July 2, 2002
ASP.NET Takes Web Development a Quantum Leap Ahead: Full Details in O'Reilly's New "ASP.NET in a Nutshell"
Sebastopol, CA--It may amuse some that Microsoft's Active Server Pages
technology is now referred to as "classic ASP," given that this tool
for creating dynamic, data-driven web pages is still the current choice
of nearly two million web developers worldwide. But with the advent of
ASP.NET, classic ASP will soon be considered antique. Methodically
detailed in "ASP.NET in a Nutshell" (Duthie & MacDonald, O'Reilly, US
$39.95), the new technology may have a lot in common with its
predecessor, but ASP.NET is not an upgrade of the old. It's a quantum
leap ahead. By taking advantage of the .NET Framework and Microsoft's
new object-oriented languages, ASP.NET brings the same productivity to
web applications that Visual Basic brought to Windows applications. The
technology also gives developers entry into the exotic world of
XML-based web services.
"ASP 3.0 was a strange compromise," says coauthor Matthew MacDonald.
"It worked, but it was a far cry from elegant. ASP.NET is a remarkable
shift: a new language and web application framework in one shot. I love
ASP.NET, and wanted to be involved in creating a definitive work for
the new platform."
As is the case with other titles in O'Reilly's "Nutshell" series,
"ASP.NET in a Nutshell" is a technical reference for serious users to
consult when working through everyday development tasks. MacDonald and
coauthor G. Andrew Duthie emphasize that the book is for developers
with classic ASP experience, or, lacking that, with at least some
exposure to the .NET platform. Complete with a concise tutorial, two
detailed reference sections and plenty of sample code, this 800-page
volume goes beyond ASP.NET's published documentation by highlighting
little-known details and using real-world examples to show how new
features can be used in a working application.
"This reference is definitely more ambitious and larger in scope than
any similar book," MacDonald says. "Developers can get up to speed
quickly with the essentials, and then have a concentrated reference to
refer back to."
As the book points out, the transition from ASP to ASP.NET is a real
eye-opener. Classic ASP offers just one type of application, in which
the web server uses script programming to generate a page with HTML
code and then sends it to the client requesting it. ASP.NET provides an
enhanced version of this application with Web Forms, a feature with the
same rapid drag and drop convenience enjoyed by Visual Basic developers
for years. ASP.NET also offers tools for developing web services, which
promise to fulfill the long-anticipated dream of sharing data across
applications and operating systems.
"ASP.NET in a Nutshell" carefully guides developers through this maze
of new features (custom controls, data access, improved security,
application deployment, and error handling among them) and offers
information on migrating ASP applications to ASP.NET. MacDonald
believes the book will be of particular interest to enterprise
developers. "Judging from Microsoft's case studies, they believe
ASP.NET is the best technology they have to offer for creating a
distributed application," he notes. Beginning with an overview of the
.NET Framework and the changes this platform brings--such as
object-oriented programming and two new languages, Visual Basic .NET
and C#--"ASP.NET in a Nutshell" distills this large and comparatively
complicated subject into three main sections:
- A fast-paced Introduction that examines Web Form applications and web
services that work with Internet Information Server.
- A detailed Intrinsic Class Reference that covers the major classes
that are available as part of the ASP.NET object model.
- A Quick Reference to the types found in web-related namespaces of the
.NET Framework Class Library.
"We didn't rush the book out before the release of ASP.NET, so all the
code has been tested and validated with ASP.NET version 1," Duthie
notes. "Working on this book presented a great opportunity to capture
the essence of this new technology and turn it into something useful
for learning the concepts of ASP.NET. Readers will have a book that
they can refer to, time after time, for day-to-day programming tasks."
Chapter 6, User Controls and Custom Server Controls, is available
For more information about the book, including Table of Contents,
index, author bios, and samples,
For a cover graphic in jpeg format, go to:
ASP.NET in a Nutshell
By G. Andrew Duthie & Matthew MacDonald
ISBN 0-596-00116-9, 808 pages, $39.95 (US) $61.95 (CAN)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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