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ASP.NET 2.0: A Developer's Notebook

Insights to help ASP.NET developers get up to speed

There are many ways to approach the presentation of a major upgrade to a software platform and how to address its various audiences. O'Reilly has decided that to get seasoned ASP.NET developers up to speed, it has added three new books to its Developer's Notebook series. The idea behind the series is to let existing developers "look over the super coder's shoulder" and capture this concept on paper. The notebooks are example-driven, aimed at developers, and enjoyable to work through. Each chapter is organized around a specific task with examples reinforcing these new ideas.

The book I'm reviewing is ASP.NET 2.0: A Developer's Notebook Book. It has eight chapters for 300+ pages. The examples are in VB.NET 2005 but it's pretty trivial to modify them for C# 2005. The author Wei Meng Lee says his goal is to build on current knowledge and "only cover new stuff." (Different books in the series cover language changes.) The book is based on the last preview but there's a Web site that tracks changes based on the final release: http://examples.oreilly.com/aspnetadn/ASP.NET2.0-ADN-Updates.doc.

The topics found in the book include: what's new, master pages and site navigation, Web parts, data access, security, performance, profiles, themes , skins, and localization.

Each section in each chapter follows the same approach. It introduces the concept and then in a section called "How do I do that?" provides a step by step discussion about how to implement the concept. Most topics also have a "What about?" section with questions that you might ask after reading the section. Finally there's a "Where can I learn more" section with URLs pointing to further discussions on the topic.

In general, this is a nice introduction to the new features available in ASP.NET 2005 but I have several minor gripes. First off the discussion regarding the gridview could really be beefed up. For instance, there's no discussion about how to use datakeys with the gridview. The figures are also out of sync with the text and in some cases you have to turn several pages to match the text with the graphic. This is quite annoying. The author mentions a neat client-side script that pops up a window after a certain amount of time but he doesn't show how to implement it.

The bottom line is that if you want to find out quickly what's new in ASP.NET 2005 then this is the book for you. But, you should be aware that once you get started you won't be satisfied. You will want to dig more deeply into these topics and the "Where do I go next" section can help.

Title: Best Kept Secrets in .NET
Author: Wei-Meng Lee
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates Inc
ISBN #: 0-59600-812-0
Price: US $24.95
Development Tool: Visual Studio.NET 2005
Level: Beginner through Intermediate
Language: VisualBasic.NET 2005/C# 2005

More Stories By Steven Mandel

Steven Mandel has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years designing databases using Microsoft Access and SQL Server. He has developed Web and Windows applications using VB.NET and has written numerous articles and reviews about ASP.NET and VB.NET.

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