Expert One-on-One Visual Basic 2005 Design and Development Paperback – Feb 5 2007
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From the Back Cover
Are you ready to take your applications to the next level by harnessing all of Visual Basic 2005's unmatched tools for programming, debugging, and refactoring code? In this hands-on book, I'll share with you proven techniques for developing even the most complex Visual Basic applications. I include expert tips on modeling, user interface design, and testing so that you can master the advanced features of this language.
I'll first take you through the design activities that are necessary before Visual Basic development can begin. Next I'll describe the various writing tools that you'll be able to use to make programming easier and less error-prone. I then focus on various ways to make writing code more effective and cover sophisticated techniques for handling particular tasks. This approach will help you quickly develop and maintain your own amazingly powerful applications.
What you will learn from this book
- How to add scripting, reflection, and advanced printing to your applications
- Ways to write add-ins for the VB 2005 development environment
- How to build custom controls by using UserControl, subclassing, and by using from-scratch methods
- Tips for making development and maintenance of apps easier
- How to utilize advanced debugging and testing techniques
- How to use the new Visual Basic 2005 threading tools
Who this book is for
This book is for advanced Visual Basic programmers who already have experience with Visual Basic 2005 and are comfortable with the language.
Wrox Expert One-On-One books present the wisdom accumulated by an experienced author who is recognized as an expert by the programming community. These experts challenge professional developers to examine their current practices in pursuit of better results.
About the Author
Rod Stephens started out as a mathematician but, while studying at MIT, discovered the joys of programming, and has been programming professionally ever since. During his career, he has worked on an eclectic assortment of applications in such fields as telephone switching, billing, repair dispatching, tax processing, wastewater treatment, and training for professional football players.
Stephens has written 15 books that have been translated into half a dozen different languages, and more than 200 magazine articles covering Visual Basic, Visual Basic for Applications, Delphi, and Java. He writes three weekly newsletters (www.vb-helper.com/newsletter.html) that contain quick tips, tricks, and examples for Visual Basic developers.
His popular VB Helper Web site (www.vb-helper.com) receives several million hits per month, and contains thousands of pages of tips, tricks, and example code for Visual Basic programmers, as well as example code for this book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
In general terms it is ok.