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Expert One-on-One Visual Basic 2005 Design and Development Paperback – Feb 5 2007

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Big Picture April 24 2007
By Geoffrey R. Stokeld - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am an amateur developer of freeware medical software [...] and a fan of Rod Stephens with this being the third book of his that I have purchased. He has a concise and clear style of writing that is easy to read and his books are dotted with examples. I have previously written a review for his Visual Basic 2005 Programmer's Reference which is a classic. I enjoy dipping into this for the details of Visual Basic and it is full of some truly useful sample code, especially graphics and printing. So it was with some anticipation I waited for delivery of his new book- Visual Basic 2005 Design and Development.

Whereas his last book was full of Visual Basic language details his latest work complements this with more of an overview of the design process. It looks at the bigger picture of developing an application and has some useful advanced coding additions.

Part I details the design process and I found it interesting as an individual developer to see how larger groups go about the design process. Chapter 5 User-Interface Design was the most useful section for me and sets out practical examples of how to make a users life easier. It was full off common sence advice on setting out forms, fonts and how to make an application responsive to the user.

Part II Meta-Development (not sure what that means) gets down to some detail on programming help with snippets, macros ( I didn't even know they existed in VS 2005) and an excellent chapter on custom controls and components. The MapViewFinder in chapter 10 was a superb example (you can drag a small rectangular area around a large map to show a detailed area in the rectangle). There are 21 sample solutions in the accompanying code download for this chapter alone.

Part III Development is for when you get serious about making an application for others to use as well as yourself. It has details on documentation and an overview of design philosophy with some gems. It is dotted with some interesting examples of how things work in the real world and anecdotes of Rod's experiences in various projects. Bug hunting, testing and deployment round this part off.

If Part III was more of an overview, Part IV gets your hands dirty again with some advanced coding. I liked the chapter on splash screens but liked the chapter on printing better. Visual Basic is notoriously hard to program complex printing. Rod has by far and away the best examples of printing in any text I have seen and this chapter adds to the examples in his previous book. Other writers stop at simple but useless examples of printing that don't take into account real world requirements for multiple pages, multiple fonts, imbedded graphics, page sizes, page numbers, text wrapping around images etc. Chapter 20 Printing has 6 example solutions that help you through the complexities of printing in Visual Basic. Threading and reflection are beyond me at present but as my skills develop I may come back to the more advanced chapters.

The accompanying source code is a 4.5M zipped file with copious examples which add value to the book. I am glad I bought it and recommend it to more experience programmers especially if you are developing an application that is intended for use by other users and you dont want to get too much grief from poor decisions in the design phase.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Good, but not what I expected March 19 2007
By Speednet - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps 3 stars is a bit low, but there is no 3.5, so that's my rating.

Mr. Stephens is obviously an experienced VB coder, and I was hoping to find in this book some advanced coding patterns, based on his experience. In particular, I believe the book summary mentioned advanced object coding, so I was looking forward to some really in-depth discussion about advanced coding methods for objects.

I would describe this book as something akin to Code Complete, but focused on VB. It contains a series of chapters on what (in the author's opinion) is the BEST way to code certain aspects. For example, the best naming conventions.

From the description, my assumption was that this book is for "elite" programmers, who have exhausted all "advanced" books, and are ready for the heavy-duty code examples and techniques.

However, after reading the book, I would say that it would be best for programming groups or departments to use as required reading for their VB programmers. If everyone in a department adhered to the conventions in this book, they would be creating some very solid code.

I hope that Mr. Stephens continues writing advanced books about VB, because he obviously has some very good experience with it. I would really like to see him put together (for example) an object-oriented data access layer (DAL), and then explain it, in 2-3 chapters. The best example of that, but not written for VB, can be found in the Manning book called "ASP.NET Web Parts in Action". It is a very unexpected treasure to find that code in the beginning of that book, and I'd love to see a VB book cover a few *very advanced* topics like that.

I hope this review does not come off as overly negative, because that's not my intent. It is a good book for its purpose. I just didn't see that purpose matching with the summary of what to expect.
Good Manual for the Novice April 10 2011
By Gary J. Leonhardt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been transitioning from mainframe to visual programming over the past five years. A co-worker, who is also a visual programming whiz, recommended I read his copy of this book. After thumbing through it I opted to buy a copy for myself. The author's prose is competent and his ability to layout ideas and explain the "hows" and "whys" are helpful. Even though the .Net languages are up to version 2010, this is still a viable reference for junior and intermediate programmers alike.
Very good book June 18 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Visual Basic 2005 Design and Development by Rod Stephens.

Rod's written some great books in the past. And, this one is no exception. Each topic is explained clearly. Also, I didn't experience any of the 'dry' reading that I usually experience reading a technical book. The book does a very good job at keeping the reader interested in even the topics that aren't the most exciting. The writing style is very similar to what you will see in the articles on [...]

In particular, I enjoyed the section on UI design philosophy. In my opinion, that is the type of thing that programming books need more of. Because, let's face it, programmers tend not to be the most creative people.
It is not what I thought. Sept. 11 2007
By E. Padilla - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did expect more deeply coverage of the topics. The book is helpful but some chapters are very superficial and you finish with a lot of questions with no answers.

In general terms it is ok.