Professional ASP.NET 2.0 Design: CSS, Themes, and Master Pages Paperback – Sep 11 2007
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From the Back Cover
With ASP.NET 2.0, .NET developers finally have the tools in their hands to effortlessly create aesthetically pleasing web application interface designs that can be easily carried forward to create a consistent look and feel to their site. In this book you'll see how to join these new ASP.NET tools with universal web standards like CSS, color, graphics, and accessibility in the planning of any of your web projects. This combination will provide you with unique skills in the art of making powerful ASP.NET pages look as amazing as the technology that drives them.
Before delving into the new Navigation Controls, Master Pages, and Themes, ASP.NET programmers get a thorough grounding in basic web design considerations, including colors and fonts, Photoshop basics, and the fundamentals of CSS standards. With these tools in hand, ASP.NET developers can expand their programming horizons to make ASP.NET sites that are not only well-designed but attractive and easy-to-use.
What you will learn from this book
- How adding visual and interface design skills to your data access and business logic skills makes you a well-rounded and valuable developer
How properly structured navigation controls can not only allow for the globalization of your site but can increase the security of your pages through integration with the ASP.NET Membership API
How Master pages can be used to template the look and feel of your site and how other pages can then inherit them
How to make ASP.NET controls render accessible CSS code rather than tables
How to create a new theme for only mobile devices using new graphics, CSS rules, and master pages
A preview of Microsoft's newest web developer technologies, including SilverLight and Visual Studio 2008
Who this book is for
ASP.NET developers who want to learn about using ASP.NET for web interface design. Examples are written in C# but should be easily understandable for experienced VB developers as well.
Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.
About the Author
Jacob J. Sanford is currently a Project Lead with the Rapid Application Development Team at the Florida Department of Children & Families. He began developing web applications more than 10 years ago using primarily classic ASP with various relational databases. Over the years he has dabbled in other web application development languages such as ColdFusion and PHP. However, he has been working almost exclusively with the .NET Framework since its 1.0 release. He is a regular contributor to 2MinuteTips.com and makes frequent presentations at local and regional .NET events. Having worked in all aspects of the SDLC, he has been focusing his recent efforts primarily on accessible web design (especially as it pertains to .NET applications). He also spends an inordinate amount of time "playing" with the latest (alpha and beta) web technologies, especially Microsoft Silverlight. He is married and as of writing this book has one son, but by the time you read it, he will have two. (Welcome to the world, Hayden.)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. Spends a bit of time on superfluous issues. For some of you, this might be a godsend, however, as development is often more than just coding these days.
2. Some fairly long code samples that fluff up the book without adding a huge amount. One illustration of CSS versus tables would be sufficient.
3. Not a lot of highlighting in code to point you to the points that have changed.
4. Some of the explanations are thin for those without a lot of experience in this particular topic.
Now that I got that out of the way, let's look at why this book should be a welcome addition to your shelf.
Reason 1 is it is the only book that focuses on this particular topic. Reason 2 is this topic is extremely important, although more often overlooked.
If you have an ugly, unusable personal site, it is not a big deal, as your mom will still visit. But, with business, it can be devastating. And, now, with accessibility lawsuits, it can be costly, as well.
Let's start from the beginning (a very good place to start, I hear).
The first few chapters are a bit of overview and express the importance of things like CSS, accessibility and good web design. None of these will make you an expert, but they will likely push those of you still in table design over to the dark side (CSS). The arguments for accessibility, including information about recent legal actions against websites, may be the kicker. Chapter 3 also focuses on using PhotoShop for designing a nice looking site. Some of the techniques will not apply to other image manipulation tools, but the basic ideas are useful for all.
Chapters 4 and 5 focus on CSS. In particular, chapter 4 talks about setting up a site that appears "tabled" in CSS and chapter 5 gives you a great overview, and some practical advise, about the CSS Friendly ASP.NET controls.
Chapter 6 talks about navigation and gives great practial advise on the web.sitemap file. This chapter was a godsend to me, as it finally gave me an epiphany on why roles were not working. This was actually a portion that fit #4 on my bad list, but sometimes seeing an example is enough to clue you in. :-)
Chapter 7 is focused on master pages. One of the biggest aids here will be the bits on design. The pages on passing information from master to child is also very useful.
Chapters 8 and 9 focus on themes. If you have a site that can be "skinned" different ways (by user or "site"), these chapters may well be worth the price of admission.
Finally, chapter 10. This is one of the best chapters in the book, as it brings all of what you have learned together. It shows how to use a single code base to work with a wide variety of browser targets, including mobile devices. And, unlike many books, it does it in a very practical, real world way.
There are also bonus appendices on Orcas (Visual Studio 2008) and Silverlight.
Summary: Overall, this is an average book. As the only book on the topic, however, it gets a slightly higher nod. As this is a topic I have tried to drill into people's heads (i.e., building a site is as much about user experience as making things work), I would like to see as many people pick up this book as possible. Someone might come out with a better one at some time, but learning this material is a wise thing.
It saves alot of time finding the information and good examples / best practices on the internet. After reading this you'll be able to create better CSS based designs in your aspx pages
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