Top critical review
20 people found this helpful
on November 21, 2000
This is a mediocre book that doesn't have a very good focus. The first four chapters are fine as introductory chapters, discussing how to pick a server-side scripting language, how to handle exceptions and "regular expressions, classes and dynamic evaluation and execution" (i'm not sure how those got lumped together!) There are two main chapters, one on form reuse (that has some reasonably useful info) and one on a reusable database admin page, which may or may not be useful. The methodology is interesting but it seems to have limited usefulness. The final chapters outline COM & how to use 3rd party COM objects. The information here is at a very high level and you would best be served by getting a book devoted to that topic.
My biggest concern with the book is that the title is hopelessly misleading. There is almost nothing on "designing" active server pages. We are instead led through a couple of administration apps and a high-level intro to COM & how to use 3rd party components. I expected information on how to structure your application, on performance issues, on scalability, on security, session & application variables, maybe even something on database issues. Unfortunately most of the author's advice seems could be summarized with "encapsulate your code: use classes, COM objects and include files".
I found that a lot of the writing seemed wordy and repetitive, unlike most O'Reilly books. Also this book seems pitched at intermediate developers, say those that are familiar with the syntax but don't have much expertise in building multi-page ASP applications. I don't think experienced ASP developers would get much out of this book, since they probably have written their own code to accomplish some of the things discussed in this book.
I wanted to give this book a good review, being a big fan of the author's web site,.... Unfortunately this book is not a keeper. If you want ASP books get "ASP in a Nutshell" (O'Reilly) for the syntax, "Developing ASP Components" (O'Reilly) if you want to get into COM and Professional Active Server Pages 2/3 (Wrox) for an excellent look at real ASP programming in an enterprise.