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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Moving to VB .NET: Strategies, Concepts, and Code, Second Edition
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on February 19, 2004
So many .NET books are a rehash of the documentation, or say the same things as a million other books, at best in a slightly different way. This one isn't like that at all. It's full of real-world practical perspective and reality checks such as (to paraphrase) "it will be years before .NET is really being used in production", and "dont use inheritance or threading unless you really know what you're doing". Besides that, its outstandingly well written and oozes attention to detail on every page. One criticism I might level is that its really not all that VB specific - a chunk in the middle is, but much of it applies equally to the other .NET languages. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I am honestly baffled that so many folks gave this book a negative review. Dan, please keep it up!
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on February 12, 2004
Appleman's Developing ActiveX Components with Visual Basic 5.0 was so good that I bought Developing COM/ActiveX Components with Visual Basic 6.0 when it came out. Both of these were among the very best VB books of all time. Unfortunately, Moving to VB.NET is not in the same camp. The book tries to introduce VB6ers into VB.NET, but does a very bad job of getting from A to B. Most developers can understand most of .NET after discovering that it's 80% Java with keywords changed. Instead of starting with this foundation, the book wastes a lot of space explaining prinicples that are new to only the most hardcore Microsoft zealots. In Appleman's defense, this book was first published when .NET was still in beta and was likely rushed to press. Don't get me wrong, there is some great technical content here as Appleman is still a great technician and good at explaining the "internals" of things. The COM Interop and Accessing the Win32 API chapter is particularly good and helped me get through a VB6/VB.NET integration project. If you're totally new to VB.NET and find this book on sale, buy it; otherwise, don't bother.
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on January 10, 2004
As I have come to expect from any text by Dan Appleman, Moving to VB .NET gives a thorough discussion of the topic, including tips for evaluating how/when/whether to deploy .NET for your organization based on your particular business needs. Mr. Appleman combines impressive technical knowledge with a sharp sense of humor to make this book as readable as it is informative. I recommend it to any experienced VB programmer looking to make the transition to .NET.
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on September 29, 2003
There are a lot of books out there for transitioning to VB.NET from VB6. However, before you grab any other book, I strongly suggest "Moving to VB.NET: Strategies, Concepts, and Code" by Dan Appleman. Written from an in-the-trenches, "I've been there" point of view, Dan introduces the reader to .NET using the single best possible approach: from the ground up. Due to the steep learning curve associated with .NET, approaching this subject is tricky, but I feel Dan has done a truly excellent job. Up front, this book is in my opinion the first book a VB6 person should read on the subject. It also helps that it is structured in such a way that it could be easily broken down for a classroom environment, getting a company up to speed.
One thing Dan really stresses is for the reader to familiarize themselves with the MSDN library. That point cannot be stressed enough. Unlike previous versions, MSDN for .NET was written with the VB.NET developer in mind, and is completely VB-friendly. Also, in the rare cases where Dan fails to explain an item right off the bat, such as the `Shared' operator (he does get to it), or the really cool `IntPtr' variable type, just quickly look them up in MSDN. The wealth of available information found there is fantastic.
When you crack Dan's book, please be sure to download the example files (and any errata updates) from the site location he suggests. Being able to view, run, and hack complete listing is an invaluable tool in comprehending the points he is making regarding each subject (I like them just so I can add expository comments once I understand a technique -comments are sparse, but just to keep space tight because much of the code, broken into blocks, is also in the book).
Though easy to read, this book is definitely not one to skip chapters on. If you do not fully understand everything in a previous chapter, the next chapter can be more difficult to digest. I was surprised that often a chapter would require only a second re-read to fully comprehend everything covered. Making reference notes and clarifications in the broad margins as "Notes-To-Self" is also a great help when you finally place this book in your reference library - and it WILL find itself there. This book is loaded with very powerful techniques that you will want to refer back to again and again.
This book has also crushed my habit of harkening back to the glory days of VB6, and of calling VB.NET by derogatory names such as Visual Fred and VB.NOT. Not only does the book explain the differences in structure between VB6 and VB.NET, but in the process it completely turned me on to the VB.NET philosophy and the much more powerful, and most-often much simpler methods of doing them in .NET. Every point I had once griped about, such as, for example, the `lack' of fixed-length strings and arrays in user-defined types was shown to be completely unfounded. Things that I complained that were missing have been in fact replaced by something much better and more powerful.
With this book as a launching point, in a day I can now develop applications under VB.NET that are just as powerful, and run just as fast as the C++ applications I used to develop over several weeks under Visual Studio 6. The book's author has shown me the way toward being comfortable with the.NET environment, and made me excited in my transition to it.
All things considered, after reading Dan Appleman's book, I now wish Microsoft had come out with .NET after VB5.
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on December 18, 2002
This book was all I expected and more. It not only teaches VB .Net by example, but also positions VB .Net with VB 6 and explains Microsoft's reasons for dumping COM to go with CLR (Common Language Runtime). Issues of deployment and productivity are explained in a candid way, unlike the shill-like explanations that come out of MS Press. I'm on the Dan Appleman-as-a-guru bandwagon.
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on November 28, 2002
Ooops! He did it again...
If you have read Dan's books on VB6 COM programming and the Win32 API, and you know his method of explaining topics thoroughly and behind the curtains stories of what's behind the language and architecture, then you must buy this book because it's on the same caliber as the previous ones. I really congratulate the way he starts the book and how he sometimes under different topics questions Microsoft's new technological decisions. At last, here is a book where the author has an unbiased approach towards the new software technologies in the way he questions about what is being offered by Microsoft before accepting it blindly. I congratulate him for that. He has something to say rather than just merely reshuffling topics and coming up with a book like other authors. Moreover, in this book, I had the impression that DAN as a software veteran, has also taken a "Socrates" like approach, philosophying, criticizing, questioning, and answering on various programming methods and architectural designs based on his many years of experience in code development, with the intent of passing that knowledge to his readers.
All in all, this book is a must for every serious programmer. If you are the type of person, who is looking for a quick hands on tutorial and a parrot like reshuffled book, then this book is not for you!!! But if you want an in depth and interesting approch to VB.NET, then go ahead and do not hesitate in buying it.
One advice to DAN is that the "Linked List" example was boring... The intention was obvious, but the example was boring and loses the reador's attention... Sorry DAN but I had to say it just for the sake of being fair... When it comes to examples, it's better to give real world interesting scenarios rather than computer science related examples, even if the topic is kind of an abstract topic.
To conclude, this book is a must...
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on November 7, 2002
If you are an expert VB programmer you may LOVE this book. If you are an intermediate who needs to think about changing the way you code for VB in .NET you may find yourself scratching your head somewhere in the middle of this book.
The beginning is good. VERY good which is what makes the middle parts of the book so confusing. He tells us inheritence is almost never the right way to reuse code, that he is going to tell us why, but never clearly does.
I would have liked him to give us a concise example of when to use Inheritance and when not to (even if you almost never should). The multithreading chapter could have been clearer too. I say this, because the author makes such a big deal of these two issues in the beginning. I think more time should have been spent in these two chapters. In fact, I was expecting him to concentrate on the this that worry him about .NET at the expense of the other issues that other books deal with. (If it's that important, he should have given these issues more time).
I will reread this book after reading some others. I'm not saying it's not worth it for you. But read some parts of the middle chapters before you buy it. It may be over your head or just not what you are looking for. Or perhaps you should do some more learning before you read this text.
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on October 24, 2002
Finally a book that tells the experienced programmer exactly what he needs to know to get up to speed with a new technology. Appleman doesn't bog you down with syntax or overly simple tutorials, he gets straight to what you need to know and assumes that you are smart enough to pick up the details. His focus on the overall structure of .NET and why things are designed the way they are is fantastic. This book is not for the beginner learning his first programming language, but it is an excellent roadmap for experienced developers moving to .NET.
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on October 10, 2002
This is the second Dan Appleman book that I have reviewed (the other being "Developing Com/Activex Components With Visual Basic 6"). In both books, Dan starts to tell you about something and then he goes off on some tangent and starts talking about something else. Maybe he will get back to the original subject. This is like debugging spaghetti code, only this is Dan's writing style. It is very hard to follow and very frustrating. Not all of Dan's books are like this. I did not buy this book and when a friend asked me to review it, I was a little leary. Dan's book about API is very good. I was hoping for better from Dan. Too much talk. Remember Dan, Keep It Simple!!!
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on September 17, 2002
This is one of the best books available for those folks who want to comprehend VB.NET.
Like 'a reader' says, there *is* a lot of blah blah, but I think the explanations are fantastic. I personally think this book is geared less toward current programmer who needs to pound out code tomorrow for the boss and more towards curious bystander with a programming background who wants to understand the inner workings of VB.NET and how it differs from VB 6 and why.
I think it's a very well put together book, with the in-depth discussions of exactly why and how that every GREAT programmer should know.
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