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4.2 out of 5 stars
Beginning ASP.NET 4: In C# and Vb (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As of 2010 I have used ASP.Net professionally for 9 years. I am a programmer by trade and have used .Net 1.1,2 and 3.5

The usual problem with books on programming is that they are always either too basic or too advanced. Sometimes the problem is that they are too out of date or even too new, based on technologies which no-one uses yet. And sometimes it is because they assume or demand knowledge of other areas before what is being taught makes sense.

Programming in ASP.Net is one of those tasks that requires a reasonable amount of knowledge of a number of things before any headway can be made. An aspiring developer needs to know a smattering of HTML, some CSS, a little bit of Windows configuration, a bit of Visual Studio and either VB or C# syntax. Later on you'll need Java and probably SQL too.. That is a lot of things to learn at once and it can be daunting.

The excellent thing about this book is that the early chapters address this reality. Chapter one address the Visual Studio problem, chapter 2 is about basic HTML and Chapter 3 shows CSS. Too many books and programmers skip over these basics and dive straight into web forms and web services and trust me, you need these basics. I read these chapters with interest and after nearly 10 years of doing this professionally I learnt a couple of things, especially in the CSS primer.

Once the basics are under control, the book moves onto consistent page design (master pages), web forms, web controls and validation. These are all often seen as a bit basic but again they are important and being proficient in these will make the reader a useful programmer and team member. The last few chapters address databases, security and deployment. I like that the chapters on databases are further in. Often I connect to SQL server but a large number of web sites connect to something else.

Once the reader has finished and understood this book and with 3 or 4 months concerted effort I would suggest that they are in a very good position to develop simple web sites to a commercial standard. We are not talking developing Google here, but small company web sites or business to business portals.

Note that no CD is included with this book - Visual Web Developer is a free download from Microsoft so no software other than a Windows PC is required.

This book is well written, concise and covers the basics very well.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
While I agree with other reviews of this product that some of the information is quite basic, I do believe that this book will give you a huge head start in creating cutting-edge websites. And after all the title of the book contains the word 'Beginning' so I wouldn't expect it to be set at a level of an advanced seasoned professional.

Anyway, the beauty of ASP.Net 4 is that you have to do less coding than you did in earlier versions and you can create a lot of your website without hardly touching code at all (if you use the free Visual Web Developer software from Microsoft). What was a nice surprise was the inclusion of a jQuery (Javascript library) chapter.

I am a seasoned ASP.Net (VB) professional and you can take it from me that there is no better place to start learning .Net than this book. It's superbly and clearly written. The samples are easy to follow and much of the book is step-by-step. The book has been written by one of the top authors in the ASP.Net environment (I've also had blog posts answered by him too) and his authoring skills shine through in this book.

And at 800+ pages, it's great value for money. There's also an accompanying website for the book where you can download all the code samples from the book.

Highly recommended place to start. And yes, I believe with a bit of effort and time on your part, you could start creating cutting-edge applications using this book. It's a gentle but excellent introduction to ASP.Net 4.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Even complete beginners to web programming will find this book a doddle, as it helpfully supports the learner by explaining all key concepts, from basic HTML upwards, assuming nothing from the outset. That's not to say it scrimps on the meaty stuff - by the end of the book you'll be working with databases and covering more advanced topics like security, so will reward the patient learner with a solid, well-rounded set of skills for working with ASP.NET and ready to take it further.

It's well-written and not patronising, as some primers can be - and by the end you'll be confident in the core skills and know how you want to progress in the web programming world. Add to that the fact that Visual Web Developer - the key tool for working through the book's examples - is free, and you're on to a winner with this guide.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I rather like this book- finally one on my wavelength. It's nice as well that it has been written with the free version of Microsoft Visual Web Developer in mind - perfect for anyone starting out who doesn't want to commit resources until they are sure it's worth it.

I'm really sorry to see that there are some beginners that are completely flummoxed by this book. To use this book you have to
1. be willing to learn the ins and outs of the Microsoft Visual Studio interface.
2. be willing to learn a smattering of a programming language (or at least take a deep breath and let it wash over you). Very nicely you have C# and Visual Basic in parallel throughout the book (most books are C#, which is why I gave up on VB).
3. get to grips with cascading style sheets for web page layout.
4. Want to learn ASP.NET to produce more dynamic websites, and understand about why they are dynamic.

Now this is an awful lot for a beginner to take in at once. I've just bashed my head against walls 1-3 too often, so some of it is sinking in. The author tries to give you little introductions along the way to 1- 3. He's not completely easy to understand- you just need to let it wash over you and move on- the ASP in comparison is a doddle.

However the worked examples are a dream- you build up a "Planet Wrox" website bit by bit. On the way you shove extra workthroughs into a demo folder to keep your site clean. He helpfully tells you any omissions or errors you should check for if the delightful program fails on you. He's great! One warning-He does advise you to copy all the downloaded files into you main website- don't!- leave them on the desktop and copy bits over as needed, as otherwise everytime you build the site, it incorporates the whole lot, and finds some errors which it growls over. He also likes dragging and dropping components from the toolbox onto the design area. Unlike the rest of Vis Studio, ASP controls are very annoying to position and it's better to seek out the right div in the code to manually type in the control.

Just finished chapter 6 and had lots of "Wheee, it works, why was I so daunted before" moments. I thoroughly recommend this book!!!!

The other thing to know (says my guru) is that sometimes the code doesn't work just because Internet Information Server needs a kick up the backside (a reboot of the system!)- yesterday my menus didn't work and today they do! When in doubt- don't despair too hard!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2011
I'm a university student doing Computer Science and decided to work through this book during my summer break to bridge the gap between placement and final year. I'm writing my dissertation in ASP.NET 4.0 so felt that this would not only keep me sharp in ASP, but also teach me some new techniques at the same time.

I was not wrong. This book has suddenly gone from a door stop (of which it does a very good job..) to the most important book on my desk. It's writing style is excellent, it assumes no prior knowledge at all. Gives you links to external resources which can be used if you want to know more, and probably most importantly it predicts errors that the reader may come across, giving excellent instructions as to how to resolve them.

Admittedly it is a fairly long introduction to ASP.NET 4 and probably wont suit a lot of people, if you have the time, this is definately the book to purchase. I have read other, smaller books to teach other technical subjects such as C# and whilst they're quick and easy to read, they lack the depth and understanding this book has. I've never come across any errors as a direct result of using the examples from this book, they've all come from me mistyping a word on the page somewhere.

The subject matter is excellent and fluent, Imar really has thought through the topic properly and knows exactly where people want to go when learning ASP.NET.

Experienced or learner, this is the must have starting book every ASP.NET coder should have on their bookshelves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 March 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been reading programming books for over fifteen years now, and have found there is often an inverse ratio between the size of a book and the usefulness it imparts. Large books tend to fill up their pages with step by step instructions, while slimmer volumes tend to explain the principles.

Perhaps the above is a little unfair, but the benefit you will get out of this large book depends upon your learning style.

If you want to approach ASP.NET 4.0 without first leaning the principles behind many of the supporting technologies then this is probably a good place to start, as this book assumes virtually no prior knowledge. It has step-by-step instructions, and will get you to the destination it promises, with a friendly and engaging authorial style.

If you're interesting in learning web technologies generally, or don't wish to go directly down the path the book is leading, then you will probably be better off elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2010
Firstly I must admit that I do have a very good knowledge of both xHTML and CSS plus basic knowledge of many other programing languages.

I found this book a great introduction to asp.net. It explained how to crate a site, included code and explained how and what the programming was doing.

To make your own site all you need is to follow the template the writer provides and adapt it to your own needs. I would definitly recommend this book to anyone who wants to develope a website in asp.net. Of course it would be difficult with no previous programming experience, but then why are you reading this book? Go do a bit of HTML/CSS first, even if it is just W3C's excellent tutorials before picking this book up.

In short, great book, previous experience is NOT needed to follow the book as all the code is given to you, however if you want to be able to adapt the book for your own needs the you will need some experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2011
My main reason for rating this book 5 stars is the design and quality of the exercises. They are cumulative, building up a working site which has database functionality and uses the more important ASP.NET controls. As far as I can see the book is free of errors. I was unable to do the exercises in the last chapter (website deployment and IIS) because I was using 32-bit XP. Other than this, every exercise produced the expected results apart from the one on page 684 which was about debugging Javascript in Internet Explorer. IE went into a coma with every attempt. I think this was an environmental problem rather than any shortcoming in the book, as I could not get IE to work in debug with any kind of page, even a simple one with no Javascript. (No problems with Firefox but Javascript debugging requires IE).

Mr Spaanjaars has done everything he can to keep the reader on track, particularly in anticipating common errors and saying how these will manifest in the exercises. The accomanying source code on the Wrox site gives you the state of the test website (which you are building in the exercises) as it should be at the start of each chapter. This can be a lifesaver. I managed to corrupt my entity framework, tables, and a few other things, somewhere in chapter 14. All I had to do to get back on the straight and narrow was delete everything, reload the chapter 14 files, and redo the chapter 14 exercises to the point where things had gone awry.

The book is a little brief on Javascript. There are good explanations on details, like the format of JQuery statements, but I was struggling with the overall structure of the blocks of code. Javascript is as ugly as spiders. A chaos of curly braces, square brackets and semicolons. I am currently reading the Microsoft Press book on Javascript (by Steve Suehring). If I was doing this again I would have read the Javascript book first and the ASP.NET book second.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2010
I bought this book six months ago in order to write a website using the latest Microsoft technology for a customer. I've done a few small websites in the past using Frontpage: but didn't want to again as MicroSoft have superseded that and it is not easy to find an ISP that supports it.

From my perspective, ASP.Net 4 is vastly more complex than FrontPage - far more so than I need, being aimed more at corporate users than the one man band like myself. It is therefore burdened with complexities in the way in which the database is handled, and overlain with security of a Byzantine, paranoid nature: where it's virtually impossible to get access to one's own database. Lighten up Microsoft, I'm me, I don't need an administrator on my pc, thanks very much, or a database management account that you set up for me without telling me the password to access it!!!

That having been said ASP. Net 4 is free, and it is good that one can virtually forget programming - but it's not for the faint hearted, or the beginner. I started online programming back in 1979, long before the internet, so the concepts are familiar to me, though rusty. Even so, it's taken me a while to come up to speed (in my spare time, evenings/ weekends)

Now to the book. This book is awesome. I have done a deal of technical (and other) writing in my time, and I put this volume at the pinnacle, number one, the best technical manual I have ever seen in 30 (gawd help me) years. The concepts are explained and driven home by meticulous step by step exercises. The author also has sympathy for the student: giving along the way (I haven't dug out the exact words) encouragement and practical advice. Well done Imar Spaanjaars. It is ridiculously good value - 800 pages - and all the source code available online. He even answers emails!
Mr Spaanjaars deserves a knighthood, or perhaps a saintdom: not sure how the Dutch honours systems works. Thank you!
Alan Biggins
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a pretty good technical understanding of the Internet and how it works etc, but I lacked in understanding in the structure of web sites. So I took a short course in web development from a code level. This book then seemed to be the next natural step to take.

Whilst the book is aimed at the beginner it is clear that you do need some understanding even if it is just some basics. I managed to follow most of the text and I was able to flick back and forth when I needed a point of reference. I am glad I had some tuition beforehand as I fear I would have struggled in some places. However, the book is unassuming and does dumb some of the text down sufficiently for a beginner to get to grips with it, but don't expect to be developing feature rich web sites within a few chapters. As with any sort of computer science it takes time, understanding, creativity, patience and other text books! I have had this book for a few months and also have a few others in this same field. I use this as a starting point then the other more technical books as my understanding improves. Each chapter is a new topic area and so you do not necessarily have to follow it through page by page.

It is well written, has a good presentation, well laid out and has a good size font so you are not straining your eyes to read it. It has certainly given me a better knowledge and understanding. The price is very reasonable for a text book of this size and so represents good value for money. If you are looking to expand your basic knowledge or simply looking to test the water to see if this is something you could get into, then this will be an ideal starting point
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