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ASP.NET 4 Unleashed Hardcover – Oct 14 2010
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From the Back Cover
Following in the tradition of the earlier ASP.NET Unleashed books,ASP.NET 4.0 Unleashedis the one and only indispensable book for building ASP.NET websites. The ASP.NET framework is huge. The size and richness of the framework requires and deserves a comprehensive book on the features of ASP.NET 4.0. This book will contain hundreds of code samples and in-depth tutorials on nearly every aspect of the ASP.NET 4.0 framework. It includes thorough coverage of eagerly awaited new features such as MVC and the Entity Framework. The author, Stephen Walther, is perfectly qualified to write this book. He works as a Program Manager on the Microsoft ASP.NET team, giving him an intimate and inside knowledge of ASP.NET. Over the previous 8 years before re-joining Microsoft, Stephen provided ASP.NET training and consulting for companies and organizations across the US, so he knows the topics that are most relevant to professional ASP.NET developers. Finally, Stephen is a well-known member of the ASP.NET community. He is a Microsoft Software Legend, a frequent speaker for INETA, and a frequent speaker at conferences such as TechEd and ASP.NET Connections.
About the Author
Stephen Walther is a Senior Program Manager on the Microsoft ASP.NET team. He works on ASP.NET Web Forms and ASP.NET Ajax. Before joining Microsoft, his company provided training and consulting for organizations such as NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, the National Science Foundation, and Verizon. Walther got his start with the World Wide Web by dropping out of MIT and developing two large commercial websites. He created the Collegescape website, used by more than 200 colleges (including Harvard, Stanford, and MIT) to accept online college applications. He also developed the CityAuction website, the auction website used by both Snap! and CitySearch. He is the author of several editions of ASP.NET Unleashed.
Kevin Hoffman has been programming since he was 10 years old, when he got his hands on a Commodore VIC-20 and learned BASIC. He has eaten, slept, and breathed code ever since. He has written applications for scientific instruments, military applications, small businesses, and Fortune 500 enterprises on virtually every platform and language ranging from Symbol Barcode readers running PalmOS to the iPhone, ASP.NET, Rails, and everything in between. Kevin is the chief systems architect for Exclaim Computing, where he builds custom architectures and application solutions for a wide range of clients and industries. He regularly contributes to articles for magazines such as MSDN Magazine and is the author of the Kotan Code blog (http://www.kotancode.com).
Nate Dudek is the development lead for Exclaim Computing, a company focused on providing technology solutions for a variety of platforms, including mobile, web, enterprise, and cloud computing. He has presented at conferences, written several articles, and is constantly mentoring and teaching developers on software development best practices, software architecture, and new technologies.
For the past ten years, Nate has architected and developed software for a variety of industries, including real-time systems for power utilities, enterprise resource planning systems for service-based companies, and eCommerce systems for web businesses. He holds a B.S. degree in computer science from Clarkson University with a minor in software engineering and mathematics. Nate writes about all areas of technology on his blog, Caffeine Dependency Injection, at http://www.caffeinedi.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
From one release to another, Microsoft has continued to improve upon its flagship product for developing Web Pages. What once was a hair pulling experience, has now become a more rewarding adventure.
With the new Visual Studio 2010 and ASP.NET 4, Microsoft has once again raised the bar on things you can do with a web page.
Trying to get a handle on all of the changes can be a daunting task. Not to belittle Microsoft, but their documentation this go around is probably the worst that ever came out of Redmond.
But thanks to books like ASP.NET 4 Unleashed, that is no longer an insurmountable hurdle. What Kevin Hoffman and Nate Dudek have done to Stephen Walther's book is fantastic.
Continuing in the same vein, they run through the every part of ASP.NET programming. From the base controls that mirror their HTML counterparts, to the more rich controls that really bring life to your applications, this book details it all.
One of the things I liked best was that they not only gave an example of how to use a control, but they gave you an explanation as to WHY you would use the control.
With data access being so much a part of a web sites life these days, they devote over 380 pages to extracting data from a data source and displaying it on within your site. With great examples of GridView, DetailView, FormView, Repeater, ListView and even the Chart Controls, you will have your site displaying data and looking sharp in no time.
I personally appreciated the section on Themes. For whatever reason, I never delved into using themes on my site and the documentation I had was rather nebulous so I just pretended it wasn't there. Their coverage of the topic has me itching to update my site and really put some nice polish on it.
Chapter 17 covers building your own components. How often have you thought "I could do that better" or found that you are putting the same set of controls on page after page? With this chapter, you will be well equipped to start writing your won controls to save you all of that time and headache.
Not to be just about ASP.NET and its controls, the book also covers LINQ and URL Routing. Other topics they cover are WCF Data Services, ASP.NET MVC, Navigation Controls and Security.
Honestly, if there is something you want to know about ASP.NET, it's in this book.
Even at 1781 pages of content, there are some topics that I would have liked to have seen covered in more detail. For instance, I would like to have seen a deeper look into Security and the process of writing my own Membership provider. But even with that being said, they had to draw the line somewhere or this book would have required a forklift to move (it's pretty sizable as it is).
If you're new to ASP.NET or you really want to know all that ASP.NET can do for you, then this book has it all. It will definitely get you started in everything that's available and have you putting together a site in no time.
For coverage, it's going to be hard to beat.
Part I - Building ASP.NET Pages (232 pages)
Part II - Designing ASP.NET Websites (100 pages)
Part III - Performing Data Access (384 pages)
Part IV - Building Components (290 pages)
Part V - Site Navigation (136 pages)
Part VI - Security (116 pages)
Part VII - Building ASP.Net Applications (312 pages)
Part VIII - Custom Control Building (98 pages)
Part IX - ASP.NET Ajax (110 pages)
One other thing I should point out. The examples in the book are in C#, while this shouldn't be a drawback to VB.NET developers, I know it can be frustrating to some when the translation to VB isn't always one to one. One thing to keep in mind, is that with .NET 4.0, Microsoft has done more to make VB.NET and C# more compatible so that the differences are even more minor than before.
The reader is initially given a good introduction to the ASP .NET framework and how it works, moving to an explanation of some of the basic controls and how they should be used. The explanations and examples were good, and this section would probably be sufficient for a web developer to get up and running with the framework. Next, the authors mainly talk about centralised presentation - following on from part 1 this would probably be enough to get a web developer working on a real project in conjunction with a software engineer.
The next section talks in detail about the basic mechanisms for consuming and displaying data; I particularly liked the thorough treatment of the GridView control. By the time you've finished with this section you'll be in a position to develop simple web applications that are consistently styled and able to retrieve and persist non-volatile data. Having said this, the book is structured more as a reference with examples, so IMO a novice may need to spend a bit of time on these sections playing around with the examples to gain a firm understanding of the concepts.
Experienced .NET developers can skip over the coverage of component building in section 4, less experienced developers should probably use this section as a jumping-off point for more research on building n-tier applications in .NET. Having said this, it does cover the basics - so even a novice should be able to gain value from this section. The following detail on more advanced data access is excellent.
The rest of the book is fairly advanced, and provides a comprehensive reference guide to other areas of ASP .NET, including scalability (via caching), an introduction to the MVC framework, security and deployment. This is definitely a book that will be staying within arm's reach for the next .NET web application project that I work on, and I would definitely recommend it to other developers - it is the most thorough and well structured ASP .NET reference I've come across.
The authors state that the book can be used as a reference for experienced developers and I disagree with that. Since it doesn't provide anything beyond basic introduction, experienced developers would be better off looking up API details on MSDN or going for in-depth books about specific aspects to get some insights into pros or cons of a specific approach or any kind of discussion for "why" instead of just "how," which this book completely lacks. I think the book could've been much better had the authors decided to focus specifically on beginners, thus dropping some of the more advanced topic (such as async calls or developing custom http modules and handlers), and instead added more discussion or introduced some concepts of good design and best practices. For example, most of the examples use DataSource controls and although I can understand it makes things simpler especially when whatever material you are presenting has nothing to do with data access. But I think what that does is it misleads the beginners into thinking that's THE way to do data access. And I've never actually seen anyone use these controls for any kind of real application. So I think a chapter on designing n-tiered applications, where such concepts as Separation of Concerns, business objects/DTOs, etc. could be introduced would be a lot more useful than some of the things the authors chose to present. I think it's possible to at the very least hint at some of these things and have the beginners keep in mind security, scalability, availability, performance in mind, without really overwhelming them. Otherwise, you get people who think that creating real-world web apps is nothing more than dragging a bunch of controls on the screen and setting properties in the Properties window in Visual Studio. Look Ma, no code!!!
In summary, I think this book is a pretty decent reference for lazy beginners who like to have all the source code in front of them, with the pictures of the things they should expect to see, and simple step-by-step directions of what to do. For anyone else, better information can be obtained elsewhere.
I have to agree with most of the other reviews that have been written about this book. At 1781 pages, it is a well laid out, complete, good looking reference text for a beginner or intermediate user only. It lacks the gory technical details for us subject matter expert types and leaves you wanting more. Because of all my other ASP.Net material, when I read this book I felt like I had seen all this material before and the authors did a poor job pointing out exactly what was NEW in ASP.Net 4.0. For almost $60.00 US I felt a little cheated.
I was able to identify the new charting control, the new URL routing engine, and the use of the ADO.Net entity framework as new material in ASP.Net 4.0. Not so sure that was worth $60 US to me.
The code samples are extensive and all work. You do need a copy of VS2010 however.
If you're new to ASP.Net, or are looking for quick desk reference, this is an excellent choice.
There is good content in the book, but anyone who looks closely will find error after error. Anyone who recommends this book cannot have read it too closely. For example, I am currently reading the caching chapter. The book states something about the program in listing 29.22, but the code does the complete opposite. So the chapter on caching states one thing, while the associated code on caching does something else. Very confusing. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated problem.
I really wanted to like this book. The author has a great reputation and is obviously very bright. I am just concerned that anyone who reads this book will come away with as much mis information as good information. The one positive is that the book has forced me to double check everything that seems to be wrong. So in that respect it has been a good teaching tool.
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