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Data Binding with Windows Forms 2.0: Programming Smart Client Data Applications with .NET Paperback – January 22, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0321268921 ISBN-10: 032126892X Edition: 1st

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Data Binding with Windows Forms 2.0: Programming Smart Client Data Applications with .NET + Windows Forms 2.0 Programming (Microsoft .NET Development Series) + Windows Forms Programming in C#
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 032126892X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321268921
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian Noyes is a software architect, trainer, writer, and speaker with IDesign (www.idesign.net), a premier .NET architecture and design consulting and training company. He has been developing software systems for more than fifteen years, speaks at many major software conferences around the world, and writes for a variety of software journals and magazines.



Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

When I first started discussing this book with the editors at Addison-Wesley, I was a little skeptical. My gut reaction was, “Will anyone need a whole book focused on data binding?” I mean, Windows Forms is just GUI stuff, right? You drag this, you drop that, you hook up a few event handlers, and you move on to build the rest of your enterprise application—all the middle-tier goo that ties your head in knots.

As I thought more about it, I realized that a significant percentage of the work that people do in Windows Forms applications is centered around data binding, and most of the problems developers encounter are related to getting data-binding scenarios to work correctly. Add to that the multitude of new capabilities in Windows Forms 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 related to data binding, and I quickly became convinced that this book would be a good idea. Hopefully you will agree after you have finished reading it.

Data binding is a powerful capability that has finally matured in Windows Forms 2.0 through the capabilities in the .NET Framework classes, combined with the rich designer support provided by Visual Studio 2005. By using data binding properly, you can save yourself from writing a lot of unnecessary code, provide your users a rich interactive experience for working with data that functions well, and produce code that is easy to maintain. To get it working correctly across a variety of use cases, you need to know more than how to set a few properties on controls—you need to understand what is going on under the hood, especially if you want tosupport complex scenarios that require going beyond the basic capabilities of the data-binding components in the .NET Framework.

Due to the growth of smart client architecture, Windows Forms applications are becoming more prominent in business systems. Web browser-based applications leave a lot to be desired; they cannot support many of today’s common scenarios. They don’t harness the capabilities of the client machine, and they are constrained by the request-response model of browser-based applications and the connectivity issues that surround them. So the importance of being able to code complex data application scenarios in Windows Forms is growing, and luckily the capabilities in .NET services are rapidly maturing to keep pace.

Who Should Read This Book?

The primary audience for this book is intermediate to advanced Windows Forms developers who want to learn about the new data-binding features in Windows Forms 2.0 and refine their coding practices for data-bound applications. This book dives deep into advanced features of the data-binding mechanisms in Windows Forms, data-bound controls, working with data sources, and creating custom data-bound objects and collections. If you spend a significant amount of time working with data in Windows Forms applications, then this book is for you.

If you are a beginner Windows Forms developer, this book will help you quickly learn how to support data binding. Many of the features in Windows Forms 2.0 take developers through wizards and designer features that are helpful for beginning programmers, and you will learn about those features in this book. In addition, Appendixes C and D are geared for beginner programmers to get up to speed on the basics of Windows Forms and data access.

Conventions

Developing applications is more about tools and less about code. However, there is a lot of code in this book, and I have adopted some common conventions to help make things easier. References to classes, variables, namespaces, and other artifacts that manifest themselves in code are in a monospace font; this helps you distinguish an instance of the DataSet class from a conceptual discussion of data sets. Short code listings are presented inline within the text using a different monospace font.

Longer listings use a similar font, but are identified with listing numbers, for example, Listing 4.1. Within code listings, bold highlights particularly relevant portions of the code, especially “evolving code.” When I remove details that aren’t relevant to a discussion, you’ll see a comment with an ellipsis (//...). This means that more code is needed to complete the example or more code generated by the designer exists, but you don’t need it to understand the concept. On occasion, explanatory comments show context.

I use a conversational tone to discuss the kinds of objects you deal with in data-binding scenarios, for example, when describing the DataSet class in this book. However, much of the time when discussing data sets I am not talking about an instance of a DataSet class, but of an instance of a derived typed DataSet class. Although it would still be technically correct to refer to that class as a DataSet because it “is a” DataSet through inheritance, I find it annoying when too many words are called out as a code artifacts. So, when something really is a code artifact and can only be discussed correctly in that context, it’s set in the monospace font. I favor the terms data set, datatable, and table adapter when discussing concepts surrounding those types of objects, and reserve DataSet, DataTable, and CustomersTableAdapter for citing a specific class type or instance, and the capabilities defined by that code artifact.

Discussing components and controls can also be confusing, depending on how precise you want to be with your language. Technically, all controls in Windows Forms are components, because the Control class derives from the Component class. Many of the concepts surrounding data binding apply to both components, such as the BindingSource component discussed in depth in this book, and controls, such as a DataGridView control. Unfortunately, many people think of components as nonvisual objects that are used by your form and controls as objects that have a visual rendering on your forms. To avoid having to say controls and components ad nauseam, when I discuss a concept that applies to both nonvisual components and controls, I simply say components. So when you see components, think “this applies to controls as well, because they inherit from components.”

System Requirements

This book was written with the code base of .NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 over the course of Beta 1, several Community Technical Previews, and ultimately Beta 2. The code presented in this book runs with Beta 2. I worked closely with the Windows Client product team at Microsoft, and there are no feature changes planned between Beta 2 and product release. However, some minor syntax may change between production and the release of .NET 2.0. If they do affect the code or concepts, I will provide corrections through the Web site for the book (www.softinsight.com/databindingbook), as well as updated code that will run on Visual Studio 2005 once it is released.

If you plan to run the samples available on the book’s Web site, or the walkthroughs and code listings in the book, you will need Visual Studio 2005 installed on your machine, and you will need access to a SQL Server 2000 or 2005 database server on which the Northwind sample database has been installed. Additionally, you will need to have permissions on that database to create new databases for some of the samples.

There are multiple versions of Visual Studio 2005 to choose from. All of the features discussed in this book even work in the Express versions of Visual Studio 2005, which are free. You can develop all of the samples in this book in Visual C# 2005 Express or Visual Basic 2005 Express with SQL Server 2005 Express, but because Express versions of Visual Studio don’t support data connections using server paths (they only support file path-based connections to SQL Express databases), you will have to create the sample databases and data in SQL Express, and then alter the connection strings and the way you set up connections based in Express.

The samples and scripts included in the book assume you are working on a machine with a standard, professional, or enterprise version of Visual Studio 2005 installed, along with a default instance of either SQL Server 2000 or 2005 on your local machine. To run the samples without that configuration will require modifying the connection string settings for all of the samples that run against a database. The modifications needed are discussed on the book’s Web site, and the differences in connection strings are highlighted in many places in the sample code.

Additionally, Northwind doesn’t ship with SQL Server 2005, but is available as a separate installable download that will work with SQL Server 2005 from MSDN Downloads at www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx? FamilyID=06616212-0356-46A0-8DA2-EEBC53A68034&displaylang=en. The download provides scripts and MDF files that can be attached to SQL Server 2005 or used with SQL Server 2005 Express.

Choice of Language

I chose to write this book in C#. The download code is available in both C# and Visual Basic code. It is a fact of life that there wi...


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It is the best one stop shopping treatment of the DataGridView I have seen anywhere.
Blue Cat
The object model chapter assumes that an application's domain model will contain the artifacts necessary for data binding.
David C. Veeneman
By the time I got 100 pages into the book, I felt like I had gotten my money's worth.
W. Gant

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on January 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is about so much more than data binding. I'm not sure why they titled it this way. The book is really about forms from start to finish, including what is new in the 2.0 framework. It's an excellent work on proper forms programming and data flow. I highly recommend this book for anyone doing a lot of Windows forms work.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A regular guy on April 25, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent introduction to Windows Forms in .NET 2.0, but is really not titled correctly. In particular, the subtitle "Programming Smart Client Data Applications with .NET" is blatantly misleading considering:

1. Offline data access (or disconnected mode usage), by definition a core component of smart clients, is covered for a total of 3 sentences in this book.

2. Other relevant smart client topics, such as ClickOnce deployment, are either addressed in the single "What is a smart client?" section (one page!) or ignored altogether.

I'm giving this book 4 stars because it really is a great book for those venturing into building Windows Forms 2.0 applications (also touching relevant topics like ASP.NET, WinFX and XAML), but the title should have ignored any reference to smart clients altogether. If you're a developer looking for a great resource for building apps in VS.NET 2005, this is the book for you. If you're looking for a smart client resource like I was, this is not it.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book (as the title suggests) is strongly geared towards data binding in the context of "Smart Clients." From this book, I take "Smart Client" to mean that you are only showing tabular data directly from databases. He spends 80% of the book talking about binding to data bases with the DataGridView control. Because of this, other aspects of data binding are neglected.

After reading this book, I still had no idea how to create custom properties on a control that can be bound to with simple data binding (use the Bindable attribute, which isn't even mentioned in the book).

He does not sufficiently cover writing controls that want to use non-list data or the interfaces that non-list data objects must implement to be bound to controls.

In the end, this book is just a big example of how to use data binding, as long as you want to do exactly what is done in the samples (bind tabular data to grid views). Very little useful information that can be used to do anything outside this narrow pattern is provided.

UPDATE: I wish I could drop my rating to 2 stars. Every time I try and use this book, I'm infuriated by the lack of any useful information.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By W. Gant on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
What's really cool (and missing in all the reviews and sample chapter) is how the author actually does things like they would be done in a real project. For instance, his typed dataset definition is in a dll, not lumped into the main project. He seems to make a continual effort to keep things loosely coupled and logically separated, just like seasoned programmers do. His assumption seems to be that the reader wants to learn the right way to do things, rather than just getting a surface level understanding of major concepts.

It is blatantly obvious that while the author is an excellent writer, that he got his start as an excellent developer (unlike many authors, who only code so that they can write a book about it). By the time I got 100 pages into the book, I felt like I had gotten my money's worth. The book is very informative, and is not full of filler material like so many others.

This is hands-down the most clear and helpful book on .NET I've read to date.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Blue Cat on January 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a really great book. Like most technical books it covers a lot of ground:

1. Shows through example how data binding works in windows: how to use the Binding class to bind a property on a control to a property on an object; how the new .NET 2.0 BindingSource class is used and why it was created; and a clear explanation of the currency manager and how the BindingSource class replaces it. I didn't even know you could bind arbitrary properties on an object to a property on a control. This book showed me how to do it. Too Cool!

2. A detailed explanation of how to use and extend the DataGridView. It is the best one stop shopping treatment of the DataGridView I have seen anywhere.

3. How to implement custom data-bound controls in windows forms.

4. A detailed explanation of the Data-Binding interfaces, including how to bind the DataGridView to something other then a DataTable.

5. And so much more...

I consider this one of the few .NET books worth reading. One big plus about this book is after the first couple of chapters you can skip around and read what you need to get your job done.

Using the information from this book I was able to create an adapter to our custom business object and display the data in a data grid view. Using the data grid view the user can perform the standard CRUD (create, read, update, and delete operations) on the data. This provides a nice addition to our graphical rendering. Big thanks to the author. I couldn't of done it without this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Valentine on September 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book lived up to and surpassed my expectations.

Going into this book, I had very little knowledge of how to implement data binding support for my custom entity classes. After reading this book, particularly the custom entity object chapter, I was able to implement very rich data binding support (filters, sorting, error provider support, etc.) to my custom classes.

Of course, all of the various pieces of information on how to implement this support is out there in MSDN or in web articles here and there. But it was well worth the price of the book to have all of these pieces put together in this cohesive text.

I thought that the book started off a bit slow, but after the 2nd or 3rd chapter, it quickly picked up with the technical details and provided everything that I needed to know.

I would highly recommend this book if you need to implement data binding support yourself.
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