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Code Generation in Microsoft .NET (Expert's Voice Books for Professionals by Professionals) Paperback – January 21, 2004
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About the Author
Dollard is well known for her participation over the last 15 years with online communities, including BBSs, Compuserve, Fawcette, DevX, and Microsoft public newsgroups. She has been recognized in some form for her online work since 1994, and she's been a Microsoft "Most Valuable Professional" since 1998. Dollard is also active in the real-world communities of user groups, most recently with the Denver Visual Studio User Group and the Northern Colorado .NET SIG startup. A well-known writer and speaker, she is currently doing pioneering work in code generation using .NET and XSLT.
Top Customer Reviews
Contrary to what I have read on the web this is not a hard book. It is the first truly creative book on .NET I have read.
The code, that is downloadable, includes both C# and VB code.
While this is not a book for developers learning .NET it will prove invaluable to developers who have already started getting tired of writing or adapting the same repetitive code project after project.
This book while introducing a truly unique way of using the tools in .NET is also a good read. The author's writing style is engaging and not the usual mindless .NET prose found in many books.
I have used my own `brute force' code generation since 1998 in VB6 to generate classes and forms. When I started porting my code generation to .NET I soon realised that I would have to redesign and rewrite to fully utilise ADO.NET and started looking for a new application.
After trying all the generation tools out there in the hope of finding a replacement for my own application I was disappointed to see that they all had a `philosophy' that one had to embrace to use their tools and that all the tools were inflexible from a developer's viewpoint. Even the templates only give the developer the functions in the `Black Box' without the option of extending the functionality.
This book takes a bold step forward in the art of code generation giving developers the tools to extract information from a database structure and to then generate custom stored procedures and classes from this metadata using XSLT. The book's main focus is on using XSLT templates but also discusses the use of brute force and CodeDOM for code generation.Read more ›
Back to the book. I think it's great. The only flaw I can find is that it's almost too detailed in spots. She presents an entire framework for building SQL DDL, stored procedures, an ORM layer, and user interface with both WinForms and HTML from XML descriptions. She also provides a larger perspective on code generation in the context of the development cycle as well as avoiding the common pitfalls. The jovial tone also keeps it light.
Anyone skilled enough to understand how code generation can revolutionize their development process should be able to handle the VB, XML, and XSLT used in the book, and either apply the principles in derivative work, or use her code directly.
I quote the back of the book, "In addition to the text, the tools in the book (downloadable in both VB.net and C#)..." This is untrue. While there are some code examples in C# in the download, almost everything is in VB.net. This includes the code generation harness, which to me is the whole reason to buy the book. If you don't believe me download the code before you buy the book. There is a note in the read me that says as much.
While this might be of small significance to all you VB types, I came to MS from the Java/C world and don't know VB.
The second frustrating thing about the book is that it is about how to deploy a code generator not how to write one. There is a lot of discussion about metadata extraction, how to write good handcrafted code, etc. But the only discussion about how the code generation works is way out in Appendix C: Details of the Code Generation Harness.
Now if this is supposed to be a beginning book on code generation, shouldn't it talk about the code generator and how it works in the actual book??
I wish that someone would have told me these things before I bought it. I think down the road this may be a useful book once can get my hands around the generator. It has chapters on things metadata extraction and interface generation that look very interesting. For that reason I am giving it a 3.
Before I read the book, I was already convinced that code generation was a valuable thing to do, but the book helped reshape how I thought of code generation in the context of a large project, or even an IT department.
Here are the main points that resonated with me:
1) Code Generation should be thought of as a step in the overall project build process.
2) The biggest payoff will be gained by generated stored procedures and middle tier components.
3) Code generation allows the architect to decouple the system meta data from the technology. (eg. I can change my data access strategy by simply modifying my template)
4) It is possible to generate UI components.
Finally, the book goes beyond code generation. You will learn other interesting tidbits about Visual Studio .NET and the .NET framework. The appendices include good primers on XML/XSLT and her Code Generation harness. The freely downloadable harness is designed to orchestrate the CodeGen process, but you really need to the book to understand how it works and how it can be extended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Overall I'm disappointed with the book, there is nothing new here. The downloadable code is also poorly coded. Read morePublished on June 5, 2008 by Phil
I always respect authors and publishers who have the courage to publish highly specialized books such as this one. Read morePublished on September 14, 2004 by Damon Carr
Much of this book is obvious - use of XSLT to to generate code files, how to consume sql metadata. But the author does a GREAT job of presenting the information in useful context. Read morePublished on July 8, 2004
This is a great book. Surely not the kind of book that you can read to relax: there are always several threads to follow, and if you skip a page, then you sort of feel that you're... Read morePublished on June 25, 2004 by Francesco Aliverti-Piuri
Not so good. This book definitely deservs 3 stars as max. But those promoters gave 5, then I give 1. Just to be honest.Published on March 26, 2004 by Blade