39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Charles M. Carroll
- Published on Amazon.com
I basically had some real dread about this book. WROX editors have gotten the wrong people to write books outside of their specialty, and have been downright sloppy as I have pointed out in many other reviews in the past. The new owners are trying hard to only get the best attributes of WROX, not the worse, with mixed results on some of their books I looked at. This book trots out some major players: Scott Hanselman major guru and creator of an awesome beyond compare tool list; Devin Rader a very interesting blogger and community participant extra-ordinaire; finally Bill Evjen, INETA founder.
My expectation when picking up this book is I expected a ton of info that could be found elsewhere, scattered across many smaller books, under one cover. Asp.net Unleashed spoiled me so I have to assume even at best, it will just duplicate material that Walther's book covers better with no special insight.
I was pleasantly surprised!!! I like this book so much I will buy the hardcover the minute it appears. It actually offers quite a few insights other books do not. This book is fabulous!
I could write a 20 page review of why everyone must own this and ASP.net Unleashed if they only own 2 books on ASP.net but I will just summarize to save us both a heck of a lot of time and reading.
Since the book clocks in at 1,600+ pages I cannot elucidate on all all the gems in this book, so hopefully a few examples will make you realize how good this book is. Debugging, Exceptions and Trace are an area I care about a LOT and boy did they cover the topic well. The subtleties and interactions between Debug.Write/ Trace.Write and some really insightful data about Trace listeners makes this much more useful than the documentation, in ways no one else has tackled before this concisely. Good sections on Server Controls, HTTP Handlers and Modules, WebParts, Provider models, CSS and ASP.net, et al. The scope of this book is fabulous at covering a little about everything but with a lot of insight and attention to detail.
And WOW WOW WOW this book actually gives lots of Visual Studio tips. Visual Studio is a labyrinth of options and the good stuff is always hidden so having lots of great Visual Studio tidbits (and screenshots) really enhance this book's value.
The weakest part of the book is the Online Resources section. I think it is way too short. I read well over 300+ blogs to keep up with ASP.net a dozen does not do justice to the blogsphere. Sites are of variying quality so Great sites like CodeProject, DaveAndAl.com, 4GuysFromRolla.com, CodePlex, SourceForge need to be highlighted and given some brief blurbs as to how they offer more and what specifically they offer. Given the importance of Open Source, Shared Source, not giving a whole chapter providing brief overviews and links to MS App Blocks, NHibernate, iBatis, LLBGen, Log4net, Mole Visualizer, the Starter Kits, et al. is I think a big oversight.
I also think communities (listservers, Groups, Forums, newsgroups, Social Networks with SIGs) are something that need some explanation to people as a FREE help resource. Some summaries of how to find the right ones for your experience level, explaining the organization and etiquette of specialized groups vs. FreeForAlls, explaining which forums are active and responsive and which tend to breed more discouragement and unanswered posts to avoid, etc. The book has a bunch of great explanations of many ideas but .NET is so huge and areas are so deep people need to know how to get answers on things beyond just pointing to a few URLs. A book worth it's salt at covering community even as an Appendix, a dozen pages at least would give a person a much better overview of how to find and maximize value of community to solve ongoing job challenges.
To summarize... Great book (I hope they make a hardcover so the book has a longer, stronger reference life without falling apart). A great companion to ASP.net Unleashed that goes deeper in many areas, but sometimes you need concise terse shallow insightful overviews and this book is filled with them. I am major book critic and can be quite harsh when reviewing .NET books, mostly because I really think given the quality of online info, books better bring some major insight and depth not just duplicate what is out there on the web on paper, to be of value. This book is the real deal .... These 3 authors and their editors delivered a book the ASP.net developer will find invaluable, and help them write better code, solve tougher problems, and elegantly understand and apply quite a bit of the richness the Framework offers in real world ASP.net web site building and maintenance. Bravo, Bravisimo!
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Bill, Scott and Devin are long-time ASP.NET experts, and the authors of several best selling ASP.NET and .NET books.
This latest book is outstanding and provides an excellent end to end resource for almost all things ASP.NET related (UI, AJAX, Data Access, Security, State Management, Deployment, etc).
The book is very well organized, with a nice balance of text, code samples, and screen-shots. All code samples are provided in both C# and VB - making it applicable to developers of all language backgrounds.
The book does a good job of covering new .NET 3.5 material - with good content on LINQ, LINQ to XML, and LINQ to SQL, as well as the new ASP.NET 3.5 data controls - including the ListView control. It has chapters on ASP.NET AJAX and the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit. It also has some great IIS7 material.
One of the things that is particularly useful is that the samples and chapters are written with Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer Express 2008. The book does a great job of explaining both the core ASP.NET programming concepts, as well as showing off how to use the tools to easily take advantage of them.
All in all a great book and a fantastic addition to any ASP.NET developer's library.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I've got the ASP.NET 2.0 version of this book (both the original and special edition versions) and all of the strengths still hold: It still walks you through all of the common (and some of the uncommon) usage for ASP.NET and provides great examples and code snippets to illustrate points. I'm not an ASP.NET newbie and I still find myself referring to the book from time to time - even in the age of Google - to find a nice, easy-to-understand example of this or that.
That said, not much has changed from ASP.NET 2.0 to ASP.NET 3.5, so the important bits are the differences between this book and the previous version. So what is different?
* Lots about LINQ. Anywhere they discuss data - from databinding to working with XML - they've added info on how LINQ works into the picture. Thre is even a new chapter on "Querying with LINQ."
* A chapter on IIS7 with a high-level intro to what it means for ASP.NET.
* A chapter on basic HTML and CSS usage.
* ASP.NET AJAX has been made a first class citizen with chapters on both the ASP.NET AJAX framework as well as the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit. (It was an appendix in the ASP.NET 2.0 book.)
* A section on WCF services has been added to the "Building and Consuming Services" chapter.
* An ASP.NET-oriented subset of the indispensable Scott Hanselman Ultimate Tools List has been added as an appendix with screen shots and larger discussion of each tool.
* An appendix has been added on basic Silverlight.
* The introduction to Visual Studio. You won't get an overview of the IDE in the new book.
* Basic .NET concept review like the chapter on "Collections and Lists" have been removed.
* The chapter on developing for mobile devices using the contents of the System.Web.Mobile assembly.
* The appendix on VB 8.0 and C# 2.0 language enhancements (generics, partial classes, etc.).
* The ASP.NET 2.0 book separated out the discussions of "ASP.NET Web Server Controls" and "ASP.NET 2.0 Web Server Controls." This is now one chapter that doesn't differentiate by version.
For the chapters that the two versions of the book have in common, really the only differences I could find were that the first few "intro" paragraphs for the chapter and the screenshots have been updated. A few sentences here and there have been updated to remove version-specific wording, but the copy is basically the same. I did a page-for-page comparison of one of chapters and almost everywhere it was exactly the same as the previous version, verbatim.
That commonality is not a bad thing. It means the new version still has the great content found in the previous version, so if you didn't get the ASP.NET 2.0 book, the 3.5 book will cover you. If you did get the ASP.NET 2.0 book, Wrox also has a Professional ASP.NET 3.5 Upgrade book that just contains the new stuff so you don't have to re-purchase content you already have.
Again, the typesetting irked me. The font really needs to be a point or two larger. Also, in the Professional ASP.NET 2.0 Special Edition, they used a light gray background to highlight code snippets so it was easy to make the distinction between prose and code. They lost that light gray background in the 3.5 book so the prose and the snippets run together a bit. (They use the light gray now as a "highlighter" for particular lines of code.) Of course, at 1600-odd pages, they might have to start shipping this bad boy on microfiche.
In all, still highly recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Scott, Bill and Devin do a phenomenal job of covering evrything in 3.5. This massive book can be read cover-to-cover over a couple of weeks or sit on your desk as a reference. The info from these three is rooted in real-world experience. They cover the technical details as well as the how and why of decisions around developing Rich Internet Applications.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I use the Wrox Peer 2 Peer books -- such as this one -- basically as documentation. And in that vein, this is a strong entry. But if you're hoping to use this book to learn how to program, you're probably better off with the For Dummies series.
My copy of this book came directly from Amazon. Unfortunately, it was misbound, with an extra 150+ pages from Chapter 3 pasted into Chapter 8. It's little more than an annoyance, but keep in mind your copy may too be misbound when you get it.
Very little of the ASP.NET 3.5 language isn't covered by this book, and its primary benefit is its extensive documentation of LINQ, Microsoft's attempt to extend SQL to all data structures.
However, like most of the Professional books in the P2P series, this book is written in a way that if you do not already have a basic understanding of the control or language being discussed, you will likely be quickly left behind; this book simply describes the control, what it can do, some of its members and an example of how to employ it.
It doesn't generally get into qualitative discussions about which control is best to use in a given circumstance, or compare and contrast similar controls, or show how to use several controls to solve a given problem (i.e., provide "cookbook" examples).
Again, viewed as a technical reference, this book is as good, if not in some ways better, than MSDN's online documentation. Because it is grouped by task (e.g., data, controls, XML, membership / customization, etc.) this book often makes it easier for you to find a control than MSDN does, especially if you are unsure of which control to use or its name.
Viewed as a way to learn a language, it's not appropriate; it isn't structured to explain the approach of ASP.NET 3.5 or how to go about solving specific problems.