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Understanding Web Services Specifications and the WSE
Understanding Web Services Specifications and the WSE
by Jeannine Gailey
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Great review of WS concepts, April 29 2004
This is a great book for system architects who build complex, distributed, advanced applications using XML Web services in .NET, or would like to. While admittedly not a code-centric tutorial guide, it does serve to clarify many of the questions a developer considering the Microsoft .NET Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 2.0 would have, and demystifies many of the questions posed about interoperability between WSE versions and across platforms like .NET and J2EE.
Contrary to the criticism that some have unfairly labeled the book with, I didn't find the material to be rehashed MSDN articles that would be otherwise easily accessible on that site. Rather, author Jeannine Hall Gailey gives an academic overview of the areas for WSE 2.0 under development by those architecting the web service model on a macro level (BEA, IBM, Microsoft, Sun, etc.). Instead of regurgitated programming articles, Jeannine (whose body of work in writing about WSE and the high-end use of SOAP in .NET environments is most impressive) presents a complimentary collection of easy-to-follow articles on advanced uses for extending SOAP's capabilities, using a writing voice that's welcome and friendly. (You'll surely appreciate this latter benefit, as the material can get quite complex at times.)
So rather than give you code to nail down a specific problem, an overview of the web services model and of next-gen apps relying on SOAP is examined. And you'll more well-rounded and better off because of it. When used in combination with the code found on her articles at MSDN, they make for a very effective guide to helping you build powerful systems.
At 232 pages, the book is a great quick read, giving the reader a high-level understanding of many of the concepts being discusses and/or enforced by the web services powers-that-be. The major WS-* considerations such as attachments, security, reliable messaging, coordination and policy enforcement are described. The book is written beautifully and organized logically, with easy to understand hypothetical scenarios.
The book makes mention of SOAP 1.2, and while it admits to leaning towards the SOAP 1.1 spec for the moment, does take the time to mention the differences between the two. There's also a very healthy amount of information for two technologies you're likely to have lots of questions about - encryption and DIME attachments.
There was a terse mention of working with SOAP messages across SMTP, and I would have liked to see more of a discussion on this topic. There's lots of good information about other transport protocols like HTTP, TCP and UDP, but sadly, not much on SMTP for building secure messaging systems over e-mail. But I can't pin this minor shortcoming directly on the author - the Web is currently sorely lacking such information outside the scope of mentioning that SOAP can transport across SMTP.
But aside from that, this book is a great read for those looking to take SOAP to the next level and really leverage the WSE in their applications.

XML in Office 2003: Information Sharing with Desktop XML
XML in Office 2003: Information Sharing with Desktop XML
by Charles F. Goldfarb
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 4.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Great guide anyone with a little O2K3 experience can pick up, Feb. 18 2004
With the XML advantages in the Office 2003 suite of applications not being glaringly obvious (at least not to me), I gave this book a whirl. I'm glad I did.

It's consistent in its organization - presenting the capabilities of Word, Excel, Access, FrontPage, and Office forms to use, manage and manipulate XML-based data - first from within the applications themselves, and then from more robust subsystems using Office's embedded Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). It shows how easy it is to manage data by building great apps with simple scripts. (Notably missing was a discussion on the applications of XML within PowerPoint, although I'm admittedly unsure if that's even an issue.)

The book's voice is very friendly and non-intimidating, using chapter around 15-30 pages at most, making for a pleasant, quick reading experience. On this note, I found the Excel chapters and those on WordML especially valuable. As far as the examples themselves, all were practical and easy to replicate locally, whether by menu or through code. There's a healthy lean towards the use of SOAP by making Web services calls for importation of data that's a great addition.

The book also has something I found that many modern programming texts don't - an easy-to-understand explanation of schemas and how to construct them. All books discussing XML obviously make mention of the use of schema, but the vast majority don't explain it well. The authors do a great job of not only explaining schema's role in an app, but also how to build it, which is something newbies will appreciate.

Still, in this day of modern distributed applications and datashaping, I also would have liked to see the VBA-based examples complemented/contrasted with .NET programming concepts and code, working against the APIs for each Office app. Also, one thing I found somewhat annoying was that the code, while complete and hearty, always referenced "in Line 25...and then in Line 30", without marking the lines of code, forcing the reader to manually count-and-mark the lines. This was a minor nuisance, but a nuisance nonetheless.

But the good in this book far outweighs the bad, and the content and examples can be picked up by any level of staffer in the workplace who's familiar with Office apps. It's a great read.

Adopting the Rational Unified Process: Success with the RUP
Adopting the Rational Unified Process: Success with the RUP
by Stefan Bergström
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 33.59
22 used & new from CDN$ 2.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Great practical guide to using RUP in today's development, Jan. 23 2004
"Adopting the Rational Unified Process: Success with the RUP" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0321202945/qid=1073105259/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-1339915-1067139?v=glance&s=books) is a title any organization looking to streamline operations would be wise to pick up. It's basically a "how-to" guide on making RUP work for you. And right off the bat, it lets you know that RUP is meant to be picked apart.
It explains strategies in getting the members of your team to buy into RUP's concepts, as well as getting management to support it. It also maps out a proposed strategy for using RUP not only in new projects, but for inserting it into work already ongoing.
It's written with a very friendly tone, and explained in plain English, with short, to the point chapters, making it a very easy read. It's also organized very logically, and features many of the RUP templates, as well as UML diagrams and schematics that reinforce the lessons learned. The book also does a good job of demonstrating the concepts mentioned, by giving examples of how RUP is used, and then follows it up with an outstanding appendix highlighting many well-known businesses using RUP in their operations.
Because of the clarity of writing, proven examples, and exhibits, this book would make an outstanding addition to the curriculum for either a software engineering course or business class.

Rational Unified Process, The: An Introduction
Rational Unified Process, The: An Introduction
by Philippe Kruchten
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 54.99
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to RUP for beginners, Jan. 2 2004
One thing's for sure: it's impossible for any one person to "know" the Rational Unified Process in and out. So, stop right there if you're looking to get the printed documentation of RUP, because it's logistically impossible to bundle it all into a paperback book. These titles give a bird's eye view of what RUP is and how it can be leveraged for optimal productivity in the vein of software development.

This book gives you great high-level insight on how your organization can benefit by adopting and implementing RUP in your developmental projects.

"The Rational Unified Process: An Introduction" is an overview into the theory behind RUP. Great chart and graphics describe the processes RUP is rooted in, and the title is written in such a way as to indirectly hammer home the concepts into your subconscious, without being too blatantly redundant. Essentially, you'll get the jist of RUP - iterations, that the waterfall process isn't efficient, the importance of establishing diversity in team-based development, and the importance of architecture.

Basically, the book also enforces the concept that self-organization and communication within an organization (within the team, throughout the company, and with clients) is key. It reads more like a business journal than a technical guide, so hands-on examples are left out.

Also, the poster summarizing the key RUP activities that's included with the book is really great. I would have liked a case study at the end of the book to tie together the concepts with a practical example, but the book is great otherwise. I also found the fact that samples of RUP templates to be a bit disappointing. A helpful appendix listing some (not all) of the key artifacts used in RUP planning is also appreciated.

C# Programming Language, The
C# Programming Language, The
by Anders Hejlsberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 48.99
21 used & new from CDN$ 3.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Great reference, but NOT a programming tutorial, Dec 6 2003
I've always held as a personal dictum that the best way to get complete, irrefutable information on something is to go straight to the source. And the new title "The C# Programming Language", co-authored by Anders Heljsberg, a Microsoft distinguished engineer and the creator of the C# language, is such a source.

To paraphrase my favorite quote from the Matrix series, "He IS the architect."

However, the key element to understanding why you should get this book is understanding what it is...and perhaps more importantly, what it is not. The main focus of the book is to provide centralized documentation for the C# language specification. It's not intended to be a comprehensive tutorial to C# development; it's a programmer's reference, profiling the internal mechanics behind the world's most rapidly-adopted programming language.

So, it's not a book where developers can copy out code, find out how to better design classes, or lookup methods and properties within the .NET Framework - it's a valuable reference guide for the experienced developer. As such, I find it to be a fantastic resource for upper-level computer science students (a market Addison-Wesley very adeptly serves anyway), or those professional developers moving over from other languages and/or platforms, and I highly recommend it to those who would make buying decisions for such classes.

People looking to buy it as a programming guide will be disappointed, I'm sad to say, as it's simply not that type of book. This would be akin to be getting lost trying to read the U.S. Constitution to find out how to create a law. It's applicable...but not directly.

However, I enjoyed reading it, for the academic and conceptual benefits it provided. And yes, I did learn a lot, most of which I didn't realize prior. A very, very helpful collection of appendices make this book a great addition to any development team's library. A hale and hearty section is also dedicated to introducing to the new features inherent to C# 2.0 - generics, anonymous methods, iterators, and partial classes.

In my opinion, the book's one major flaw is the misnomer is gives off to the buyer, which unfairly at this point in the .NET game, implies the de facto expectation for a self-help book on learning various aspects of Microsoft development. The true purpose of the book could have been better promoted with the inclusion of a subtitle, something like "The C# Programming Language - An Architect's Guide to the Specification", or something making the true purpose a bit more obvious.

That having been said, the book is a fantastic deal, priced cheap (a great bargain at US$29.95), so buy it if you're an experienced developer who's curious. You'll grow as a developer by increasing your own programming acumen by becoming more intimately familiar with how the C# language does what it does in the background.

The title is beautifully bound, being a hardcover book with one of those little page-placeholder ribbon thingys, the name of which I obviously don't know, but a nice touch nonetheless.

I'm not sure how I should rank this book, as it's a specification, and therefore inherently comprehensive, and likewise subject to standardization prior to publication. But, I did get a lot out of it, so that says something.

ASP.NET 2.0 Revealed
ASP.NET 2.0 Revealed
by Patrick A. Lorenz
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 28.75
20 used & new from CDN$ 3.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great explanation of Whidbey concepts w/lots of code!, Dec 2 2003
This review is from: ASP.NET 2.0 Revealed (Paperback)
ASP.NET 2.0 Revealed
By Patrick Lorenz
Published by APress
...
This book is much more demonstrative and visual than some of the other titles currently on the market, making it the ultimate complement for books like "A First Look at ASP.NET v 2.0". Overall, the book's tone is very educational but not intimidating, complex but not complicated, making for a very friendly atmosphere that makes it quite easy to read.

The book tackles some of the more technical topics involved with developing and administering ASP.NET web sites, so it's an effective tool in lightly previewing what's coming on the horizon for us, as well as giving you the in-depth answers to allow you to start planning to solve problems and work more efficiently.

In each of the title's 13 hearty chapters, there's great examples that accompany most, if not all of the concepts presented. So, you don't get an empty, lost feeling after being drawn-into an idea - it's succeeded with a relevant, working C# example.

The book is definitely written for the web developer already primed with experience in ASP.NET 1.x, so familiarity with the concepts of Microsoft web development is a must. But assuming that, you'll be very pleased.

Specifically, there are several areas in this book I found to be outstanding. These include a fantastic introduction to generics, iterators, anonymous methods and other new features of both C# and Visual Basic .NET. Also, there's a great description of using the ObjectDataSource control for binding business objects to data controls, and an equally nice discussion of the Site Counter API and keeping tabs on the user currently on one's site. The book also has a good chunk of information about the improvements to working with dynamic imaging, and about the easy by which you can create and control client-side script.

Additionally, there's a great preview of the Whidbey version of Visual Studio .NET's features specifically for web developers. Provides constant tips and comments about what features are likely to be changed by the Whidbey Beta.

The sole bit of criticism I would have it that, the chapter on Web Parts chapter was interesting, but largely took from the documentation and samples you can find on MSDN and in the .NET Framework documentation.

But outside of that, the positive far outweigh the negatives, and if you're on the hunt for anything and everything you can get your hands on about the next big thing in web development, get your hands on this book today.

ASP.NET Solutions - 23 Case Studies: Best Practices for Developers
ASP.NET Solutions - 23 Case Studies: Best Practices for Developers
by Rick Leinecker
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 6.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Good working code for the developer on the run, Nov. 29 2003
This book is one of the few books that is reminiscent of the many titles that were published in the glory days of ASP Classic, being "plug and play" books that had independent bits of code you could rip and start working with immediately. I'll admit that I hadn't heard of Rick Leinecker before this book came out, but I'm a big fan now.

While the title's main draw is to give a developer a series of diverse applications, it presents the information in a way in which many of us admittedly still program - on a per-script level, without all being tied into one major application. The code is documented nicely and explained well.

Also, examples like the Microsoft ASP.NET Forums and dynamic charting script author Leinecker use a more enterprise approach, each being component-driven sub-applications.

While the book's subtitle denotes "best practices" (which is somewhat argumentative when dissecting the code and methodologies used), it is a quick read, with lots of helpful info. And it does a great job of doing what it says - giving a developer quick, easy access to 23 different types of applications with which to deploy in web environments.

The SpeechVB application was also a neat addition.

So if you're looking for a title that just gives you a jumpstart on getting working code, grab this book.

Graphics Programming with GDI+
Graphics Programming with GDI+
by Mahesh Chand
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from CDN$ 15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic work - a MUST HAVE for any ASP.NET developer, Nov. 29 2003
That huge surge you just felt was a collective breath of relief and gratitude being exhaled by the members of the ASP.NET community with the release of "Graphics Programming with GDI+". To date, the topic of graphics programming in ASP.NET exists only in a few sparse articles, which exhibit extreme polarity - they're either too easy or too hard, exhibiting not enough practical information or excessive amounts of practices rarely used, respectively.

Thankfully, author Mahash Chand starts off easy with the fundamentals of graphics programming in the .NET world in a very platform-agnostic manner, and then introduces some fairly advanced concepts. The pace is natural and easy, introducing the requirements and fundamentals for programmatic graphics development in applications, and then developing upon concepts like shapes, fills, and fonts.

He also tempers his discussion with a healthy "best practices" section in the latter part of the book that curbs your enthusiasm for developing visual elements to your project, letting you acknowledge the responsibility one must have when working with graphics, in terms of performance and resource consumption.

Too often I've seen books haphazardly try and explain a concept of graphics programming with GDI+ by saying, "check the .NET documentation for more". This is the definitive book out on the market today that will give you the edge in working with graphics.

The book's examples have a natural slant towards Windows Forms applications, but fear not, web warriors - this book is a must have for any ASP.NET developer, as the approach takes you quickly but thoroughly through the rigors of working with dynamic imaging for the browser.

Bravo, Mahesh - we all owe you a debt of gratitude.

Microsoft ASP.Net Coding Strategies with the Microsoft ASP.Net Team
Microsoft ASP.Net Coding Strategies with the Microsoft ASP.Net Team
by Matthew Gibbs
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 0.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Great architectural help guide, but, Nov. 29 2003
With ASP.NET 2.0 right around the corner, there's a new book out that will give a needed edge to your arsenal of tools with which to draw from for ASP.NET 1.x. While many in the ASP.NET community will be sticking with the first version of Microsoft's web development platform for some time to come, "Microsoft ASP.NET Coding Strategies with the Microsoft ASP.NET Team" provides a deep, insightful view of architecting, configuring, managing and extending next-gen web applications with ASP.NET.

Still, there are several code examples, albeit in the guise of snippets and clips. Many of those used are cited as being taken straight from the many free ASP.NET projects, like the ASP.NET Forums application, the ASP.NET application blocks and many of the utilities currently used on [...]

My biggest - and only - criticism of this title is, ironically, its title. Despite what the heading implies, it's not one of those books with hundreds of free scripts that you can plug into your site. It's not a gallery of free code you can rip-and-insert into your site like was available in so many ASP 3.0 books. Rather, it provides a fresh, welcome discussion on the inner-workings and processes of ASP.NET behind-the-scenes. And for that, it's very valuable.

I find it to be a great resource for experienced ASP.NET developers as an architectural guide, more than a code reference, which the title would lead one to believe (at least that's the first impression I got when I bought the book).

The book's high points are Rob Howard's outstanding comprehensive discussion of caching (which is one of the better dialogues available in print), as well as talks about working in the [...] pipeline, developing custom [...] handlers, and developing custom server controls.

It also seems that most of the chapters are taken straight from, or based upon, content that already exists on MSDN. While this seems to be a point of contention for many developers, I find that it's nice to have these helpful articles aggregated in a single bound collection.

At any rate, it's a good read, and will augment your knowledge of ASP.NET, what it does, how it does it, and how you can get it to work in your web apps.

First Look at Aspnet V 2.0 A
First Look at Aspnet V 2.0 A
by Homer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 60.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 1.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Believe the hype...buy this book., Nov. 26 2003
The scientist Louis Pasteur is famous for, amongst other things, saying, "chance favors the prepared mind." With Whidbey on the horizon, Dave Sussman, Alex Homer and Rob Howard, are getting you prepared for battle, as you combat long, drawn-out development sessions and having to write thousands of lines of code. You'll definitely want to pick up a copy of this book to properly arm yourself.
Whether you're an existing alpha tester or one of the many who is privy to a PDC copy of Whidbey, this is the definitive source you'll want in your arsenal for the next evolution of ASP.NET. There's code galore, and the concepts are explained easily and well, while still mixing in the specifics of how the next version of .NET will help you become a better web developer.
The book's hearty 470+ pages display a tone that is friendly and comforting, which is a plus when taking into consideration the literal piano of information about new features and enhancements that will be dropping on you. It seems to be best read by an experienced ASP.NET developer, familiar with concepts and terms inherent to Microsoft web development. One will quickly welcome the perspectives given on a variety of topics from caching to the new server controls, to the enhancements Version 2.0 of the .NET Framework delivers.
The book does not completely marry the reader to the Whidbey version of Visual Studio .NET, rather presenting the code examples in an IDE-agnostic manner, so as to still appeal to the NotePad enthusiast in all of us. Still, the vast and massive improvements to VS.NET itself are well documented.
All the book's examples are presented in Visual Basic .NET, which isn't so bad, as one of the key points of the title is that Whidbey's new model minimizes the authoring of code itself, so you can concentrate more on working with encapsulated server controls and optimizing your web apps through intelligent configuration and management utilities.
A very healthy chapter on Web Parts and Whidbey's model for the portal framework is most appreciated, and the ease by which you'll sift through the accompanying code just goes to prove how much better developing web-based applications will be once Whidbey arrives. Equally-thick chapters on new aspects of the feature set such as master pages, membership, and personalization, as well as great discussions of the improvements to the existing security, data controls, configuration and administration.
The book also does a great job of keeping multi-platform application development in mind, constantly mentioning the capabilities of Whidbey to generate output for both the desktop-based and mobile browser.
My personal favorite new feature of ASP.NET 2.0 is Web Parts and Personalization, and the book has a great deal of information on both. The book proves that not only has Microsoft listened to customers and thought way ahead in developing the next big thing, but the title's authors themselves answer many questions you'd likely ask.
If you're wondering if this book (and Whidbey in general) is worth it - believe the hype. Get this book now. You'll be very happy you did, and will be anxiously anticipating the release of Beta 1.

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