ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed

Product Description
ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed is the most comprehensive book available on the Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5 Framework, covering all aspects of the ASP.NET 3.5 Framework–no matter how advanced.   This edition covers all the new features of ASP.NET 3.5. It explains Microsoft LINQ to SQL in detail. It includes a chapter on the two new data access controls introduced with the ASP.NET 3.5 Framework: ListView and DataPager. With its coverage of ASP.NET AJAX, this book shows yo… More >>

ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed

5 thoughts on “ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed”

  1. This is a VERY good book for learning ASP.NET 3.5 from A to Z. It covers just about every ASP.NET topic you will touch in your career. This book is a LIBRARY of information on a wide variety of topics. The chapters on custom controls were much easier to read and more in depth than any book on the market. The chapters on ASP.NET AJAX were also very well written and were presented in a very systematic fashion.

    Having been working as a senior-level developer and architect for ASP.NET system for many years now, I can tell you that this book will take you very far. If you’re a seasoned ASP.NET developer, but aren’t familiar with some of ASP.NET’s lesser-known features (custom controls, custom configuration sections) or need to learn the various new features of .NET 3.5 like LINQ and the now native ASP.NET AJAX, this book is one you should definitely look at.

    Also note that the author is not only an MVP, but he is a Microsoft Software Legend, the highest possible rank of a soldier in Microsoft’s public army. He is a General; you can trust his work.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. At first blush, it may seem strange for me to review a “competing” ASP.NET 3.5 book. However, Stephen Walther’s ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed doesn’t target the same audience as ASP.NET 3.5 For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)). Mine is unabashedly a beginner’s book. ASP.NET Unleashed is for intermediate to advanced programmers and definitely hits that mark.

    At over 1800 pages, this is definitely not “light” reading. It is, however, packed with most everything a professional ASP.NET developer needs to know to work in ASP.NET 3.5.

    I was interested in Walther’s assertion at the opening of Chapter 31 (Using Server-Side ASP.NET AJAX) that the future is AJAX:

    “Microsoft ASP.NET is a dying technology. It received its death blow on February 18, 2005 when Jess James Garrett published his article ‘Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications.’ All that is left is the long, slow goodbye.”

    The author encourages readers to “leave the safety of the server side and enter the wilds of the client side.” To that end, Walther does an excellent job of explaining the use of the UpdatePanel, Timer, and UpdateProgress controls that are built into ASP.NET 3.5.

    The subsequent chapter, Using the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit, gives a solid overview of the toolkit’s suite. It then shows how to use the AutoComplete, DragPanel, FilteredTextBox, MaskedEdit, Animation, and UpdatePanelAnimation controls. As always, there are many code listings (in C# in this edition). Chapter 33 digs even deeper into AJAX to program client-side applications against the Microsoft AJAX Library. If you’re ramping up to build on the client, the book’s AJAX content is very valuable.

    The book is also solid on LINQ, the popular addition to ASP.NET 3.5. Chapter 18 goes through the concepts of LINQ to SQL entities, automatic properties, initializers, type inference, anonymous types, and lambda expressions. You learn how to perform standard database commands using LINQ to SQL and debug your queries.

    This is a programmer’s book, for sure. Where my book caters to beginners by using the IDE’s graphical tools, Walther writes and explains lots of code. Don’t look for numbered steps telling you where to click in Visual Studio 2008. The book focuses more on ASP.NET code than how to get the IDE to write it. This makes sense for the intermediate and advanced audience. Interesting to note, however that ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed uses the single .aspx page model very effectively that I recommend for beginners. The book includes a CD with tons of valuable samples in C# and VB.

    I have only two minor issues with this book: Firstly, the screenshots take up an excessive amount of space on the pages for very little value. For example, at page 448, Figure 10.6 takes up half a page to display a list control, a label, and a button scrunched into the top left corner of a browser page. I wish Sams would revise its template standard to do away with full page screenshots and focus on what’s important. Secondly, the book is too heavy to rest comfortably on my stomach for bedtime reading. Buy a tray for increased comfort!

    In summary, if you’re an ASP.NET beginner, start with my book and graduate to ASP.NET Unleashed as you expand your confidence and capabilities. If you’re already working comfortably in .NET, you only need this book and the MSDN reference documentation. Buy it.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. At 1890 pages this book has just about everything you need to know to start building complex ASP.NET applications. While the book assumes that you have some familiarity with using ASP.NET the first few chapters are still devoted to the basics. I encourage everyone to read them, even the experts. There are many tips and tricks in the book so you may learn something new or pick up on something you’d long forgotten. Did you know the asp:Literal control has a build in Mode property that can be set to HTML encode it’s content? I’d honestly forgotten about that and had been doing my encoding on the back-end.

    This book provides an in-depth look at just about all of the core ASP.NET features building on many of the techniques we used in 2.0. For the new features specific to ASP.NET 3.5 , Walther devotes an entire chapter to the new ListView and DataPager controls. These controls can be thought of as a GridView or Repeater on steroids. There’s also a chapter on data access with LINQ to SQL and a 3-chapter section devoted to working with AJAX.NET and the AJAX Control Toolkit.

    There are many books out there that focus on the “how” but what I like most about Mr. Walther’s books is that he devotes a great deal of time to the “why”. For example, the book explains how to use the SqlDataSource control but then also explains why you’ll want to avoid it for most complex applications and use the ObjectDatasourceControl instead. With this book you’ll not only learn how to get things done, you’ll learn how to get things done right. For that reason it’s an invaluable resource for your library. Every ASP.NET developer should have this book on his/her shelf.

    Note: While the code samples in the previous 1.1 and 2.0 Unleashed books were written in VB.NET, this new 3.5 book has them written in C#. Walther cites the fact that there are now more C# developers than there are VB.NET developers as the reason for the switch. I would’ve liked to have seen two different versions of the book but all code samples are also provided in VB on the included CD-ROM so everyone can easily follow along.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Stephen Walther is of a rare breed of authors that can churn out a 1,900-page book and actually give you immense value on each of those pages…unlike most that might give you about 10% value, 90% rambling.

    Walther does an especially good job explaining the new built-in ASP.NET AJAX functionality, how to mimic the ASP.NET AJAX architecture in your own JavaScript, and how to integrate the two to better extend the existing AJAX functionality.

    A couple other interesting points were the rundown of the ASP.NET AJAX control toolkit and his blurb about Visual Studio 2008 support for IntelliSense for JavaScript via XML commenting. Very useful.

    The one topic that I was surprised not to see was mobile ASP.NET development, especially since .NET has so much built-in support for it. The only book I’ve seen yet with mobile ASP.NET covered was an ASP.NET 2.0 title by Dino Esposito: Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 Applications: Advanced Topics…but the mobile coverage is just cursory and not nearly as useful as the MSDN site.

    Overall, though, this book is a definite must-read and must-have for any ASP.NET developer. I’m now getting rid of my five other ASP.NET books…they’ve all been rendered obsolete by this title.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Out of all the ASP.NET textbook that I’ve already had, this one is the best. ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed by Walther has everything that one needs to know you about this great Server-side technology. It covers not only all of ASP.NET 2.0, but also, all of the new features such ASP.NET AJAX, LINQ TO SQL, ListView, DataPager etc… Finally, I would like to say that I did not regret buying this book.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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