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on August 13, 2000
If you like the slow pace of a college class and script like a B rate movie, you may like this book. Professor Smiley does get the message across in an understandable fashion, but you must be prepared to read this book as a transcript from a class, not as an instruction manual, and thus put up with lots and lots of extra dialog. If you are not a beginner programmer, and I don't just mean VB programmer, then you should first try traditional books where you get vastly more information in the same number of pages. If you have difficulty learning outside of a classroom, then the Learn To Program books may be for you.
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on August 11, 2000
With high demand for books that condense material into fast and choppy presentations of key concepts, it's rare to find a book that explores and explains objects well. This book is one of those rare finds...
I've never read a John Smiley book before and so this was my first purchase. At the beginning, you may wonder if buying this book was another mistake. The author writes the entire book as a long story complete with inner thoughts and full dialog of conversations with his wife, students and the owner of the retail store; where they continue product development. At first, the dialog seems tedius and contrived. However, if you're patient, you'll suddenly realize it works! It slows down the panic pace of trying to learn materal. As I relaxed and read the dialog of students rephrasing their questions and multiple explinations of key concepts, I realize that I did not really understood the concept as I thought I had. I think the dialog reads the way it does due to the effort of presenting the material effectively, no small order.
If you have some experience with Visual Basic or VBA in the MS Office Suite, understand loops and the If statement, then this book is a good match. It pulls you from a procedural development process where code is accessed one line at a time, to creating objects.
The book picks up the class project from a previous book and begins to reformat the code to an object oriented model. In addition, the CD Rom that comes with the book is actually useful. The CD is divided up into a subfolder for each chapter and you can easily import this to your hard drive. This saves you from having to create the original project from scratch. Another first for me, is finding a book with crystal clear methods of illustrating which lines of code are changed in the orignal project and fully explaining the changes. In other words, you'll have no problem picking up the previous project and applying the changes.
Finally, I have found no glaring or annoying errors in the book which is not always the case for the books sitting on my shelf. It's extremely important to have zero errors in the syntax of VB Code when you're learning it. I was not able to find any syntax errors in this book; leading my code to a path of self destruction. Thank you for that! However, there is a control called lstBrands.ListIndex. With the "st" following the "l" in the book, I automatically typed in the number "1" thinking of lstBrands as a short way of writing firstBrands. After syntax errors of "object not defined" and so forth I finally copied copy and pasted the name from the code on the CD (in later chapter subfolder) when it worked, I realized that it was lowercase letter "l" not a number "1".
If you like the class environment, or want to really understand Objects in VB- this book is for you!
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on June 20, 2000
A very apt title. In one week, entailing about 16 hours of reading,I was able to digest what I considered to be a rather complicated and vital topic that I for some reason seemed to shy away from. In the past year, I've bought at least 5 books on the subject and did nothing more than toss the books to the side after a couple of days because of the complexity of the material. As a consultant, systems analyst and developer, I need to be able to produce quickly, John Smiley's book allowed me to cut through the gray areas and quickly apply the concepts to what I do every day. One exceptional chapter, Chapter 5 is the 'piece de resistance' of object programming. I no longer feel 'so confused.' I'm probably biased, this is one of four books, that I have that he's written. For clarity and conciseness, there is no better author.
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on June 15, 2000
If you are a programmer and want to delve into the world of object oriented programming then start with this book! This book takes the bite out of object orientated programming and shows you that if you are a VB programmer you have already been using objects. Object orientated programming is fun for me now. In todays technological world if technology isnt confusing its believed to be worthless. After reading this book I realize I understand more than I orginally thought I did. I have been programming in an object orientated sense I just had a few concepts and ideas to learn. If you want a good book that will explain EVERYTHING without making you feel stupid, start with this book!
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on January 28, 2000
I am not a beginner. I have taken classes and read other books on this subject, but this book beats them all. I thought it was slow when I first started because of all the conversation between the author and the students, but after a few chapters, I realized that the author was merely emphasizing the points he was making by taking this approach. I am not missing anything, he answers my questions before I ask them and I want to keep reading. I actually understand what Programming with Objects means now.
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on April 24, 2001
I must admit when I first started reading the book I was taken back by the format. I've read a few tech how-to books and I'd never seen one written like a story book before. Reading the book is like auditing a class--acting as an observer, but not necesarily a participant. I thought the students in the class were kind of odd, and not particularly bright. Then as time went by I realized the advantages of this style of writing. When a student asks a question that has already been answered earlier in the book, and the teacher answers it, it is the same as reminding me of something that I might forget without insulting me by reminding me directly to my face (like my mother-in-law's backseat driving: "There's a stop sign coming up.") That way, when I don't need the reminder, I'm not offended, and when I do need the reminder I am helped along. Great plan! But the clincher for me was when during one of the teacher's explanations, my mind formulated a question. Suddenly in the next paragraph one of those dumb students asked MY question. OK, I'm sold.
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on January 29, 2000
While all Smiley's books are intended for beginners-this book on a fairly advanced topic-also provides more advanced programmers a rock solid understanding of objects.
For example, his explanation of the Let/Get procedures used to provide object properties is more understandable than any other explanation I have ever read.
I would recommend this book to any beginner who want to explore objects or to a more advance programmer who wants to solidify her understanding.
Another benefit to reading John's books is that he maintains contact with his readers and is a continuous source of inspiration and information.
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on April 24, 2001
I had no idea how to program, but in just three days after reading this book I was able to accomplish such a task. I loved the classroom setting. The feedback from the other students in the class were very helpful. Sometimes I would say "man that person is an idiot", while other times I would be like "good point". While reading this book, I even raised my hand a few times. :) If you read this book and don't understand every concept, you should find something else to do.
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on January 30, 2004
John Smiley has written a great book for beginning to intermediate VB programmers wishing to learn how to use VB to create their own objects and object models. This book would not be a good book for someone looking for quick and dirty answers. If you are willing to invest a little time, you will be creating your own objects and object models that will make your programs more robust and maintainable. Overall I thought that his virtual classroom approach is a great idea for beginning programmers reading this book, as it had questions posed from the virtual students that most likely are asked in any programming course. I'm sure that more experienced programmers don't like this approach since it inflates the size of the book, but there are some invaluable bits of info that the beginner will get from this approach. I'm sure that will raise their level of confidence as well knowing that their questions as to why something does/doesn't work in a particualr situation is explained. I also had an issue with the way Smiley used an error handling routine and e-mailed him my solution (which I thought was better) and he e-mailed me back a few days later with a courteous note explaing his why he chose his method, but liked my solution and was glad that it worked. I really appreciated the fact that he took the time to read over my question and then replied...I'm sure not too many people care enough to follow up their works. One final note: I'd follow-up Smiley's book by also getting a copy of "The Visual Basic Object and Component Handbook" by Peter Vogel. These two books combined will make anyone VB object masters.
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on March 22, 2001
This is a good book for people who would like to start working with objects in Visual Basic. Its more of a interactive course. Each line of code is supported with excellent explanation. If you are a beginner read the whole book, but if are intermediate, you can skip the initial chapters and directly start with chapter "Objects- The inside story". I recommend this book for all those people who are new to object-oriented programming (with Visual Basic)
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