Author: Dino Esposito
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2008
Aimed at: .NET developers wanting to understand ASP.NET
Pros: Wide ranging
Cons: Not good for existing ASP.NET 2.0 developers
Reviewed by: Dave Wheeler
ASP.NET 3.5 is a monster subject, so it’s no surprise that this book is as long as it is. Esposito has written a wide-ranging tome that spans everything from how ASP.NET works to using Ajax and Silverlight, with an absolutely huge section on data (both accessing, binding and the presentation controls) in the middle. The book is specifically not targeted at new developers, but this left me feeling a little uneasy. Much of the material in ASP.NET 3.5 remains unchanged from ASP.NET 2.0, so existing ASP.NET developers are going to have to wade through huge amounts of book to find things that are new or exciting to them. In fact, I’d go so far as to NOT recommend this book to existing ASP.NET 2.0 developers. Also, if you’ve already seen the author’s “Introducing Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX” then you’ll find that you’ve already read the 130 pages or so of Ajax content in this new book: many sections have simply been inserted verbatim. Unfortunately, the final chapter on Silverlight was obviously written long before the new Beta 2 material was released, and is largely outdated and in many places incorrect, although you can only feel for an author who does so much work on the leading edge in order to make our lives easier.
The main problem for this book, though, is that there is a bigger, and I would have to say better, book on the market. Stephen Walther’s “ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed” simply covers a lot more ground. Esposito has already written a number of books relating to ASP and ASP.NET AJAX. Which leads me to believe that if the author had focused down on writing a much shorter book that contained just the new material (and I really do like his coverage of data access), he’d have written an absolute “must have” best seller. Unfortunately, he didn’t.
<Reviewed in VSJ>