Pro ASP.NET 4 in VB 2010, Third Edition
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|If you understand the basics of programming already, understand the basics of web development and have a reasonable understanding of Visual Basic (what programmer can't understand basic?) then this book is for you. That is, if you want to learn ASP.NET.|
When I got this tome in the mail I felt overwhelmed. I've never read a programming book that was nearly 1700 pages long. There is a reason for the size, though, and it isn't just stuffed with a bunch of screenshots that are superfluous. Pro ASP.NET 4 in VB 2010 is a thorough book on the topic it covers. This is the third edition of this book and the polish shows. Although the book doesn't work perfectly as a tutorial for learning the subject it works as an excellent reference. The downside of the book is that it can start to feel like you're in a world that is too perfect.
I found the writing to be clear and easy to understand. The biggest struggle I had was taking in all of the new definitions that had to be learned to understand this massive world that Microsoft created called .NET. I am not a .NET programmer (although I programmed in VB for a couple of years in the late 90’s). The shortcoming, however, was my own and not that of the authors. If you are new to .NET and reading this book I recommend giving yourself some time, especially in the first section, to digest the definitions that are Microsoft’s. These dictate how to understand the core building blocks for the .NET world and the rest of the book.
The organization of the book is clear and well ordered. There are six major sections to the book. Each section makes sense with the content inside. One of the things I love is that it there is a whole section on security. So many web development books brush over the subject as many programmers do when building insecure web applications. Here you get information on the ASP.NET security model as well as just basic web security information such as cryptography and what is available in .NET to use it. As IIS is such an integral part of the .NET world I was glad to have the chapter that covers website deployment. It felt odd to have it not appear until 18 chapters into the book, but it definitely fit in with the flow of the book. I found myself scoffing at a whole chapter dedicated to Visual Studio 2010. I found later however that I was glad to have a chapter on Visual Studio. It is such an integral part of the .NET world that understanding how it is to be used helps you quite a bit and helps you complete the picture of what Microsoft intends for you as a developer.
I did hope when I initially started reading that there would be a common thread through the book of a sample application that one could build. It is a common practice among many books that helps hold your hand to learn by example. There are plenty of examples in the book and they are good examples but they live by themselves for the most part. It would be a great thing to have a sample corporate application, such as a management and reporting application to help see how the pieces fit together more clearly. I tend to prefer to have larger, complete examples that I can then tweak and mess around with so that I can break it to understand how it works and the pieces fit together. It builds confidence in my understanding of the material that the authors present to me.
In summary, this book has a great amount of information that’s presented well and will be useful as a reference. I just wished that it branched out a little more beyond the world of Microsoft. Kudos to the authors for the work that they surely put into making this such a fine book.
(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)