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Book review ? ?ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed, by Stephen Walther.
I am a member of the Inland Empire .DOT NET users group (a Microsoft .NET programmer?s user group based in Southern California) and have been a professional programmer / programmer analyst for about 22 years now. I was tasked with reviewing this book so I dug right in and started reading. I particularly was interested in this book because I have read at least 4 other books written by Stephen Walther, I consider his books to be among the best around. Now, this book has 1,890 pages in it, and it all deals with the topic of programming Microsoft ASP.NET websites, so I think it?s safe to say everybody interested in ASP.NET will learn something useful about the technology.
Note: all sample code printed in the book is written in C#, which reflects the current market shift (I believe) towards the C# language. Sample code is available on the download CD in both VB.NET and C# programming languages.
The book covers pretty much any ASP.NET topic you could ask for, server controls, viewstate, introduction to the .net framework, page event lifecycle, code behind pages, asp.net server controls, ado.net data access, multi tier development, viewstate, master pages and themes, cascading style sheets, caching, application and session state, security, site navigation, the objectdatasource and sqldatasource controls, validation etc..
The newer ASP.NET topics I was especially interested in include topics such as LINQ, LINQ to SQL, ASP.NET server side and client-side AJAX, the new ASP.NET security and membership provider features and the new ASP.NET listview and datapager controls.
One topic that I did not see covered very well was WCF (windows communication foundation), but WCF itself is a topic that could cover an entire volume itself, it?s not an easy topic to learn either.
The sample CD has a website called the ?Code Sample website?; I compiled the source code and created the code sample website, with virtually no problems. One interesting thing about the Code Sample website is the code samples can actually be executed within the context of a ?virtualpathprovider?. In other words, one could post sample code onto the website and the code would dynamically execute in real-time within the code sample website. I thought that was neat.
Overall, the author did an amazing job covering the vast topics in asp.net, his explanations are very understandable and he does a good job providing numerous examples of working source code to illustrate his points.
I highly recommend ANY Stephen Walther book; he is certainly one of the best authors that I have come across in my readings. The sheer usefulness of the content of this book makes this a very worthwhile investment for any programmer interested in using Microsoft ASP.NET to build dynamic websites.
Any programmer interested in SOA (service oriented architecture) however, would do better to buy a book for that specific topic (asmx web services) or wcf (windows communication foundation). As I stated, SOA in itself is a topic that could easily cover 700-800 pages by itself. One must realize though, that the target market for the asp.net 3.5 book is for those programmers who want a broad understanding of all the technologies involved in asp.net 3.5, this book is excellent for that. I truly believe this book has useful content from the beginner to the seasoned veteran programmer and is well worth any investment you would make in this book.
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