Not too long ago I wrote a
"ASP.NET Distributed Data Applications"
from Wrox Press.
As I mentioned in that review, I don't particularly like doing
book reviews, but apparently I have a problem saying no
because when they asked me to do another one, before
I even though about it, I had whipped off a reply saying
"Sure... I'll do it". Well, just like last time, I've
put it off for a good long while, but I finally got sick of the
book taking up space on my desk and figured I might as well just
do it and get it over with. So... here goes...
Buy Other Books Too
I'm not sure what it is, but rarely do you see the
"This is the only book you'll need" approach anymore.
With ASP versions 2 and 3, almost every book published
was billed as the end all and be all of ASP books. I'm
not sure if the publishers are getting smarter, the
topics are getting more complex, or the audience is
demanding more detail (though I suspect it's a mix of
all three), but most of the books I see these days are
picking one small part of ASP.NET and are trying to cover
it well. This book is no different. In terms of an
introduction to ASP.NET, the book spends all of about
ten pages on it, before moving on to the topic at hand.
In general I think this is a very good thing. I wish more
books (and stores, people, etc.) did one thing and did it
well rather then trying to do everything and doing them all poorly.
That said, as I mentioned in my review of "ASP.NET Distributed Data Applications", if
you're buying this book and don't yet know much about ASP.NET
be sure to add at least one more book to that shopping cart
before you check out... you'll need it. This book covers
Web Forms and UI... everything else you'll need to find elsewhere.
Learn By Example
The thing I like most about this book is that it presents things
through a real world (well not quite) example. Instead of
just throwing code at you, the book walks you through the
different aspects of interface design by showing you how they
are implemented on the fictitious Wrox Car Company's web site.
This gives you a better sense of how each piece fits into the
overall puzzle of building an application and is quite effective.
Chapter 7 - Creating Graphs and Charts
In my opinion, one of the keys to a successful UI is the
judicious use of graphs and charts. Often a well designed
graphic can covey an idea quickly and easily instead of leaving
a visitor staring at a column of numbers trying to figure out
which ones are important.
Where better to include a chapter on this type of information
then it a book on web forms and UI. I feel it was an excellent
choice of topic to devote a chapter to and the coverage is
quite good. Even developers with no prior experience using
the .NET drawing classes should be able to follow easily and yet
the topic doesn't feel "dumbed-down" at all. Well done.
While many of the topics covered could probably be the focus
of their own book, the coverage is basically right on. It gives you
enough to be useful and practical without delving so far into the
minutia that we stop caring. The explanations are excellent as
was the choice to tie them into one example from start to finish.
It's not a reference book, but is instead a book you can pick up
and follow along with. When you've finished the book, you'll be
surprised not only at how much you've learned, but at how
little the learning process felt like school work.
My only real negative comment is on a point that really
shouldn't make a difference, but did bug me nonetheless...
the image used as a chapter separator is in extremely poor
taste. I don't know who came up with the idea or how it got
approved, but someone slipped up. I know I'm being petty, but
it's a stupid blemish on an otherwise excellent book.