because it's simple to use and easy to understand" - even though the new one has many improvements over the old.

Larger things start creeping up on you once you get past the smaller stuff.

There's no localization and no mention of it. Every string seen in any UI is hardcoded somewhere in the system (not necessarily just in the UI) rather than being stored in resource files. Even if you only plan on supporting one language, it's still good practice to separate your strings from your code.

There are no tests anywhere and no mention of them. We're building an enterprise application and we're not going to test it? Really?

Rather than use standard functions built into ASP.NET like the SiteMapProvider and navigation controls that can bind to it, a lot of effort goes into writing your own site map management system and custom controls to bind to that proprietary system. Role-based security that doesn't hook into the RoleProvider.

Chapter 7, on "the workflow engine," is almost 100 pages showing you how to write a proprietary state machine workflow system. I actually had to flip back and look at the cover to make sure we were in .NET 3.5, then I got really curious as to why this wasn't a 10 page chapter showing how easy that sort of thing is to implement using Windows Workflow Foundation, which comes for free with the .NET framework.

Why is the "code generator" chapter about creating a Visual Studio wizard but has no mention of T4 or any third-party code generator? With all the code generation options out there, would I really want to roll my own using StringBuilders?

Other stuff just sits in the background and bugs at you more subconsciously. The code snippets in places are inconsistently formatted and hard to read. You start wondering why there's a little bit of logic in stored procedures and a little bit of logic in the data access layer and a little bit of logic in the business layer and whether there might have been a way to break that up in a way that would be more maintainable. No mention at all of design patterns. No mention of MVP or MVC.

Long story already too long, if you've never written an n-tier application, if you're used to just creating a single web application project that just has pages in it that were created in the Visual Studio designer and that's it... this book will give you some ideas about how to change the way you look at your application's structure and separate the logic out of the codebehind of your pages into different layers. If you have written any sort of n-tier application before, this is most likely not for you.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ASP.NET 3.5 Demystified March 12 2009
By C. Huynh - Published on Amazon.com
Read this book recently and found out how clear and concise the author explained how to build an application from beginning to end, with alot of extras also.

The author did a great job explaining the concept of building an n-tier web application and why it was import to have the separation. The reading was easy to understand and follow, as were the sample codes. Explanations of the code were very detailed, which made comprehending the code easy.

Another interesting concept the author added was the email service application that he included. It was a very "neat" way of implementing how notifications are sent out.

I would highly recommend this book to anybody looking to learn ASP.NET as well as building an enterprise level applicaton!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book; Interesting ideas; Wish it included other technologies March 7 2010
By Brian Mains - Published on Amazon.com
The ASP.NET Enterprise Application Development book, which is part of the Problem/Design/Solution series, is setup as a book that illustrates the problem first, then moves to the design (and looks at various design possibilities), and finishes up with the solution to implement. The sample project for this book is a time-tracking opportunity, an application to log employee's time.

Each chapter of the book looks to layout the fundamentals of a business application, starting with the data access, business, and presentation layers. The rest of the book is spent looking at the various features that the application needed (exception handling, security, workflow, etc.). Most of the scenarios in the chapters use a code-specific implementation to solving the problem, rather than using other tools available to developers (for instance, the workflow chapter doesn't leverage Windows Workflow Foundation). Though there are a few tools used, like Crystal Reports and Enterprise Library.

The book has an interesting approach in how it implements the business logic; business applications are much different than personal web sites and other application types because they depend on the success of their business rules. That is one of the focuses of the book, setting up how to structure your code so that you may handle the various business needs of the application.

The chapters that create specific features for the application (reporting, workflow, etc.) use a code-specific approach to creating these features. The book lays out the changes to the database and data model, illustrates the stored procedures for the change, and then moves into the design solution. Each new feature has a new ASP.NET page that he demonstrates fully along with any changes to styles, master pages, etc. Each book discusses the chapter to the fullest detail, from the proc to the finished solution.

The style of the book typically follows the explanation of the business problem at the beginning. When the book illustrates code, the author shows the code first, and follows up with an explanation of the solution. In the design section, the book does discuss the various components that it does use to complete the solution (such as Crystal Reports for reporting and Enterprise Library for exception handling).

I was hoping the book was going to look more into using various design patterns within ASP.NET. Although there are some, the architecture is pretty much the same throughout the application. Additionally, the UI later doesn't use much ASP.NET AJAX JavaScript implementations or a script library like JQuery, but leverages most of the logic on the server-side and, when necessary, leverages the update panel control.

While I don't know that I would use the same architecture, I do like some of the features he implemented in the app and look to see how I may utilize this for my own development.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Waiting for ASP.NET 3.5 Problem - Design - Solution? April 27 2009
By L. Dumond - Published on Amazon.com
For those who've been waiting for ASP.NET 3.5 Website Programming: Problem - Design - Solution to arrive, wait no further -- there's a great ASP.NET 3.5 P-D-S book on the shelves right now, and this is it.

This book faithfully follows the very popular Wrox "Problem - Design - Solution" format, evolving chapter by chapter while analyzing business requirements, examining various design scenarios, and implementing a beginning-to-end solution in a reusable framework. The book uses LINQ to SQL for data access (though you could easily adapt this to Entity Framework or your third-party ORM of choice), and unlike the BeerHouse books, the emphasis is more on developing line-of-business applications. It covers a lot of important material the 3.5 BeerHouse book won't go into, such as workflow, notification, reporting, and auditing. It also incorporates a number of current architectural trends, such as dynamic querying, code generation, and so on.

For those not familiar with author Vince Varallo, you are in for a treat. His writing style is clear, concise, and easy to follow. Explanations are well-detailed and are liberally augmented by code samples.

Still waiting for your BeerHouse fix? I urge you to give ASP.NET 3.5 Enterprise Application Development with Visual Studio 2008 Problem - Design - Solution a shot. All in all, a very highly recommended read.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, Great sample code March 17 2009
By B. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
I purchased this book with high hopes as I'm currently developing an enterprise wide n-tiered ASP.NET 3.5 solution. It definitely delivered! This book allowed me to hit the ground running with my new application. The author did a great job with the code sample presentations....they are very clear and well organized. I especially found the LINQ code to be useful. I highly recommend this book if you're serious about using ASP.NET 3.5 for an enterprise level web application.
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