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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
What can you do with ASP.NET? As the authors of this book observe, it might be quicker to list what you can’t do.
Sure, you can build classic “dynamic pages,” customized to the needs of your individualized users, just like before. Except now it’s easier to keep track of information about a user as he or she moves around your site. And now it’s easier to store your information in a database, or in XML -- from whence it can leap tall buildings in a single bound. And now you can adjust your page’s layout right from within your friendly Microsoft IDE (e.g., Visual Studio .NET). And now you can orchestrate all the world’s web services. (Want to check the ZIP codes your users are entering? Easy. Insert the functionality exposed by the U.S. Postal Service’s -- or whoever’s -- ZIP verification tools).
You don’t even need to know old-fashioned ASP to do all this. Which is a blessing and a curse -- because if you’re migrating from ASP, you’ve got a fair amount of unlearning to do.
Whether you’re learning from scratch or migrating from ancient ASP, Beginning ASP.NET 1.0 with Visual Basic .NET will get you to your destination in a hurry. One of the first books that’s been written with and tested against the final release of ASP.NET, it covers everything from IIS and ASP.NET installation through security and application optimization.
You’ll begin by understanding the anatomy of an ASP.NET page, how ASP.NET differs from what’s come before, and how the differences will lead to better performance, easier maintenance, and more manageable development in team environments. You’ll review how VB.NET is used in ASP.NET development, and how to store information using VB.NET. Next, you’ll find a “just-detailed-enough” review of the XML basics every ASP.NET developer ought to understand.
The authors introduce VB.NET-based ASP.NET development first in the traditional context, explaining control structures, procedural programming, and event-driven programming, including ASP.NET’s handling of “postback” -- the data sent when a Web user submits a form.
Next, they move on to object-oriented development techniques, the role of objects in ASP.NET, and the relationship between objects and structured data. This leads smoothly into a two-chapter discussion of reading from and manipulating data sources.
By this point, you’ll have seen a number of ASP.NET’s server controls at work -- notably Button and Label. Now you’re ready to dive headfirst into server controls, starting with an understanding of why they’re so useful.
Server controls can perform the same kinds of tasks as conventional HTML controls, and they’re declared with tags just like HTML controls. But unlike HTML controls, they’re programmable objects. You can access them just like any .NET object or class. They’ll respond to events and get/set properties. And after they’re processed on the server, they’re rendered to standard HTML so your users will never know the difference.
The authors show exactly how to make server controls jump through hoops for you. You’ll learn how to use a variety of ASP.NET server controls on your web forms; how to use validation controls to validate user input without the hassle; and how to use the ASP.NET calendar control to incorporate a schedule events on your site. There’s also a quick introduction to ASP.NET’s data rendering controls, which give you immense control over how you display data, regardless of its source.
ASP.NET was designed to encourage code reuse; the authors show you how to transform ASP.NET reuse from promise to reality. They also present exceptionally detailed coverage of .NET assemblies and custom controls -- 100 pages' worth.
You’ll also find a full chapter on debugging and error handling -- yet another area where ASP.NET brings web development out of the dark ages. ASP.NET pages are compiled, and the process of debugging them isn’t much different than debugging any other software -- especially with the excellent tracing and debugging tools ASP.NET and Visual Studio .NET provide.
Whatever experience you bring to the table, Beginning ASP.NET 1.0 with Visual Basic .NET will help you leverage ASP.NET’s remarkable power, remarkably quickly. (Bill Camarda)
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.