Microsoft & .NET .NET Review: ASP.NET Developer's CookBook

Review: ASP.NET Developer’s CookBook

Sams Publishing (www.samspublishing.com) had brought out a series of programming books under

the banner of Teach Yourself in 21 Days, KickStart and Unleashed for all major languages.

Over the last two years, Sams had released an unlimited number of books in the area of .NET

particularly C# and ASP.NET. Their recent book titled “ASP.NET Developer’s

CookBook” is one of the most interesting titles in the field of server side programming

using .NET Framework. This book has been written by Steven A. Smith (founder of

ASPAlliance.com), Rob Howard (ASP.NET Program Manager at Microsoft) and over a dozen

ASPAlliance columnists in a so called ‘recipe‘ style. In order to read and

understand the recipes contained in this book, you should require a working knowledge of

ASP.NET. A good understanding of Visual Basic .NET with .NET Framework 1.0 will be a

definite plus. It is better to have a basic idea of ASP 3.0 but I feel that most of the

ASP.NET developer’s will have a good knowledge of its previous predecessor.

Unlike traditional computer books, the ASP.NET Developer’s Cookbook provides solutions

for solving real world problems. Every chapter is filled with lots of theory and codes.

Moreover, the concepts are explained in a user-friendly manner. Some of the chapters on the

book teach about interesting ideas such as how to retrieve pop3 emails from an ASP.NET page,

DataGrid sorting, and much more. While Part 1 and 2 covers about the fundamentals of ASP.NET

and issues like caching, sessions and security, part 3 fully touches about data access

except chapter 9 on Error handling. From my point of view, this chapter should be placed in

part 2 of the book. The book also gives an overview about the usage of XML in ASP.NET. The

chapter 13 on Rendering Data with ASP.NET Web Controls has been explained in an

elaborate manner. I think this will be the most useful chapter for all developers. The

authors have presented the part 4 in a comprehensive manner. The topics are covered in a

capsule form on chapter 16 (Working with Numbers, Dates and Times), chapter 17 (Working with

Files and Folders) and chapter 18 (Working with Collections). The one which I most liked is

that of validating credit card numbers in chapter 16. No other book has explained these

kinds of topics in such a nice tone. No doubt, readers can be able to easily understand the

manipulation of strings, date, time and much more complex tasks very quickly with the help

of this great book.

The remaining chapters cover advanced topics like web services, networking, reflection

and threading. Chapter 22 on generating and manipulating images is indeed a big bonus for

all readers. From my point of view, all levels of developers can use this book. It doesn’t

matters whether you are a beginner or an intermediate learner since the code samples are

given in a mixed fashion. If you are a newbie pick up the easy codes first like sending

e-mails from your ASP.NET page, performing validations etc else go deep into the book and

try to learn advanced concepts on database access and much more. I suggest you to scan the

Table of Contents and pick up the right recipe for your needs because it provides a real

glimpse of the whole book in a nutshell.

Even though all concepts have been presented well through out the whole book, there are

deficiencies and errors. I noticed unnecessary repetitions of sentences on the comments

section in chapter 21. This occurs till the end of the page 348. Instead of repeating the

sentences, it should be given commonly at the beginning of the chapter itself. I also came

through few other mistakes (typos) when I went deep into the pages of the book. In the

comments section of page 108 it is quoted as Customer error screen instead of Custom error

screen. In page 64, a reference to section 4.4 has been stated but there is no such

explanation on that specific section in page 68. The spelling of “outputCache” has been

incorrectly mentioned as “ouptuCache” in page 65. I hope the authors will pay attention to

rectify these minor defects in the next edition of this book.

Another notable limitation of this book is that there is no CD-ROM containing the code

samples and the same has been given only in Visual Basic .NET on the book. But the book’s

website provides the samples in C# version. I hope the next edition of this book comes with

code samples in J# too. I feel that the publisher should also give a CD along with these

kinds of code intensive books so that readers can quickly get the relevant code/codes for

use on their projects. The CD should also contain some useful tools and editors for working

with ASP.NET.

Except the five figures on pages 124-126, the book doesn’t include a single screenshot of

any examples. Moreover, chapter 7 on state management and chapter 19 on web services contain

only little recipes. Overall, this book is a must to be on the shelves of all ASP.NET

developers’ kitchen — both current and future.

Rating: **** (4)

Sample Chapters

Chapter 3:

http://www.aspalliance.com/cookbook/downloads/pdfs/0672325241_ch03.pdf

Chapter13:
http://www.aspalliance.com/cookbook/downloads/pdfs/0672325241_ch13.pdf

About the Book

 

Title: ASP.NET Developer’s CookBook
Authors: Steven A. Smith, Rob Howard and the ASP Alliance.
Publisher: Sams Publishing
Price: US $39.99
Pages: 427
ISBN: 0-672-32524-1

About the Reviewer

Anand Narayanaswamy, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, works as an independent

Web/Software developer and technical writer. He runs and maintains learnxpress.com, and

provides technical support to users. His areas of interest include Web development using

ASP, ASP.NET, Software development using Visual Basic and in the design and preparation of

courseware, technical articles, help files and tutorials. He can be reached at [email protected]

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