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Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0 Paperback – January, 2000
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Filling an important spot in the Wrox Programmer to Programmer series, Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0 is an excellent introduction to the new version of ASP released for the Windows 2000 platform. This guide expects no previous ASP knowledge or even previous Web development experience.
Its friendly style makes this book welcome reading at all skill levels. The material is carefully presented to avoid losing readers who are totally new to ASP programming, yet it still provides impressive technical coverage, beginning with the very basic concepts behind ASP programming and moving forward to advanced coding techniques.
As each topic is presented, relevant screen shots and useful code snippets under the heading "How It Works" complement the text. The chapters also include step-by-step exercises to familiarize you with new techniques and tools. An extensive case study application takes you through the entire development process as well. If you're interested in Web coding Microsoft-style, this is the right place to start. --Stephen W. Plain
Topics covered: ASP language fundamentals, server- and client-side scripting, ASP object model, cookies, error handling, scripting objects, recordsets, transactions and COM+, XML introduction, ADO object model, and VBScript reference.
From the Publisher
Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0 is aimed at two distinct groups of developers. Firstly it addresses the needs of the HTML programmer looking to progress to the next stage - to create dynamic web pages and understand how to structure a site for future growth. Secondly it is aimed at developers switching to Windows 2000, as it outlines all the changes and explains ASP from the standpoint of IIS5 and the new user interface.
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I wish Wrox would include the source on a CD but they do have an excellant web site and email discussion list to support the book. All the source code can be downloaded from the web site. The web also has the current erratta and a provision to submit any new errors you might find.
Over all a really nice job. This book helped make Wrox one of my favorite publishers.
"When I first started to study Chinese my tutor ... gave me a Chinese-English dictionary, a Chinese grammar book and a primer. But he placed all of these books in a basket and said they were not to used until the next week. In the first week he instructed me just to listen and and memorize some phrases. That week, I had to accept on faith the content, sentence structure, pronunciation and grammar. But by Friday I could at least walk into a Chinese restaurant, order a bowl of rice and pay for it."
That pretty well desribes how this book progresses. The authors start you off with some simple ASP and then build on that in the later chapters. I basically went chapter by chapter and did all of the "Try It Out" projects. By the end, I could understand ASP code and I was able to adapt it to the project I was working on.
The book is rather wordy, but not in a boring way. The authors' target audience is people with almost no programming experience, and I think they do a good job explaining things to that audience. I had done some web coding before, so I usually skimmed the text to look for the techniques I was not familar with. As I worked on my real-world project, I would refer back to the book when I wasn't sure how to do something.
I like the book because it has lots of hands on examples, right up to a full blown web application called "Wrox Classifieds". It's easy to look up a specific ASP technique and get right to the explanation of how it works and how to code it. An added benefit are the Appendices, which include a complete description of the ASP 3.0 and ADO 2.5 Object Models and a VBScript reference. If that's not enough information, they have a website with a messgae board on which you can ask specific questions and get answers from more experienced ASP coders.
My only criticism of the book is the "support" provided by the publisher. Wrox was sold to Wiley a couple of years ago in a bankruptcy proceeding. You are supposed to be able to open a ticket with their technical support if you have problems getting something to work. I tried to open a ticket, and all I received was an e-mail from Wiley saying they weren't sure if they would support the book but they would get back to me. They never did.
That experience, however, has not dampened my enthusiasm for this book or other books by Wrox.
On the Kindle you can't search for text that is on these pages and they show up small (like an image) on the screen. You have to zoom the image and even then you can't read some of the pages. And, zooming on the Kindle isn't exactly a fast process.
If you are a coder and you get this book as a reference manual, then keep in mind that when you search on a term, that your searches will never find any of the pages that are scanned in as images. For me, this defeats the whole advantage the Kindle version has over the book version.
The entire appendixes are scanned images of pages and non-searchable and that's where the ASP syntax reference section is located.
I'd avoid this book at least the Kindle version.
They do not make assumptions about their reader's expertise: they explain everything in detail, from how to set up your PC to serve ASP pages locally (so that you can type in "real" URLs like [...] order for the ASP to run, to how create basic HTML documents with sophisticated forms, text input fields and drop-down boxes.
Their teaching method is simple and effective: Present a concept using clear language, cogent explanations, real-world uses, even analogies and metaphor! , then a sample program. The student types the example, runs it and compares his results to a screenshot in the book. After the program has run correctly the student is presented with several paragraphs of "How It Works" -- step-by-step explanations of what each line of code does.
Each lesson builds on previous ones, although the authors interject the lessons with "this concept, which was presented in Chapter 4..." to reinforce key ideas and to help you find the original lessons should you want to refresh your memory.
I found their style refreshing in a world of PC books that gloss over fundamentals; I very much prefer an author who explains everything as opposed to one who does not provide enough information. Because of this I am looking forward to buying "Beginning ASP Databases" and "Beginning SQL Programming".
Keep up the great work.
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