Book Talk - Maximizing ASP.NET

A useful guide from developer and tool maker Jeff Putz comes along in time to help educate developers as they begin to encounter ASP.NET 2.0.

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ASP is not that old a technology. That's a good thing. There wasn't that much time to get too familiar with it before it began to give way to ASP.NET. But the shift from ASP to ASP.NET has been as loaded with difficulties as has the more widely publicized shift from VB6 to VB.NET.

The straits of ASP.NET can be navigated, as a host of trainers and developers will attest. But it calls for learning and unlearning, though not necessarily in that order.

A useful guide from developer and tool maker Jeff Putz comes along in time to help educate developers as they begin to encounter ASP.NET 2.0. Many developers and managers make it a rule to avoid software until it hits the '2.0' designator and ASP.NET has been no exception. Truly, Putz's "Maximizing ASP.NET: Real World, Object-Oriented Development" (Addison Wesley, Boston, 2005) comes to market at a propitious moment.

Before getting going in earnest, the book lays some groundwork. It provides an overview of object technology before getting into more ASP.NET-specific commentary. Code samples in VB.NET, as well as C# are offered for both ASP.NET 2.0 and 1.1. The virtually side-by-side views of C# and VB code are particularly illuminating.

Putz is clear on the fact that this is a real change. There was a wonderment in the mid- to late-'90s in scripting languages that allowed individuals to create dynamic Web sites without a lot of experience in development – be they PHP, ColdFusion or ASP varieties.

But programs of that ilk can have issues scaling, especially when, as sometimes happens, applications become tremendously popular. ASP.NET requires more than passing understanding of bogies like object inheritance and object methods that can accomplish more with less code.

Putz tries, like others before him to explain objects. "Side bar" boxes that offer author asides do not help clarify this murky topic. The treatment here can me a bit off-setting. Object inheritance Putz notes at one point, is like inheritance in genetics, where you may end up with blue eyes if ma had them. Maybe. It's too bad a single set of definitions hasn't stood up, as it (kind of) has in, say thermodynamics, to make objects a bit more like science, and a bit less like gumbo. You may walk away wiser after reading Putz's description of object technology, or, if you have read another book on the topic with another set of metaphors, you may just walk away confused.

The jump from scripting, which is unquestionably a 'real world' undertaking, to object-oriented ASP.NET development, which is a bit of rocket science still for most people, can be better made with something of a safety net. "Maximizing ASP.NET" is a valuable text for those looking to cushion the occasional fall, and ultimately jump to the newer technology paradigm. Concepts are key in moving from more ad-hoc scripting-oriented ASP to object-oriented ASP.NET. Putz's book mixes concepts and examples in good enough proportion to be useful.

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Maximizing ASP.NET - Addison-Wesley site

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