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  #21 (permalink)  
Old June 15th, 2011, 11:22 AM
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Unfortunately, the author ran into some issues that prevented timely completion. By the time that happened, it was really too late to restart with a new author for 4.0.

We'll look at this again for the next release. We're firm believers that this kind of book is even more valuable now to ASP.NET devs but I've got to admit, it's a ton of very hard work. Harder than writing an app. Harder than writing a book. Harder than the sum of the work for each.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Thats a shame - in my opinion the format of these books is perfect, and the descriptive style of 2.0 I found particularly engaging and easy to read. Most books are too wordy/dry/lacking real world scenarios etc. I learn best by example, and by also having the reasoning behind the design patterns / UI patterns chosen to solve the real world problems, as well as those considered and rejected, I find more valuable than the nuts and bolts code (though its still handy to focus on the new stuff). Web development covers such a broad range of skills required (IIS, SQL, intranets, extranets, project management methodologies and artefacts, architecture/design patterns, authentication/security, UI design/patterns, graphics skills, CSS, javascript, etc etc). I understand it must be extremely hard to write one of these books (whats Marco doing these days?). I'll look forward to the next book whenever it may come!
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Old June 15th, 2011, 01:37 PM
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I really did want to finish this book, and got about halfway through, but there were several personal/health issues (I will spare you the details) that prevented me from making the deadline.

That being said... I will say a couple of things about this book, and the series in general.

The 2.0 version is still very relevant. There is very, very little in that book that would not still apply to WebForms development today. Believe it or not, at its basic core, WebForms has hardly changed from 2.0 to 4.0. Sure, the preferred data access strategy has changed, and UI design using CSS has changed, and the use of client-side libraries like jQuery has changed... but those things aren't really part of ASP.NET at all.

If I were Wrox (and I say this in all sincerity), I would advise against publishing a follow-up in this series based on WebForms, now or in the future. I would also advise against readers investing any more time or money in learning WebForms. WebForms is a legacy technology. I would strongly advise current WebForms developers to learn and start using MVC exclusively if at all possible.

Wrox has some really great MVC books. The new one from Phil Haack, et. al. (manager of the Microsoft MVC team) will be awesome. If you're looking to really advance your skills, buy that one, or one of the other many fine Wrox MVC books.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 06:34 AM
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Thanks for the reply, I've been meaning to look into MVC within asp.net for a while (..I started my career as a java developer using MVC framework struts way back!) - its just sometimes hard due to time constraints to get out of your comfort zone of churning out apps based on the same framework using webforms! Whilst the previous books were based on webforms, I agree that better ways are constantly evolving for ASP.Net and I think this series should help steer the readers in the direction of those new best practices. Its easy to buy books on individual technical topics, but less easy to get a book like these on how to practically go from initial concept to deploying an application that would contain typical elements found in every app (an easier story to read that everyone can engage with), with all associated considerations and getting a sense of all the new stuff to leverage. As time moves on there are always newer versions of IIS/SQL server with new features to take advantage of, new 3rd party frameworks that can be leveraged, new .net features and frameworks/patterns, new browsers / mobile devices to consider - just a bewildering never ending range of things to consider (and try and stay informed of to even be aware of). I think the format of these books are good at at least furthering awareness of the best practice and new stuff of the day and distilling that into an approach to achieve a practical objective.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 01:15 PM
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"Time constraints" are the #1 reason I hear from people not switching to MVC. Pardon me for saying so, but it's just not a valid excuse.

The basics of the MVC pattern can be learned in an afternoon. Going through the tutorials at asp.net/mvc is more than enough to get you up to speed.

And remember, MVC is built on top of ASP.NET, so all of your existing knowledge is still valid. Same data access, same IIS, same everything else.

I think the PDS series should continue, but I just don't think it should use WebForms is all I'm saying.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 02:06 PM
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Well, unfortunately its not just time to learn MVC which I agree is fairly straight forward to understand - it sometimes requires extra effort in change management to debate/review/justify/implement new standard architectures/frameworks for all developers to comply with within an organisation that is fairly rigid in its standard approach, on top of dealing with all the urgent crap of the day in an under resourced department which is the main time and effort. I'm not disagreeing with you about MVC which is a separate debate - I'm just trying to highlight the merits of the general approach of the PDS series in the hope it will continue. The fact that up till now the books chose webforms is just a detail. I agree it shouldn't be set in stone if there's now a better way that you clearly believe includes MVC, and would be a great chapter in the next version of the book describing the pros and cons of each as a design choice and justifying the choice of MVC. For me that's the main value of the book right there that makes it worth its weight in gold - how design choices are made to meet typical requirements and arrive at best practice solutions. I've bought tons of books over the years on particular topics but I've found this series by far the best value. Once you have the big picture view its then far easier for the reader to put everything into context and then drill down to source any extra information on particular topics outside the scope of the book as required.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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I agree with you on the value of the series overall.

There is a detailed chapter in the Nick Berardi Wrox MVC book on choosing between MVC and WebForms, which I believe is actually re-posted on his blog (coderjournal.com), so it's free for the reading. There are also some resources at the asp.net website

Keep in mind that I don't agree 100% with everything that Nick wrote, but that being said, there are still some excellent insights in there.

I believe there are only 2 main reasons one might want/need to stay with WebForms. One is organizational inertia, which you already addressed. The other is if one lacks knowledge of HTTP, HTML and CSS. You really do need a solid grasp on that stuff to work effectively with MVC, as you don't have server controls or postbacks to rely on.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 04:06 PM
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I wouldn't say its lack of knowledge either that developers may chose webforms over mvc for example. Any design choice is to be considered in the context of the immediate and possible future requirements. Another reason to choose webforms is in quickly achieving a simple clear cut urgent business objective. The business user doesn't care if you've adopted MVC, they just want results fast and webforms makes it easy to throw up a page or two that lets them browse the data they want, and usually about 2-3 years later that little app will be completely superseded by something else anyway. The MVC pattern has been around before ASP.Net though sometimes you'd think Microsoft has just invented it and we now all need to change our 'old' clunky ways to the 'new'. Unfortunately there will never be one magic bullet solution for all problems.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Well, I mention this because one of the original objectives of WebForms was (and still is) to abstract away things like the request pipeline, markup, design, and so forth. If one doesn't have strong knowledge of those things, then that is an argument in favor of WebForms. That being said, if one doesn't have that knowledge, maybe that person shouldn't be programming for the web in the first place.

In response to your comment, I would maintain that using WebForms to "quickly achieve a simple clear cut urgent business objective" is a straw man argument. With the MVC scaffolding tools available in Visual Studio there is absolutely no time advantage in using WebForms at all. None whatsoever. And once you get beyond very basic CRUD operations, the time spent in fighting the WebForms abstractions quickly becomes a time-suck in itself. I can honestly say that MVC lets me be far, far more productive than WebForms ever did.

And nobody, especially me, is claiming MVC is original to Microsoft, or is a "magic bullet" of any kind. Bit it IS a vast improvement over WebForms in virtually every way possible. I don't think there is much argument over that.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 06:13 PM
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Sorry, I don't want to appear as arguing against your points about MVC - just felt sucked into attempting to play devils advocate as you seem so disparaging of anyone using webforms!. I agree that there are better application frameworks to use including Microsoft's implementation of the MVC pattern.

I just want to reiterate my original point and emphasize how much I value the format of these series of books in the hope that my appreciation, as well as those of others will convince Wrox to continue the series. It would also be good if they could apply the same problem/design/solution structure and writing style as 2.0 to other more advanced topics.

In the meantime I've put in a preorder for the new MVC book
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