Microsoft & .NET.NETBook Review: ASP.NET For Dummies

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While ASP.NET for Dummies is “for Dummies,” you should already be familiar with programming concepts. As with most Active Server Pages-related books, ASP.NET for Dummies uses Visual Basic .NET as its choice of programming languages. If you don’t know Visual Basic .NET, don’t fret. The book spends several chapters teaching the basics of what you need to know in order to program for ASP.NET. If you have never programmed before, you will most likely find that this moves too fast. However, if you know a scripting language such as JavaScript or VBScript you should have no trouble keeping up with the coverage of Visual Basic .NET in this book.

In its 420 printed pages, ASP.NET for Dummies covers the key topics to get you up and running with ASP.NET. You learn the basics of obtaining and displaying information on your sites. You learn how to use built-in functions such as date routines, math routines, and browser routines. You even learn how to work with data and databases on the server. This includes coverage of Active Data Objects (ADO) — a key way of doing database access. Building ASP.NET Web forms is covered in detail along with using server side controls ranging from radio buttons to drop down lists. Programming topics such as arrays, array lists, and hash tables are also explained as well as shown in examples.

It is worth pointing out that this book doesn’t stop at just covering the creation of ASP.NET pages, but it also covers creating full-fledge ASP.NET applications. The book presents a couple of ASP.NET applications that are larger and more practical than standard book examples. Within the text of the book a chat room and a classified application are both included. On the CD there is also a guest book application. Code for all three applications is on the CD.

The CD with this book is worth noting. Most ASP.NET books don’t include a CD, let alone a CD with lots of useful stuff. This CD has five bonus chapters containing over a hundred additional pages. It also contains the author’s source code so you don’t have to hunt it down on the Web. A number of third party software products are also included. Some of these you may not find useful. Others such as the editors you may find extremely valuable.

Will ASP.NET for Dummies make you an expert ASP.NET developer? The answer is no, it won’t make you an expert, however, no beginning level ASP.NET book will. What ASP.NET for Dummies will do is get you up and running with the foundational topics necessary for creating real-world ASP.NET pages. Once you are done with this book, you’ll be able to create a wide variety of ASP.NET pages. If you are going to create professional-level pages, you will want to follow this book up with an intermediate advanced book.

In summary, if you have a little programming background, then you should be ready for ASP.NET. If you want a book that teaches you the basics of implementing ASP.NET in a relatively straightforward manner, then ASP.NET for Dummies accomplishes the task. With a price of only $24.99 including a CD containing valuable content, I have to give this book five stars. It is definitely worth the cost. In fact, I would say this book is under-priced at $24.99–which seems unusual for a computer book these days! If you can get a copy of this book at a discount, then this book is a steal!

One final note, a number of excellent ASP sites are not mentioned in the book. This includes,, and more.

ASP.NET for Dummies
420 pages
Author: Bill Hatfield
Price: $24.99
Publisher: HungryMinds

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