About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
As the World Wide Web continues its meteoric growth, websites have matured from simple collections of static HTML pages to data-driven dynamic web applications. For example, websites like eBay or Amazon.com are much more than simple HTML pages; they're actual applications that are accessed through the Internet. Although there are many competing technologies for building data-driven websites, this book shows how to use the latest version of Microsoft's popular ASP.NET technology for creating web applications.
ASP.NET web applications are composed of individual ASP.NET web pages. As we will see in numerous examples throughout this book, these ASP.NET web pages can display HTML, collect user input, and interact with databases. ASP.NET web pages contain a mix of both HTML markup and source code. It is the source code of an ASP.NET web page that allows for the more advanced features, such as accessing data from a database or sending an email from an ASP.NET web page. The source code of an ASP.NET web page can be written in any one of a number of different programming languages. For this book we will be using Microsoft's Visual Basic programming language. Don't worry if you've never programmed in Visual Basic or have never even programmed at all. Starting with Hour 5, "Understanding Visual Basic's Variables and Operators," we will spend three hours examining programming language concepts and the Visual Basic syntax.
To ease ASP.NET web page development, Microsoft provides a free development editor, Visual Web Developer, which is included on this book's accompanying CD. We will be using Visual Web Developer throughout this book to create our ASP.NET web pages. Visual Web Developer simplifies creating both the HTML markup and source code portions of ASP.NET web pages. The HTML markup for an ASP.NET web page can be quickly created by using the What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) graphical editor. With this WYSIWYG editor, you can simply drag and drop various HTML elements onto an ASP.NET web page, moving them around with a few clicks of the mouse.
ASP.NET version 2.0 contains a number of improvements over version 1.0. With ASP.NET 2.0, Microsoft has made it easier than ever before to build data-driven websites. Starting in Hour 13, "An Introduction to Databases," we will begin our look at building websites that interact with databases. Hours 14 through 16 highlight a number of the new tools in ASP.NET 2.0 that facilitate creating database-aware web pages. Additionally, ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Web Developer provide tools to help with building professional, easy-to-use websites. In Hour 19, "Defining a Site's Structure and Providing Site Navigation," we'll look at how to define a website's navigational structure and easily provide menus, treeviews, and breadcrumbs. Hour 21, "Using Master Pages to Provide Sitewide Page Templates," examines master pages, a new feature that enables web designers to create a web page template that can be applied to all pages across the site.
This book is geared for developers new to ASP.NET, whether or not you've had past experience with HTML or programming languages. By the end of this book, you'll be able to create your own dynamic, data-driven web applications using ASP.NET. In fact, in Hours 22 through 24 we'll build a completely functional online photo album web application, highlighting the lessons learned throughout the previous hours.
Conventions Used in This Book
This book uses several conventions to help you prioritize and reference the information it contains:
Did You Knows highlight information that can make using ASP.NET 2.0 more effective.
Watch Outs focus your attention on problems or side effects that can occur in specific situations.
By the Ways provide useful information that you can read immediately or circle back to without losing the flow of the topic at hand.
In addition, this book uses various typefaces to help you distinguish code from regular English. Code is presented in a monospace font. Placeholderswords or characters used temporarily to represent the real words or characters you would type in codeare typeset in italic monospace. If you are asked to type or enter text, that text will appear in bold monospace.
Some code statements presented in this book are too long to appear on a single line. In these cases, a line-continuation character (an arrow) is used to indicate that the following line is a continuation of the current statement.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.