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Old December 28th, 2007, 09:16 AM
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Default Which Book?


I have been working with PHP for a number of years and I would like to get started with ASP.NET as we're moving from a LAMP environment to IIS 6.0.

I just bought the book Beginning ASP.NET and Databases and it wasn't quite what I expected, I learnt to program in PHP from Wrox's Beginning PHP and thought it would be something like that! What I need is a Wrox book that goes from the basics, declaring variables, loops, includes etc... but I have no idea which book to go for! I want to work in 2.0 or 3/3.5 but I would have thought any decent 2.0 book would get me started.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Old December 31st, 2007, 03:23 AM
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In the first place, what you're experiencing is normal. .NET isn't a programming language, so trying to dive in from ANYTHING else is a bit odd. That's what gives it it's power on the one hand. MS was really thinking outside the box with .NET and built some great stuff, but many of it's key advantages have no equivalents. That makes it odd/hard to learn. For that reason it's pretty difficult to learn it from the ground up, I'd recommend jumping in and being open to "swimming" in whatever direction you find your interest taking you. But starting with a good IDE will let you build something useful while you figure things out.

.NET is really a conglomeration of technologies and techniques, anything that makes application design, developement, etc. all the way to user experience easier/faster/more powerful has been built together. Considering how seemless it all works together, that's pretty amazing. If I had to pick a place to start, I would start with Visual Web Developer 2008 Express. I'm not sure there are any books out on it yet (Imar is coming out with one pretty soon I think). But as a PHP developer there are several advantages to it. One the 2005 edition still depended HEAVILY on inline style information which is... yeah, old. 2008 has much better CSS support. It also has autocompletion for Javascript so for the first time you can use VWD to do a good job not just on your server side code, but your front end design as well. I think all the previous versions would drive you a bit bonkers for how archaic those implementations used to be. That would also let you work with .NET Framework 3.5, the latest version and there's a distinct advantage to that. Everyone else working in 3.5 is new and getting used to things as well, so everyone else kinda looks like a newbie as well. There will be a lot of people asking the same really fundamental basic kinds of questions that otherwise you might feel like an idiot asking... well, we're all idiots in 3.5 right now. ;) And while I haven't had a chance to dive into them yet, there's a lot of good help material. Contrary to usual MS procedure, the help files that come with VWD are pretty impressive. The MSDN libraries contain excellent walkthroughs that will literally walk you step by step through different procedures from scratch. The .NET website includes video tutorials, mostly aimed at 2005 users upgrading, but probably useful to you all the same. And you can search the objects of the framework to get information about properties and methods, as well as syntax and usage. You have to be a little persistent sometimes, and you'll hit bumps that you can only solve by popping into a forum... like here ;) to ask questions.

But that'd be my recommendation to get started. Imar's book on Beginning .NET 3.5 is supposed to be out in March. http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTit...47018759X.html

Until then there's only an older beginner's book on 2.0 at http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTit...470042583.html


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Old January 1st, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Yep, working on the final bits and pieces now. Book should be out in March....

Imar Spaanjaars
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 05:02 PM
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MachTzu: Sorry to read you were disappointed with the Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 and Databases book. I probably needed to do a better job differentiating the description for that from the the approach in the main Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 book.

In any event, yes, if you can wait for 3.5 until Imar's excellent new book is available in March, I think you'll be very pleased with it.

Jim Minatel
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