Author: Stephen Walther
Publisher: SAMS, 2008
Aimed at: .NET developers who want to understand ASP.NET
Pros: Wide ranging
Cons: Physically heavy!
Reviewed by: Dave Wheeler
My postman nearly died carrying ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed to my door. He thought it ironic that the monstrous weight in his hands was a book describing how to deliver content virtually over the Internet. Then he dropped it on my foot just to let me know how heavy it really was. At some 1900 pages (and hardback to boot), to say that this book is comprehensive would be an understatement. There’s a ton (literally) of great material in here, with coverage from the basics of how ASP.NET works on through data access and binding, including new LINQ material, and on to the inevitable ASP.NET Ajax content.
I really like the way that Walther is prepared to dive in and explain slightly more esoteric features, such as when you might want to use a VirtualPathProvider, or how to write templated custom controls. This makes a significant difference to the reader, helping them gain a much deeper understanding of how ASP.NET is architected, and thus enabling them to use these techniques to solve their own problems. However, coverage of these more esoteric subjects doesn’t come at the cost of readability or sound learning progression. This book is appropriate for developers who are new to ASP.NET, assuming that they already have skills in C# or VB. All the code in the book is in C#, with VB translations available on the CD.
Of course, if you’re an existing ASP.NET 2.0 developer, you’re going to find that much of this book is material that you already know. As with Esposito’s “Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5”, this makes the book hard to recommend to existing ASP.NET developers. But it would be a wonderful “at desk” reference. Clearly, this book is going to slug it out with Esposito’s, and I feel that if you want to have that one big reference book then Walther’s just edges it: simply put, it covers more ground and includes additional topics.
<Reveiwed in VSJ>