Customer Reviews: Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 (Programmer to Programmer)
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on December 6, 2005
With the 2.0 release it seems that ASP.NET has become ready for prime time. I found the earlier versions so verbose and so demanding that everything be done exactly right that I decided to wait for the next release and it's here. The addition of Visual Web Developer (part of Visual Studio 2005) has rounded out the picture. The use of an IDE like this gives a lot of assistance in speeding up the writing of code. It's a lot better than just using something like Notepad.

This book was written with an intent to appeal to people who want to program web applications that can store/display data into/from a database. It will help if you have at least some concept of basic web design with HTML.

This book is in tutorial form. It creates a web site for Wrox United (a mythical football team -- if it's mythical I wonder why not Quiddich). The book claims that you can go see the site at [...] but when I went there the domain name was parked waiting for data. The book takes a tutiorial approach to getting the site up (Maybe they're still working through the tutorial.).

You're going to spend a lot of time learning ASP.NET, I'd recommend you also getting the Wrox book Professional ASP.NET 2.0 in addition to this one. The two books have an entirely different set of authors, and even when they are talking about the same subject, they use different words. Sometimes just reading different words helps you to understand better. The Professional book is more complete and is in reference format.
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on July 16, 2006
I'm an experienced web developer but this is my first book on ASP.NET. I'm nearly finished with the book but I don't feel like I learned too much.

I can see that teaching .NET is different than other code-centric languages like Java where you'd start with a "Hello, World" app then move on from there. So, I appreciate that writing a good .NET book is probably harder than usual.

But, this book just doesn't work very well. First and foremost, it's rife with errors. Not just grammatical errors, but incorrect code, screenshots not matching the referring text, and others.

Also, the authors did not cover what I would consider the basics before moving to more advanced topics. There's no in-depth explanation of what code-behind is and how it works. Only a couple of the controls are taught, such as GridView. I guess it's up to the reader to figure out the rest.

Lastly, code is not taught at all. When the authors used code they explained what it did, but only so you understand the examples. There was no comprehensive effort to teach even the basics of coding.
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on September 20, 2006
As a an ASP developer and an IT Professional, I wanted to get up to speed on ASP .NET 2.0, so I picked up a copy of this book.

I would not recommend it to others, as it is not very well written.

Also, the examples are very GUI-oriented without deviating too much from Wizards and such. If you're more interested in being able to write ASP .NET 2.0 code by hand, and fully understanding how it all works this book is not very helpful.

I also picked up a copy of Professional Asp.Net 2.0 (also from WROX) which, although more advanced, is easier to read and understand.

This book (beginning ASP .NET) is only useful if you want a quick tour of what ASP .NET 2.0 Can do, and not even a full tour at that.
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on February 13, 2006
Although the book is well set out and easy to read you are constantly troubled by the errors in both the code and the dialog. Fortunatly a lot of the errors can be corrected

via the Wrox web site. I found it useful to download the working code for the book and compare it with the text to correct many errors. Should a reader really need to do this? Unlike a previous reviewer I had no trouble viewing the example WroxUnited site.
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on May 17, 2006
I am a big fan of Wrox books, my bookshelf is a sea of red. That's why I felt pretty comfortable picking up Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 without really doing any research. I know Wrox, I know how their examples are written, the conventions they use, etc. I was also really looking forward to building the sample site. For me doing is the best way to learn.

Imagine my disappointment when not even through Chapter 2 I realize that this particular book throws out all I've come to love about Wrox. The examples are confusing to say the least, and if you are one of those (like me) who would prefer to actually build all of the sample code instead of just downloading it, then you are just out of luck. The vast majority of eveything I've come across requires you download and use the code for each chapter (you do get to type a line or two here and there). Then you get to figure out the file hierarchy, which odds are is nothing like what you are currently using. I know my hierarchy doesn't rely on drilling down 5 folders into my web root to get to things. It gets even more fun when the book tells you to go to a particular menu and select something thats not even there. Eh, maybe MS moved something before the book went to print. But how do you explain the book and the (required) sample code being different?

I will not be finishing chapter 3. I may keep this book on my shelf in the hopes that at some point I'll be able to use it as a reference, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
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on June 26, 2006
I read this book for my job to learn ASP.NET 2.0 (I'm new to ASP.NET completely). I went through just about every exercise in the book. Before reading the book, I read a beginner's book on SQL (I was new to SQL before reading that book), which I think may have helped in comprehending this book. I would suggest reading or otherwise finding some way to get to know some basic SQL before reading this book, just to make it go by smoother (especially if you intend on working with databases for your work with ASP.NET 2.0). However, I expect you'll be able to deal with the book just fine without the SQL experience. The book has a download with tons of code that makes understanding the concepts so much easier. Also of note is that the book contains many minor errors... I submitted over 35 to the publisher's website myself. Most of them were minor, but if you submit errata, you may find yourself very distracted while reading this book. If you want to get a strong start with ASP.NET 2.0, this book is for you. Also of note is that the software you require to develop ASP.NET pages is free of use and this book covers the installation completely. The nice thing about that software, Visual Web Developer, is that it works even with Windows XP Home Edition, which I had trouble dealing with at first (IIS, the normal method of parsing ASP.NET pages, does not work on XP Home). If you have XP Home and are willing to download some free software (between a half gig and a gig worth of downloading), your search for a reliable way of learning ASP.NET is over. If you read it and find that you need to learn a little more for advanced functionality, most of that can be filled in by searching online (this book will give you a solid foundation and you should be able to find information for yourself after that). One thing this book does not really cover is the actual coding for e-commerce websites. E-commerce is the part of the website where the user enters their credit card information and pays for the items in their cart. The book gives you a basic overview of what is required for e-commerce coding, but you'll need another resource if you want to do this (such as another book or an online resource). After reading this book, you'll be able to:

--Design a webpage that loads information from a database.

--Display that information in a format you design.

--Allow visitors of the webpage to save new information to the database.

--Create a login system so visitors can log in and view personalized content (ex: they can log in and view their "wish list").

--Create webpages that get input from users and store that input to a database.
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on May 19, 2006
I was very disappointed with this book. To do the exercises, you have to download a ZIP file from the Wrox web site. The installation instructions in the book don't match what's in the ZIP file. Once you do get them installed, they're frequently buggy. Checking the forums on the Wrox bulletin board is of little help as many questions about these bugs seem to have gone unanswered.

The book looked like it had potential, but now I'm looking at other options.
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on August 24, 2006
It's a good thing that I have a bit of experience in the software/web development world. If I were truly "begining" my experience with this book would have me very frustrated. As mentioned in several prior reveiws, the examples are poorly organized and often confusing. The directory structure used for each example is incosistent from example to example... If the premise of the book is to teach us by having us build an applictaion, a good idea in theroy, then let us build the apllication on chapter at a time basis using each new exercise to build on what we've already created in the previous exercise. If the authors really felt it would help to download code for each exercise... than please use a consistent file/directory hierarchy in your explanations... which seldom matches the actual file hierarchy of the downloaded code... well at least through chapter 3 anyway. That's all the farther I got before I felt compelled to write this review.
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on August 4, 2007
I bought this book because it had the word "Beginning" in the title, but I'm having trouble getting past Chapter 2 because the book is so confusing. The authors need to do a better job clarifying how they set up the sample sites. For example, instructions are left out explaining that you have to unzip and copy chapter 2 to the folder that contains your web site, then open Chapter 2 as a separate web site from Chapter 1. You have to figure it for yourself. I was stuck thinking I was suppose to add a new item called Chapter 2, like I did in the first chapter. The book also has you looking for property items that don't exist. I couldn't add a CSS to the site.master because the property doesn't exist. If the property does exist, I don't know where it is since the Properties picture in the book doesn't match with WVD Express 2005 Properties features for a site.master page. And, when I try using the web site admin tool as instructed in Chapter 2, I get error messages.

The lack of clarity in the instructions and the bugs makes this a very difficult book to learn from for the beginning student. I am very frustrated with this book and I'm only on Chapter 2. I will continue to stumble through the book, but ignore all error messages and parts that don't make sense. Hopefully, I'll pick up some useful information that I can transfer once I find a better book.
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on January 18, 2008
If you enjoy spending ages correlating a colossal errata with its respective book, then this book is for you.

If you enjoy following instruction to the letter to find the project crash, then this book is for you.

If you enjoy code-generating wizards as distinct from writing code, then this book is for you.

It was not for me.
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