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Visual Basic 2012 Programmer's Reference Paperback – Aug 21 2012
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From the Back Cover
Learn to write code that leverages the latest features of Visual Basic 2012
Visual Basic 2012 is packed with powerful features and this book will help you master them all. You'll gain a solid understanding of essential Visual Basic topics and begin applying the information to perform a host of important development tasks. The tutorials inside are filled with code examples and the best methods for using them to write your own programs. Soon you'll be building sophisticated applications as you learn to get the most out of forms, windows, controls, and other objects that help make Visual Basic such a popular programming language.
Visual Basic 2012 Programmer's Reference:
- Explores the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) from a developer's point of view
- Covers the objects a program uses to build a user interface and implement the program's functionality
- Shows how to perform specific tasks and why one approach might be better than another
- Discusses the fundamental concepts of object-oriented programming
- Uncovers how an application can interact with its environment, including loading data in external sources
- Offers a quick review of the syntax for particular commands
Wrox Programmer's References are designed to give the experienced developer straight facts on a new technology, without hype or unnecessary explanations. They deliver hard information with plenty of practical examples.
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About the Author
Rod Stephens is a VB programming guru and the author of more than two dozen programming books, including Stephens' Visual Basic Programming 24-Hour Trainer. He also writes frequently for such magazines as Visual Basic Developer, Visual Basic Programmer's Journal, and Dr. Dobb's Journal. Rod's VB Helper website (vb-helper.com) provides thousands of pages of tips, tricks, and code examples for VB programmers.
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When I read this book, what I think about is my current generation of individuals. Those of us that grew up without the use of the Internet to quickly type in a few keywords and find a plethora of information based on our keywords. We are the generation that learned to rely on the Index at the back of the book for pointing us to the page where we could hopefully find our answers. Today's "younger" generation doesn't understand that. They have grown up in a world that is full of technology and, in particular, the Internet which as I just described can give them a plethora of information regarding any subject.
When I think about what Rod Stephens has done with this book is, he has taken all of the plethora of information and intertwined it with his own experience and expertise to give us a book that is truly a Programmer's Reference book. One that we can pull down off the shelf, look in the Index or Table of Contents, to find just exactly the information we need to know instead of having to sift through all the various links and pages and information available on the Internet.
When you open the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, and you look up the word "Reference," the first definition stated is, "the act of referring or consulting." That is what Rod Stephens has done in writing this book. He has become a personal consultant for your understanding the many aspects to the Visual Basic Programming Language developed by the Microsoft Corporation. The way the book is written, it is as if Rod Stephens is sitting right next to you coaching you on exactly what you need to know in order to become the best Visual Basic developer you can be. There is no standard "fluff-n-stuff" in Rod Stephens book that you often find in those 24-Hour or "Introduction" books. Rod Stephens gives the information to you in a straight-forward, right between the eyes, here it is type of approach. There is no "Sugar Coating." It is as if you are sitting there at your desk with Rod Stephens by your side and you ask him a question and he just gives you the straight up answer right then and there. No fluff, just the right stuff.
Rod Stephens begins the book by describing in very easy to understand language what the IDE is and how it works. The first several chapters of the book cover what I would call the "Basics" of Visual Basic programming and then ramps up at a very steady, even pace into the more advanced topics. Rod Stephens definitely knows how to write a book that can cover all levels of experience with Visual Basic programming. Not an easy task I must say, having taught the subject at the college level and having to work with those who had never even opened an IDE window to those who had advanced knowledge of other programming languages and were wanting to switch.
Those who have experience working with the Visual Basic Programming Language previously will probably look at the first several chapters of this book and scoff thinking there is nothing new in the pages that can help them because they have all that previous experience. Let me tell you, Rod Stephens had you in mind when he wrote this book. Throughout the entire book there are what I call "Tips & Tricks" that appear in a gray colored box. This is where Rod Stephen's years of experience will trump your particular experience. I can guarantee that you will pick up tidbits of information that you either have forgotten or never knew in the first place. The same is true of the regular text of the book as well.
There is just so much information that is contained within the pages of this book that you will find yourself reaching for it time and time again asking Rod Stephens to be your consultant on any Visual Basic 2012 project you might be starting or working on.
The question every person has when looking for a book to purchase is, "Will I learn anything from reading this book?" I believe the question has already been answered in this review with a resounding, "YES!!!" no matter what your skill level within the Visual Basic Programming world. Will this book need to be read from cover to cover in order to learn what you need? It all depends on your skill level and your experience. If you have any experience at all, then no. Use the book as it was intended, a quick reference guide. If you do not have any experience, then yes, I suggest you start with the first chapter and be sitting at your desk with the Visual Basic IDE open on your desktop or laptop computer so you can follow along. In no time at all, Rod Stephens will have you designing and coding your first Windows Form application, which in my opinion is still very much used within Corporate America to this day. Even in the day of having the Internet and Web-Based software applications, Windows Forms has never really been completely dismissed, although I believe Microsoft would disagree and like to see you move on. What you learn by developing Windows Forms applications can be used to eventually do that sort of work, but everyone has to start somewhere, including starting a new project from scratch. Make sure you have Rod Stephens Visual Basic 2012 Programmer's Reference on your desk or within arm's reach. You're gonna need it!
This book mainly focuses on Windows form development. The author really hit home with things like form controls and how to make better use of the controls placed on a page. The book also has several chapters on WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), which is used to run on the local machine as Windows forms do. The author's vision to provide the reader with sound programming concepts was well documented. The author was very careful not to take the book far out of scope. The author stated the mission of the book was to cover as much as possible but in no way was it possible to present everything.
To me, this book did not cover the technology mostly used today, which is ASP.Net. ASP.Net/ MVC are in high demand and this book had no mention of ASP.Net at all. This book's usefulness became apparently dim. Initially, the author advised that all programmers should read this book. After the first several chapters, I got bored. While going through all the chapters on menus, toolbars and windows, I noticed a great insight of that of the author. The author conveyed that the WCF editor was really weak, meaning the editor's IntelliSence had some issues. The author provides great tips throughout the book, which gives the reader empowerment.
This book had a great section of OOP concepts. The basic OOP concept covers encapsulation and polymorphism. After reading this section I felt well informed about how encapsulation worked and the idea of hiding all objects inside the class object. The chapters on inheritance and Interfaces were well written with several code examples like: Public Class Person and Public Class Employee Inherits Person.
The author provided many useful examples like the above throughout this book. I especially enjoyed the reference material at the end of the book. There were things like formatting numbers, name spaces, LinQ and many other concepts, tricks, etc.
Overall, I think this book is for a beginner and maybe an intermediate programmer. There is a lot of simple how to-do something. There is nothing to challenge a seasoned programmer. For me, the fact that ASP.Net was left out of this book, caused my interest in reading it to go down.
I gave the book 3 stars because I felt like something was left out.
In my own programming journey, I picked up C# a few years ago for a consulting project, and have found that most .Net bloggers and authors seem to favor C#, although some try to give equal time to Visual Basic. I think that's partly due to the extra syntax elements (semi-colons, curly braces) in C#, which give it more of the look and feel of non-Microsoft languages like Java. On the other hand, Microsoft has made the languages pretty comparable in their 2012 implementations; Rod Stephens book provides a comprehensive reference for desktop developers who choose to use VB or who come to work on projects which have a substantial base of VB code already in place.
This book provides excellent streamlined instruction in addition to syntax, tables, and code. You don't have to create some huge project to see how a single feature of VB works. There are short code snippets throughout the book that provide clear examples with the minimum of code and simple explanations.
Even though this is not necessarily a beginning to intermediate VB book like the author's "24 Hour Trainer", the first six chapters provide a brief but thorough explanation of how to get started with Visual Basic. This would be a great supplement for any VB textbook or beginning programming book because it is so straight forward and easy to understand.
The inclusion of some of VB's less used features such anonymous types, generics, and lambda expressions are well covered in this book as well as the usual database, error handling, and object-oriented programming (OOP) subjects. All are defined, explained, and illustrated with code. The accompanying code samples are complete and easy to follow. The database chapter alone has 14 programs that can be run to reinforce the content in the book. The program samples I've run so far were written in Visual Basic 2012 using the .NET Framework 4.5 making them fully compatible with the default installation of VS 2012.
There are 30 chapters and 22 appendices of clear, direct, no-nonsense instruction and examples. All of the code for the book can be downloaded from Wrox, the publisher, who also provides a forum for questions and discussion.
Even in Kindle format I'm getting good value from this book and the explanations are far above the average for a programming book. If you have a serious use for a VB 2012 book, this book will probably be of good use for you.