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Beginning ASP.NET 4: in C# and VB [Paperback]

Imar Spaanjaars
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Book Description

March 22 2010 Wrox Programmer to Programmer
This book is for anyone who wants to learn how to build rich and interactive web sites that run on the Microsoft platform. With the knowledge you gain from this book, you create a great foundation to build any type of web site, ranging from simple hobby-related web sites to sites you may be creating for commercial purposes.

Anyone new to web programming should be able to follow along because no prior background in web development is assumed although it helps if you do have a basic understanding of HTML and the web in general. The book starts at the very beginning of web development by showing you how to obtain and install Visual Web Developer. The chapters that follow gradually introduce you to new technologies, building on top of the knowledge gained in the previous chapters.

Do you have a strong preference for Visual Basic over C# or the other way around? Or do you think both languages are equally cool? Or maybe you haven't made up your mind yet and want to learn both languages? Either way, you'll like this book because all code examples are presented in both languages!

Even if you have some experience with prior versions of ASP.NET, you may gain a lot from this book. Although many concepts from previous versions are brought forward into ASP.NET 4, you'll discover there's a lot of new stuff to be found in this book, including an introduction to the ADO.NET Entity Framework, the inclusion of jQuery, ASP.NET AJAX, the many changes to the ASP.NET 4 Framework, and much more.

This book teaches you how to create a feature-rich, data-driven, and interactive web site called Planet Wrox. Although this is quite a mouthful, you'll find that with Visual Web Developer 2010, developing such a web site isn't as hard as it seems. You'll see the entire process of building a web site, from installing Visual Web Developer 2010 in Chapter 1 all the way up to putting your web application on a live server in Chapter 19. The book is divided into 19 chapters, each dealing with a specific subject.

  • Chapter 1, “Getting Started with ASP.NET 4” shows you how to obtain and install Visual Web Developer 2010. You'll get instructions for downloading and installing the free edition of Visual Web Developer 2010, called the Express edition. You are also introduced to HTML, the language behind every web page. The chapter closes with an overview of the customization options that Visual Web Developer gives you.

  • Chapter 2, “Building an ASP.NET Web Site” shows you how to create a new web site and how to add new elements like pages to it. Besides learning how to create a well-structured site, you also see how to use the numerous tools in Visual Web Developer to create HTML and ASP.NET pages.

  • Chapter 3, “Designing Your Web Pages.” Visual Web Developer comes with a host of tools that allow you to create well-designed and attractive web pages. In this chapter, you see how to make good use of these tools. Additionally, you learn about CSS, the language that is used to format web pages.

  • Chapter 4, “Working with ASP.NET Server Controls.” ASP.NET Server Controls are one of the most important concepts in ASP.NET. They allow you to create complex and feature-rich web sites with very little code. This chapter introduces you to the large number of server controls that are available, explains what they are used for, and shows you how to use them.

  • Chapter 5, “Programming Your ASP.NET Web Pages.” Although the built-in CSS tools and the ASP.NET Server Controls can get you a long way in creating web pages, you are likely to use a programming language to enhance your pages. This chapter serves as an introduction to programming with a strong focus on programming web pages. Best of all: all the examples you see in this chapter (and the rest of the book) are in both Visual Basic and C#, so you can choose the language you like best.

  • Chapter 6, “Creating Consistent Looking Web Sites.” ASP.NET helps you create consistent-looking pages through the use of master pages, which allow you to define the global look and feel of a page. Skins and themes help you to centralize the looks of controls and other visual elements in your site. You also see how to create a base page that helps to centralize programming code that you need on all pages in your site.

  • Chapter 7, “Navigation.” To help your visitors find their way around your site, ASP.NET comes with a number of navigation controls. These controls are used to build the navigation structure of your site. They can be connected to your site's central site map that defines the pages in your web site. You also learn how to programmatically send users from one page to another.

  • Chapter 8, “User Controls.” User controls are reusable page fragments that can be used in multiple web pages. As such, they are great for repeating content such as menus, banners, and so on. In this chapter, you learn how to create and use user controls and enhance them with some programmatic intelligence.

  • Chapter 9, “Validating User Input.” A large part of interactivity in your site is defined by the input of your users. This chapter shows you how to accept, validate, and process user input using ASP.NET Server Controls. Additionally, you see how to send e-mail from your ASP.NET web application and how to read from text files.

  • Chapter 10, “ASP.NET AJAX.” Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX allows you to create good-looking, flicker-free web pages that close the gap between traditional desktop applications and web applications. In this chapter you learn how to use the built-in Ajax features to enhance the presence of your web pages, resulting in a smoother interaction with the web site.

  • Chapter 11, “jQuery.” jQuery is a popular, open source and cross-browser JavaScript library designed to make it easier to interact with web pages in the client’s browser. In this chapter you learn the basics of jQuery and see how to add rich visual effects and animations to your web pages.

  • Chapter 12, “Introducing Databases.” Understanding how to use a database is critical to building web sites, as most modern web sites require the use of a database. You’ll learn the basics of SQL, the query language that allows you to access and alter data in a database. In addition, you are introduced to the database tools found in Visual Web Developer that help you create and manage your SQL Server databases.

  • Chapter 13, “Displaying and Updating Data.” Building on the knowledge you gained in the previous chapter, this chapter shows you how to use the ASP.NET data-bound and data source controls to create a rich interface that enables your users to interact with the data in the database that these controls target.

  • Chapter 14, “LINQ and the ADO.NET Entity Framework.” LINQ is Microsoft’s solution for accessing objects, databases, XML, and more. The ADO.NET Entity Framework (EF) is Microsoft's new technology for database access. This chapter shows you what LINQ is all about, how to use the visual EF designer built into Visual Studio, and how to write LINQ to EF queries to get data in and out of your SQL Server database.

  • Chapter 15, “Working with Data—Advanced Topics.” While earlier chapters focused mostly on the technical foundations of working with data, this chapter looks at the same topic from a front-end perspective. You see how to change the visual appearance of your data through the use of control styles. You also see how to interact with the data-bound controls and how to speed up your application by keeping a local copy of frequently accessed data.

  • Chapter 16, “Security in Your ASP.NET 4 Web Site.” Although presented quite late in the book, security is a first-class, important topic. This chapter shows you how to make use of the built-in ASP.NET features related to security. You learn about a number of application services that facilitate security. You also learn how to let users sign up for an account on your web site, how to distinguish between anonymous and logged-on users, and how to manage the users in your system.

  • Chapter 17, “Personalizing Web Sites.” Building on the security features introduced in Chapter 16, this chapter shows you how to create personalized web pages with content targeted at individual users. You see how to configure and use ASP.NET Profile that enables you to store personalized data for known and anonymous visitors.

  • Chapter 18, “Exception Handling, Debugging, and Tracing.” In order to understand, improve, and fix the code you write for your ASP.NET web pages you need good debugging tools. Visual Web Developer ships with great debugging support that enables you to diagnose the state of your application at run time, helping you find and fix problems before your users do.

  • Chapter 19, “Deploying Your Web Site.” By the end of the book, you should have a web site that is ready to be shown to the world. But how exactly do you do that? What are the things you need to know and understand to put your web site out in the wild? This chapter gives the answers and provides you with a good look at configuring different production systems in order to run your final web site.


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Build rich web sites with the latest version of ASP.NET

ASP.NET is the part of the .NET Framework that enables you to build rich, dynamic web sites. The latest version—ASP.NET 4—boasts numerous improvements to the previous iteration, including Web Forms enhancements and jQuery support. This step-by-step book walks you through building rich web sites with ASP.NET 4 and is packed with in-depth examples in both C# and VB. With hands-on exercises that take you right into the action, you'll learn how to build web sites firsthand while you get a good look at what goes on behind the scenes when you view an ASP.NET 4 page in your browser.

Beginning ASP.NET 4:

  • Demonstrates how to build ASP.NET 4 web pages

  • Explains adding features with pre-built server controls

  • Reviews working with the development tools to create ASP.NET web sites

  • Shares techniques for creating consistent-looking web sites

  • Teaches you how to implement jQuery and AJAX techniques in your web sites

  • Shows you how to work with databases and the Microsoft® ADO.NET Entity Framework

  • Addresses securing and personalizing your site

  • Investigates exception handling, debugging, and tracing pages

Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.

wrox.com

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About the Author

Imar Spaanjaars is a Microsoft ASP.NET MVP and runs his own company called De Vier Koeden in the Netherlands, specializing in Internet and intranet applications built with Microsoft technologies like ASP.NET 4. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including ASP.NET 2.0 Instant Results and Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 in C# and VB, and is one of the top contributors to the Wrox Community Forum at p2p.wrox.com.

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Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this book very much however I found that the author having to reference both VB and C# was distracting, even sometimes confusing, and took away from the overall value of the book. I believe it would have been a much better book if it was just written for either C# or VB alone.

In the future this will be something I will take into consideration before I purchase another book.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I really loved this book! This book is so amazing, i don't know where to start!

You actually learn a LOTS in the book even if its a starting book for ASP.NET.
Actually, ive learned more than expected! This is the first time i buy a WROX book and
i am impressed!

I am a PHP web developper that wanted to learn ASP.NET so i already have a background
in web programming but you do not need to have a background in order to read this book!

It is so easy to read and the information is so interesting that each time you turn a page
you want to learn and know more !

Here, a list of the positive things i found about the book :

- Lots of great examples step by step with a section that explain you the whole process each time.
- Code are written in both C# and VB.NET.
- Very comprehensive writting.
- Very informative even if you are an advanced user in ASP.NET.
- The book cover a nice project which go from a subject to another easily.
- The book refers others book in the WROX collection which is useful if you wanna extend your knowledge later and
i really appreciate this cause sometime you never know where to look at after you've read a book! It refer to others place
if you want to dig into advanced subject later which is really great!
- After you've read the book you know how to make complete website using AJAX and JQUERY along with databases!
- Cover LOTS of subject, even cover AJAX and JQUERY.

Since nothing is perfect, i have only one constructive remark about the book :

- I know that this book is not intended to be a reference book but this still would be interessting
to have some reference section somewhere.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
By Arlyn
Format:Paperback
This book is highly recommended for ASP.NET beginners. I really like how the lessons in this book are structured. Every topic starts with the EXPLANATION-> TRY IT OUT -> How it works. This way works with me and it is very easy to understand. I'm looking forward to read again this kind of book but this time with an advance programming methodologies version.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  83 reviews
74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imar does it again March 28 2010
By James Skemp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While I've already read Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 by Imar Spaanjaars and moved rather far beyond it, when I had the opportunity to recieve his new book on ASP.NET 4 for review, I took it.

Would I still feel strongly about recommending his work as *the* #1 choice for those new (or relatively new) to ASP.NET? Would it offer enough new content over the previous iteration that I'd recommend a new purchase if someone had the first?

===

First, if you're just getting started with ASP.NET, this is once again *the* book to start with. The way the book reads makes it extremely easy to keep up with where he's at, and why. At the end you'll end up with a functional site, having built it yourself, using a good deal of ASP.NET functionality.

The book also assumes little experience with HTML and CSS, which makes this book a fairly good start for anyone who wants to get started with creating Web sites (using ASP.NET), even going into the developer tool Visual Web Developer 2010.

The book itself is a *vast* improvement over previous iterations, with a much more solid wrap and softer (but still thick) pages. (Although the pages must be somewhat thinner, since the previous iteration of this book is about the same depth as this one, even though this has ~70 more pages.)

The guitar on the cover has left me guessing a bit, all the way from 'rock star' to 'hero' to 'he creates a music-related site' but if you don't get stuck on such things, you'll be fine.

===

If you've purchased and read the previous iteration of this book, Beginning ASP.NET 3.5, you might be wondering if it makes sense to pick this up.

The only new chapter is one on jQuery (although Microsoft AJAX is still covered and used as before), and it's primarily an introduction, which fits within the context of this book. Crawling the jQuery site for a little while will probably get you up to speed just as well. Otherwise, the rest has been updated to ASP.NET 4 and the current versions of software; little else has changed.

If you picked up the previous iteration and couldn't get through it, then don't bother with this, as it's quite similar. Likewise for if you've moved beyond Beginning ASP.NET 3.5, and feel comfortable with the technology; ASP.NET 4 isn't dug into so much here that you can't get the information elsewhere with some basic searching.

===

To conclude, Beginning ASP.NET 4 in C# and VB is *the* book I *highly* recommend to get started with ASP.NET (3.5 or 4). Imar knows the technology as well as how to teach it, from beginning to Web site created. 5 of 5 stars.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book if you want to start learning ASP.NET 4! A must have! May 21 2010
By Sébastien G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really loved this book! This book is so amazing, i don't know where to start!

You actually learn a LOTS in the book even if its a starting book for ASP.NET.
Actually, ive learned more than expected! This is the first time i buy a WROX book and
i am impressed!

I am a PHP web developper that wanted to learn ASP.NET so i already have a background
in web programming but you do not need to have a background in order to read this book!

It is so easy to read and the information is so interesting that each time you turn a page
you want to learn and know more !

Here, a list of the positive things i found about the book :

- Lots of great examples step by step with a section that explain you the whole process each time.
- Code are written in both C# and VB.NET.
- Very comprehensive writting. The author explain everything and make things clear!
- Very informative even if you are an advanced user in ASP.NET.
- The book cover a nice project which go from a subject to another easily.
- The book refers others book in the WROX collection which is useful if you wanna extend your knowledge later and
i really appreciate this cause sometime you never know where to look at after you've read a book! It refer to others place
if you want to dig into advanced subject later which is really great!
- After you've read the book you know how to make complete website using AJAX and JQUERY along with databases!
- Cover LOTS of subject, even cover AJAX and JQUERY.

Since nothing is perfect, i have only one constructive remark about the book :

- I know that this book is not intended to be a reference book but this still would be interessting
to have some reference section somewhere. This reference section could hold the important informations in a chapter so you
don't have to dig inside each page in order to get some important stuff that have been mentionned. But well this is not really
a problem but that would help from memorizing everything. But since its not a reference book this is not a problem at all!

Overall :

If you looking to learn ASP.NET 4 and don't know where to start, get this book! Do not look anywhere else.. just GET this book!
I really recommand it !
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to understand and incredible customer service May 4 2010
By Douglas A. Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off, this is one of the best instructional books I've ever read. Imar has a way with explaining things that makes it easy to follow and understand. But it gets even better. I had a question on something that was related to one of the topics in the book, but it wasn't covered specifically. Imar's email address is in the book so I thought, well maybe, if I emailed him, there was a slim possiblity that in a few days he might answer the question. Less then 10 minutes after I sent the email I got a return email with the answer to the question. I was amazed!

He did ask that I post my questions to the forum in the future so that if others had similar questions he could just point them to the forum instead of answering the same question over and over. The forum also gives other readers a chance to learn from each others questions. So that's the way I'll address any questions in the future, but I have to say I am very impressed.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book - Perfect for Non-Developers Who Want to Make Web Applications Oct. 27 2011
By Ofir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I want to say that this is one of the best instructional books I have ever read. My background: I have dabbled in programming for a bout a year, starting with Python, then C++. I then took an interest in web applications and got a book on HTML and CSS - I read about half the book then got bored.

I started an online tutorial in PHP but I personally didn't enjoy coding in the language. From there, I did a bit of research online and found this book. WOW! As soon as I started reading it I could tell this was the framework I was going to use to make my web applications.

Firstly, let me say this about ASP.NET in general: ASP.NET is in my opinion perfect for people who do not have a development background. It simplifies a lot of things, while at the same time ensuring flexibility. I personally enjoy using it a lot.

Now as for this book: it's simply phenomenal. You go from nothing to a fully functional, dynamic website in 800 pages. That's impressive. The explanations are excellent and the examples well crafted. You learn how to work with Visual Studio, you learn HTML and CSS basics, you learn C# and VB, you learn how to work with databases using ADO.NET and LINQ, you learn how to work with jQuery to do client side scripting, you learn how to work with AJAX to do partial postbacks to the server.

All in all, you get a good grounding in every aspect of web development using this book. From there, it's quite easy to extend your knowledge using additional resources.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has no web development experience.

One thing: it really helps if you have a working knowledge of HTML, CSS and some programming language (preferably C# or VB). While the author makes no assumptions and covers these topics, it obviously helps to know these things before beginning. I personally struggled a little with some of the examples because I had never used VB or C# before. Consider getting and introductory book on C# or VB to supplement this book of you have never used either language before.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good value, comprehensible introductory text on ASP.Net. Oct. 1 2010
By MR G L WEBB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have found this text to be a concise, interesting and useful introduction to ASP.Net.

As a "non-Windows" database programmer (Pick/UniVerse/UniData) with a smattering of VB6 experience, I have recently embarked on a serious re-training project in C#.Net and ASP.Net. As is often the case with many a "newbie", the combined depth and breadth of the .Net/C#/ASP development environment can be daunting. I am enjoying using this text, as I feel that it is easing me into the subject with clear and simple explanations of each topic, and without laying on too much of the heavy, in-depth detail too early in the knowledge acquisition process.

I was initially attracted to Wrox "Beginning..." texts when I purchased a copy of "Begining Visual C# 2010" at a local bookshop. The presentation of digestible tracts of information, followed by "try it out" exercises, then an explanation of "how it works", is common to both texts and works very well for me. I feel that it is paramount to any professional to have in-depth knowledge of their chosen vocation. I will not get that from any introductory text on the subject, but I feel that this one is providing a solid introduction in an interesting and comprehensible manner.

I would like to thank Mr. Spaanjaars and the Wrox team for a fine text that is good value for money.
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