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June 8, 2005

"ASP.NET 2.0: A Developer's Notebook": Initiation by Code--A Hands-On Introduction to the New ASP.NET

Sebastopol, CA--Reviewers of the beta release of Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 have noted that the most striking changes to the toolkit are evident in ASP.NET, the product for building dynamically generated web applications. By designing the .NET Framework to handle more of the plumbing, Microsoft has given ASP.NET 2.0 several new ready-to-use controls, making life much easier for web developers by considerably reducing the amount of code they need to write.

"In fact, a stated aim of the Microsoft web development tools team is to reduce the amount of code needed to perform common web tasks by up to seventy percent," comments Wei-Meng Lee, a Microsoft .NET MVP who's written several books and articles about the platform. In his latest book, ASP.NET 2.0: A Developer's Notebook (O'Reilly US $29.95), Wei-Meng offers a first look at the new version of this web development tool ahead of its official release later this year.

"Microsoft is making major improvements based on feedback from customers and its own experience in developing and deploying web applications. There are now controls to perform data access, site navigation, login, and personalization," notes Wei-Meng. "Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 comes with a go-live license for developers wishing to deploy web sites written using ASP.NET 2.0, and with this book, they can get a jumpstart to developing cool web sites."

But, he's quick to point out, this book is neither a tutorial nor an introduction. Written specifically for web developers already familiar with ASP.NET 1.x, Wei-Meng jumps right into the new version. The look and feel of ASP.NET 2.0: A Developer's Notebook is just what the title implies: a notebook with text on graph paper that invites readers to jot comments as they go. Rather than long discussions, readers will find hands-on labs with Visual Basic 2005 code (easily convertible to C#) that allow them to try out the new features of ASP.NET 2.0.

"The labs are structured so that readers can learn the concepts very quickly by following the steps outlined," Wei-Meng explains. "Each chapter focuses on a particular set of new features, along with some neat improvements to the old ways of doing things." Some of the areas covered include:

  • Master pages, schemes, and skins for giving a site a consistent look and feel
  • Profile services for saving information about users between visits
  • New Web Parts Framework (WPF) for building web site portals
  • New security controls for rapidly creating registration, login, and password change pages, plus new Membership APIs for managing user access
  • New GridView and data source controls that greatly simplify the work of accessing and displaying data on site pages
  • In all, ASP.NET 2.0: A Developer's Notebook offers nearly fifty labs on new and revised features that can increase productivity, simplify programming tasks, and add functionality to web applications. Following each lab, Wei-Meng includes a section called "What about..." that addresses common questions about alternative approaches to the problem, and a "Where can I learn more?" section that points readers to magazine articles, online resources, Visual Studio 2005 Help entries, and other books.

    Additional Resources:

    ASP.NET 2.0: A Developer's Notebook
    Wei-Meng Lee
    ISBN: 0-596-00812-0, 326 pages, $29.95 US, $41.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000 http://www.oreilly.com

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