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BOOK: Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 BOOK VB ISBN: 978-0-7645-8850-1; C# ISBN: 978-0-470-04258-8
This is the forum to discuss the Wrox book Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 by Chris Hart, John Kauffman, David Sussman, Chris Ullman; ISBN: 9780764588501
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Old January 16th, 2006, 05:22 PM
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Default I've read some bad reviews; what do readers think?

I want to learn ASP.NET and especially VBScript, but I've read some pretty bad reviews of this book and I was just wondering what the readers' experiences were.

Usually Wrox books are excellent, though I wasn't impressed with the Access 2000 VBA book, and I was wondering if the readers would lump this book in with the goodies or baddies. :D

A little about my background...I am not a programmer per se; I'm a database developer who struggles with excruciating VBA since I've still never found a good book for it; so I need a book that moves at my speed (SLOW). I know HTML, some JavaScript, some CSS. Will I find this book to be too steep?

Thanks.

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Old January 16th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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Hi. I'm curious if you could point me to the bad reviews you've read of Beginning ASP.NET 2.0. The only review to date on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764588508
is 5 star and the review itself is getting useful feedback.

I also recently read this good review at VBUG:
http://www.vbug.com/articles/informa...ASP2Review.asp

There were admitedly some bad reviews of the 1.1 version books but this is a completely different book, rewritten from scratch for 2.0 and went through an improved process with a better technical editor to make it more error-free than the 1.1 books, and I think errors were the crux of the issue in the negative 1.1 reviews.

if you have seen some criticisms of the 2.0 book, please let us know. Thanks!

Jim Minatel
Senior Acquisitions Editor
Wiley Technology Publishing
WROX Press
Blog: http://wroxblog.typepad.com/
Jim's Book of the week: No book this week - Donate to the Red Cross!
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Old January 17th, 2006, 05:02 AM
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In addition I'd like to point out if you wish to learn VBScript, this isn't the book to do it. VBScript is the language you use with ASP. (or Javascript, or even Perlscript). Beginning ASP 3.0 is your book then, and as the best selling book on ASP, it is as good a place to start as any, if you just want to pick up classic ASP and VBScript. It's reviews on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076...books&v=glance - average 4.5/5 for 102 reviews. Yes I'm biased :-) I wrote a lot of it ok.

With .NET 1.0/1.1 and 2.0, you need to learn VB.NET and with the greatest respect to VBscript this is quite a magnitude of difference. As for bad reviews, yes we hold our hands up that the 1.1 edition wasn't what people expected and fell a bit awkwardly between two stools (as well as having more errors than it should have). However I think the main sticking point was the use of ASP.NET web matrix. Previously in Beginning ASP 3.0 we had endorsed the opposite view point - "Don't use any IDEs, they get in the way, just use Notepad." However there was a strong rationale behind using it. We knew about Visual Web Developer and the Express editions long before they were public knowledge, however we were NDA'ed on them. The 1.1 edition was a way of prodding people towards using an IDE such as ASP.NET Web matrix, as this was going to be the way that ASP.NET 2.0 was going to go. ASP.NET Web Matrix shares a lot of similarities with VWD Express edition.

I know people still use Notepad to edit pages, but in our opinion, with code behind and the (then) looming release of some free IDE tools, which we believed to be very powerful and way better better than what existed in the time of ASP 3.0, were a great reason to start using IDEs for ASP.NET development.

Basically my feeling is - although you can put code in the same place as your content in <script> tags, you should be separating it out. I work with designers and I'd rather they didn't mess with the underlying code and I'm sure they'd rather I didn't ruin the design. With code behind, really you need an IDE to connect the two pages seamlessly. We rewrote Beg ASP.NET 2.0 from scratch, new app, new everything. We took on board criticisms from readers on Amazon and our peers (rather than saying we know best) and hopefully addressed the main concerns and delivered a much improved book. Of course what's important is that you like it, and if you don't please tell us why - but please give us the benefit of reading it first and not trusting reviews of old editions.

Chris




Chris Ullman
Programmer/Technical Author
http://www.cuasp.co.uk
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Old January 17th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by jminatel
 Hi. I'm curious if you could point me to the bad reviews you've read of Beginning ASP.NET 2.0. The only review to date on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764588508
is 5 star and the review itself is getting useful feedback.

I also recently read this good review at VBUG:
http://www.vbug.com/articles/informa...ASP2Review.asp

There were admitedly some bad reviews of the 1.1 version books but this is a completely different book, rewritten from scratch for 2.0 and went through an improved process with a better technical editor to make it more error-free than the 1.1 books, and I think errors were the crux of the issue in the negative 1.1 reviews.

if you have seen some criticisms of the 2.0 book, please let us know. Thanks!

Jim Minatel
Senior Acquisitions Editor
Wiley Technology Publishing
WROX Press
Blog: http://wroxblog.typepad.com/
Jim's Book of the week: No book this week - Donate to the Red Cross!
Ah; well, I read the review on Amazon.co.uk which wasn't great (2 out of 5 stars), and I've heard some pretty rotten things via word-of-mouth, mostly that there are typos (show me a book that doesn't have typos) and that it's not well-written.††Basically everything I've heard has been negative, and that surprised me since Wrox books are usually really good (except Beginning Access 2000 VBA).††I thought this would be a good place to get some input from more readers before making up my mind on whether to purchase this book.

Updated with link to Beginning ASP.NET 2.0's Amazon.co.uk link with poor review:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...172555-5386825
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Old January 17th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Chrisull
 In addition I'd like to point out if you wish to learn VBScript, this isn't the book to do it. VBScript is the language you use with ASP. (or Javascript, or even Perlscript). Beginning ASP 3.0 is your book then, and as the best selling book on ASP, it is as good a place to start as any, if you just want to pick up classic ASP and VBScript. It's reviews on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076...books&v=glance - average 4.5/5 for 102 reviews. Yes I'm biased :-) I wrote a lot of it ok.

With .NET 1.0/1.1 and 2.0, you need to learn VB.NET and with the greatest respect to VBscript this is quite a magnitude of difference. As for bad reviews, yes we hold our hands up that the 1.1 edition wasn't what people expected and fell a bit awkwardly between two stools (as well as having more errors than it should have). However I think the main sticking point was the use of ASP.NET web matrix. Previously in Beginning ASP 3.0 we had endorsed the opposite view point - "Don't use any IDEs, they get in the way, just use Notepad." However there was a strong rationale behind using it. We knew about Visual Web Developer and the Express editions long before they were public knowledge, however we were NDA'ed on them. The 1.1 edition was a way of prodding people towards using an IDE such as ASP.NET Web matrix, as this was going to be the way that ASP.NET 2.0 was going to go. ASP.NET Web Matrix shares a lot of similarities with VWD Express edition.

I know people still use Notepad to edit pages, but in our opinion, with code behind and the (then) looming release of some free IDE tools, which we believed to be very powerful and way better better than what existed in the time of ASP 3.0, were a great reason to start using IDEs for ASP.NET development.

Basically my feeling is - although you can put code in the same place as your content in <script> tags, you should be separating it out. I work with designers and I'd rather they didn't mess with the underlying code and I'm sure they'd rather I didn't ruin the design. With code behind, really you need an IDE to connect the two pages seamlessly. We rewrote Beg ASP.NET 2.0 from scratch, new app, new everything. We took on board criticisms from readers on Amazon and our peers (rather than saying we know best) and hopefully addressed the main concerns and delivered a much improved book. Of course what's important is that you like it, and if you don't please tell us why - but please give us the benefit of reading it first and not trusting reviews of old editions.

Chris




Chris Ullman
Programmer/Technical Author
http://www.cuasp.co.uk
Thanks for the input Chris; I do want to learn VBScript for purposes other than ASP but I can't for the life of me find an instructive manual for it that isn't hopelessly out of date. There are some recently-written language references around, but those won't do me much good if I don't already know the language.

I also want to learn ASP, though, and if things are going the VB.NET route, I'm not sure how much effort I should expend learning VBScript.

I confess to being a 'Visual Notepad' user; I still write all my SQL queries in it by hand, then cut and paste them to SQL Server's Query Analyzer, and I use it exclusively for HTML. I still use it for XML too *blush* because I can't find a decent free tool for XML editing. I'm all for helpful IDEs, though old habits die hard!

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Old January 17th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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Thanks for pointing out the amazon.co.uk review. Sorry to see that. It is rather difficult for me or the authors to respond definitively though since that particular reviewer didn't cite any specific examples of errors.

No book I know of is perfect but at least in terms of reported errors, this one seems far better than average so far. The errata list here:
http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTit...ew_errata.html
has been kept fairly up-to-date, which admitedly isn't the case for every book we've published. In addition to the 5 errata there, I know of about 5 more that are either winding their way through the posting process or are in the process of being double checked before posting. Considering the number of readers who have purchased the book (it is a very good seller so far) I'm confident that the book came out on the clean side or I'd be seeing many more error reports.

I too would be interested though in the responses from other Beg ASP.NET 2.0 readers to see if they think the book is better or worse than average. Most of the feedback I've received informally has been of the "great book" variety but hopefully a couple of other readers will step in to share their opinions.

BTW, on VBScript, the VBScript Programmer's Reference 2nd edition:
http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTit...764559931.html
was published in mid-2004 and I think is still very up-to-date. I wasn't the editor on that book but I know the authors' (both Kingsley-Hughes) reputations to be very good and that the book has sold fairly well. I haven't check out reviews on it though. The nice thing about the Programmer's Reference is that the first part of the book does teach the lanhuage while it's the 2nd part that is a more pure reference. Hope this helps.

Jim Minatel
Senior Acquisitions Editor
Wiley Technology Publishing
WROX Press
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Old January 17th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by jminatel
 Thanks for pointing out the amazon.co.uk review. Sorry to see that. It is rather difficult for me or the authors to respond definitively though since that particular reviewer didn't cite any specific examples of errors.

No book I know of is perfect but at least in terms of reported errors, this one seems far better than average so far. The errata list here:
http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTit...ew_errata.html
has been kept fairly up-to-date, which admitedly isn't the case for every book we've published. In addition to the 5 errata there, I know of about 5 more that are either winding their way through the posting process or are in the process of being double checked before posting. Considering the number of readers who have purchased the book (it is a very good seller so far) I'm confident that the book came out on the clean side or I'd be seeing many more error reports.

I too would be interested though in the responses from other Beg ASP.NET 2.0 readers to see if they think the book is better or worse than average. Most of the feedback I've received informally has been of the "great book" variety but hopefully a couple of other readers will step in to share their opinions.
That's what I was hoping for...I don't want to base a purchase on one opinion, either negative (as on Amazon.co.uk) or positive (as on Amazon.com), as these books are terribly expensive for us in the UK and I don't want to waste money. I do have a shelf already full of computer books that I don't use, though only one of them is a Wrox book. Like I said, usually Wrox books (and I own several on SQL, plus the older editions of Beginning XML and Beginning JavaScript) are excellent, though I'm gun-shy since the Access book.

Quote:
quote:BTW, on VBScript, the VBScript Programmer's Reference 2nd edition:
http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTit...764559931.html
was published in mid-2004 and I think is still very up-to-date. I wasn't the editor on that book but I know the authors' (both Kingsley-Hughes) reputations to be very good and that the book has sold fairly well. I haven't check out reviews on it though. The nice thing about the Programmer's Reference is that the first part of the book does teach the lanhuage while it's the 2nd part that is a more pure reference. Hope this helps.

Jim Minatel
It does; the fact that the VBScript book includes a language tutorial is extremely helpful. I have a VB/VBA reference (from O'Reilly) which has a brief language tutorial at the beginning, but I didn't find it to be very instructive. (Programming has always been difficult for me to learn, except for HTML and Transact-SQL!)

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Old January 17th, 2006, 05:33 PM
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This is really aggravating. Today, I bought the Acrobat version of the book from amazon.com, and I bought it specifically because "The book provides examples in both Visual Basic and C#".

I have no interest whatsoever in learning VB.NET. What makes this especially annoying is that the error in the book's description has been known for two months, and it's still sitting there on Amazon's site.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 06:09 PM
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Rob: I'm frustrated too, probably not as frustrated (agrravated or annoyed too) as you but frustrated anyway. The description of the ebook is supposed to mirror the description of the paperback book. I corrected the paperback book description as soon as I found out about the error (MY error - I'm not dodging any blame here) back in late Nov but now 2 months later I've got another Wrox customer upset because the correction didn't roll over to the ebook. In fact, looking at the Amazon UK site, it's still got the old text too. So, I'll get that fixed as well.

We will have C# cod available for this book. It's being written now due to all the requests for it, and it still has to be tech reviewed for accuracy. I apologize that we can't get it to you faster, for my original mistake that led to this, and for our inability to find all of the resulting misinformation and eliminate it.

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Old January 18th, 2006, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by disruptivehair

Thanks for the input Chris; I do want to learn VBScript for purposes other than ASP but I can't for the life of me find an instructive manual for it that isn't hopelessly out of date.††There are some recently-written language references around, but those won't do me much good if I don't already know the language.††

I also want to learn ASP, though, and if things are going the VB.NET route, I'm not sure how much effort I should expend learning VBScript.††

I confess to being a 'Visual Notepad' user; I still write all my SQL queries in it by hand, then cut and paste them to SQL Server's Query Analyzer, and I use it exclusively for HTML.††I still use it for XML too *blush* because I can't find a decent free tool for XML editing.††I'm all for helpful IDEs, though old habits die hard!††
Ok can I inquire what specifically do you need VBscript for? My personal tendency would be to learn Javascript if you want to do some client-side scripting, as it's universal to all browsers (Firefox, Opera, Netscape) and not just IE. I think originally VBscript was a nice route into VB, but now you have things like weak typing in VBscript, that no longer exist in VB.NET (ie you can say Dim newVariable in Vbscript but in VB.NET you have to show your hand and say Dim newVariable as Integer or Dim newVariable as String).

Now I know some developers who prefer things the "old way" but I'd argue that VBscript's practice leads to spaghetti coding - lots of very big programs, poor observance of object oriented practices (so no code re-use) and much poorer performance. The upside it is quite a bit easier to learn.

As you already know some Javascript, I think you're a step ahead. It has of course the painful case sensitivity (so newvariable and NewVariable are two different variables) and far too many brackets, but it's universality is a big upside . Plus if you're going to ever learn C#, then Javascript isn't that dis-similar in basic syntactic structures...

As for IDEs - nothing wrong with Notepad for Sql queries, I find dynamic SQL builders a pain in the proverbial. In fact I stayed away from IDEs for a long time, it's only the practice of code behind that forces me into using them for ASP.NET, and the intelli-sense which helps me remember methods and properties I'd otherwise need to look up in a book.

OK in conclusion if you still want to learn VBScript, Beg ASP 3.0 is the best book in the Wrox canon for doing this. It teaches the whole VBscript structures in chapters 4 and 5 very thoroughly. There was an Instant Vbscript book and a VBscript reference, but if you want slow, I haven't been involved in writing a "slower" book than Beg ASP 3.0, and I'd recommend it above the other two (both of which I was involved in to a lesser degree). It is the easiest route in, however some of the principles learned in ASP then are "forgotten" in ASP.NET.

If you want to learn ASP.NET 2.0, then Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 is our entry there. With regards to bad reviews, well the guy on Amazon.co.uk doesn't quote any particular mistakes, all we can do is correct mistakes as we find them. And again word of mouth, well if you can get people to let us know what specifically is wrong, we'll respond. Editions can be corrected between prints. As to your concern about speed - beginning ASP.NET starts slow but does crack on a bit between chapters 6 and 13, but I don't think impossibly so, it is intended to be a beginner's book.

If you want VB.NET specifically you might find that Beginning VB.NET runs at a slower pace and is worth checking out. Of course there are offerings from other publishers, and you might want to compare against their offerings (I would, not because we're bad and I wouldn't recommend our books, but because you should always look for what suits you best).

One last reason for sticking Wrox apart from the books I'd say is support. Are there many other forums where the authors and staff would log on and answer questions for you? If you choose to buy Beg ASp.NET 2.0 and you do get into difficulties, myself or Dave (or indeed some of the other authors) are here to try and point you in the right direction.

Chris

Chris Ullman
Programmer/Technical Author
http://www.cuasp.co.uk
 


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