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-   BOOK: Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 : in C# and VB BOOK ISBN: 978-0-470-18759-3 (http://p2p.wrox.com/forumdisplay.php?f=389)
-   -   Disagreement with "Who this book is for" (http://p2p.wrox.com/showthread.php?t=67106)

jminatel April 2nd, 2008 07:38 PM

Disagreement with "Who this book is for"
 
[Edited 4/19]
OK, this was originally my posting of the book's introduction. But as the spirited discussion has gone off really on a tangent, and since I don't want to play the evil role of forum censor, I think the softest approach is what I'm doing here: I've edit my original post and moved it to the book forum with all of the responses intact and I'll repost the introduction.
[edited 4/20] Sorry for the confusion that my splitting of the topic caused!

Here's the section that sparked the discussion:
Whom This Book Is For
This book is for anyone who wants to learn how to build rich and interactive web sites that run on the Microsoft platform. With the knowledge you gain from this book, you create a great foundation to build any type of web site, ranging from simple hobby-related web sites to sites you may be creating for commercial purposes.
Anyone new to web programming should be able to follow along because no prior background in web development is assumed. The book starts at the very beginning of web development by showing you how to obtain and install Visual Web Developer. The chapters that follow gradually introduce you to new technologies, building on top of the knowledge gained in the previous chapters.
Do you have a strong preference for Visual Basic over C# or the other way around? Or do you think both languages are equally cool? Or maybe you haven't made up your mind yet and want to learn both languages? Either way, you'll like this book because all code examples are presented in both languages!
Even if you're already familiar with previous versions of ASP.NET, with the 1.x versions in particular, you may gain a lot from this book. Although many concepts from ASP.NET 2.0 are brought forward into ASP.NET 3.5, you'll discover there's a host of new stuff to be found in this book, including an introduction to LINQ, the new CSS and JavaScript debugging tools, new ASP.NET controls, and integrated support for ASP.NET Ajax.

Jim Minatel
Acquisitions Director
Wiley Technology Publishing
WROX Press
Blog: http://wroxblog.typepad.com/
Wrox online library: http://wrox.books24x7.com

mii2029 April 14th, 2008 10:06 PM

I would have to take issue with your intended target audience. I believe there is of the reader an assumed working knowledge of programming. I spent 3 weeks going through this book to hopefully learn how to develop an interactive database driven web page, so I could convert an Excel macro to a web based form. I am no closer to understanding how to do it now than I was before reading the book.

Though no fault of the author, there were aspects of the book, particularly with emailing, that I could never get to work (my provider was at fault). However, I still do not understand most of the "code words" like attribute, property, namespace, style, class, parent/child, page "life", etc., or the relational database thing ( which, unfortunately, I think is key to making my web page work the way I want it to), or why there are two pages of code for every web page (huh?). It just doesn't make any sense, and I am, frankly, lost. It doesn't help that there is no documentation with VWD to figure out how to accomplish a task. MS online help has historically been marginal at best, but the one for VWD is positively abhorrent.

There are several improvements that could be made to the book. First is to dumb it down and really explain in elementary detail the who, what, when, where, why, and how of every concept/"code word" one is supposed to know. Next, provide a glossary of all of the "code words" used in the book. By the time one is finished with the book, previous topics are long since forgotten. Finally, provide a list of all of the "code words" one can use along with their respective formats and a real world example of how to use each.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to duplicate something read in a book, or found in a google search, only to find it doesn't work and not having a clue why. That's been my situation since I started trying to learn ASP, or whatever this is.


planoie April 14th, 2008 10:51 PM

mii2029 -

I'm sorry that you are disappointed with the book so far. I was the lead technical editor on it and worked very closely with the author helping to develop the road map of the material as well as the actual technical editing, code review and testing. I feel we have developed a very good beginners books. One could argue that my review may not be able to provide the necessary perspective of someone completely unfamiliar with programming in general and web programming specifically. In this vain, Wrox did something that I believe is fairly uncommon which was to have the manuscript reviewed by some individuals who would consider themselves to be closer to the unexperienced end of the spectrum. We received lots of useful feedback from those reviewers and it helped to influence the material and enhance the final product.

The only defense I can offer is this: Unfortunately, with a subject matter as complex as "Data driven ASP.NET web sites" there are too many sub-areas to cover them all thoroughly in a single text. Take nearly any chapter in this book and you are likely to find entire volumes dedicated to the chapter's subject (for example: security, style/design, databases, user controls, etc). Surely enough, Wrox offers many of those books as well. A book that covers the material this one does to the level of detail you describe would be unmanageably large and prohibitively expensive to be practical.

You do raise some valid points regarding the areas of coverage. There could be many of the features you described in this book. However, one could argue that getting into an area of technology like this essentially marries one into the understanding that one can never know it all and no resource can provide it all. There are simply too many possibilities and not enough hours in the day.

I was asked to review and edit this text because of my experience with the technology. Granted, this text covered some ground that I had yet to tread, but there were also areas that my feet were quite familiar (so I thought) yet I saw things I'd never seen before. There were plenty of occasions when I encountered something I was unfamiliar with or could not classify as correct or incorrect so I had to go off and do my own research to learn and verify it. In some cases I simply had to build something and test it. There is no end of the road on the trip of knowledge. There often won't be road signs to guide you so you must simply turn off and explore on your own.

All I can recommend is that you keep at it. There is a particular programming book that I have read cover to cover nearly twice, and I keep going back to it because the concepts are just unfamiliar to me. Go back and read this book again. Try the code out again, change it, see what happens. Explore. Hopefully you'll pick it up and start to enjoy the technology like many of us have. When you encounter terminology that isn't explained enough, defer to google. You're likely to find the answer. When in doubt, ask here. The two most regular occupants of this forum are the two people who were closest to this book's creation. We'll be happy to answer questions you have.

Good luck!

Regards,

-Peter
peterlanoie.blog

Imar April 15th, 2008 12:06 PM

I couldn't agree with you more, Peter.

Most of what you said is also what I said in a personal e-mail sent to mii2029. mii2029: never heard back from you; did you even get that messages or were there e-mail problems again?

I also agree with Peter that this forum is the best place to get help: ask anything you like, from a simple explanation of terms, to more extensive questions about code or other topics from the book, and I'll do my best to answer them.

Cheers,

Imar
---------------------------------------
Imar Spaanjaars
http://Imar.Spaanjaars.Com
Everyone is unique, except for me.
Author of Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 : in C# and VB, ASP.NET 2.0 Instant Results and Dreamweaver MX 2004
Want to be my colleague? Then check out this post.

mii2029 April 18th, 2008 10:52 PM

Yes, I did get your email, Imar. To be fair I don't like computers in the first place. I have no patience for them. I expect them to do what they're told, when they're told; and have no tolerance for them telling me they can't do something, especially when they spit back a page of some meaningless garbage that only Microsoft can understand. That is a skill ASP is exceedingly good at. I use them because I have to, not out of desire.

If ASP is so complex, then what is the point of the book? Is it to learn ASP, or is it to learn VWD? I don't know. I'm so confused I don't even know where to start. And the total lack of any support documentation for VWD, in true Microsoft fashion...well...I won't go there.

It took me 6 weeks to write 3200 lines of code for the Macro I'm trying to migrate (what the heck is a macro anyway?). That experience was painful enough. Now, because of limitations in Excel and company policy against using Access, I'm being forced to make this thing into a web format. ASP seemed to be the best approach, primarily from the database standpoint, but also because I could use VB, which is what I used for the macro. So far, in 6 weeks of "using" ASP all I have is most of the layout of one page with a drop down list that steadfastly refuses to do what I want. Why?, because some moron decided a drop down list can only use two columns in a database table. I need eleven. So, that's forcing me to resort to Select/case and if/then statements, which of course, defeats the whole purpose of having a database table in the first place. What a brilliant design.... And this is only the beginning.

I need a resource that gives me enough basic information to have some clue as to what to search for in Google. To me, that means there needs to be a glossary for important "code words" (I use that term deliberately as I don't know what else to call them), and a VERY thorough explanation of them (even if it means dumbing it down to a third grade level). That also means that if they can be manipulated you take the time to explain how and what each part of the command is supposed to do and how to structure them. This book failed in that regard. The figure I mentioned in the email was a good example of what I'm talking about. If there are too many available "code words" that's fine; refer the reader to another book, which you did throughout. But for Pete's sake explain the ones you do use. I stand by my assertion that the book was written for someone with more than none to minimal programming experience. What little I have was quite insufficient to understand what was being presented in this book.

Chris Nichols


planoie April 18th, 2008 11:16 PM

I think you are being a bit harsh.
Quote:

quote:Originally posted by mii2029
 I expect them to do what they're told, when they're told

My computer does exactly what I tell it, generally when I tell it to. When it gives me garbage back, it's typically because I gave it garbage in because I a) made a mistake or b) don't know what I'm doing.

Quote:

quote:Originally posted by mii2029
 ...with a drop down list that steadfastly refuses to do what I want. Why?, because some moron decided a drop down list can only use two columns in a database table.

The "moron" you speak of was the person who designed HTML. This was done many years ago, before ASP.NET, before ASP and very likely before anyone even thought that we'd be building database driven HTML sites. Please, be reasonable.

Quote:

quote:Originally posted by mii2029
 I need a resource that gives me enough basic information to have some clue as to what to search for in Google. To me, that means there needs to be a glossary for important "code words"...

Do you need a glossary of words that you don't know so that you know you should google them? Is the presence of unfamiliar terms not enough to provide you the information you need? Perhaps we should just have taken every unique word in the book and provided an addendum comprised of the lexicological origin and history, every definition permutation and, to be current, the results of a google search for the word. Oh wait... that's called the internet.

-Peter
peterlanoie.blog

Imar April 19th, 2008 08:33 AM

Hi Chris,

While I'll try to help you wherever you can to make this work, I don't think you're fair or realistic towards computers, programming, my book and life in general. I'll tackle some of the issues you brought up and give my view on them.
Quote:

quote:To be fair I don't like computers in the first place. I have no patience for them. I expect them to do what they're told, when they're told;
I am not trying to be funny, but then maybe you're in the wrong business. Maybe you don't need a training or a good book, but you need a consultant or programmer that writes the code for you, so you can focus on what you're good at.
Quote:

quote:and have no tolerance for them telling me they can't do something, especially when they spit back a page of some meaningless garbage that only Microsoft can understand. That is a skill ASP is exceedingly good at. I use them because I have to, not out of desire.
I don't think this is fair either. Most of the times, the error messages provide a lot of information. Simply copying and pasting the error message in Google gives you many pages with helpful tips, ideas and solutions.
Quote:

quote:If ASP is so complex, then what is the point of the book?
ASP.NET (you keep mentioning ASP which is now referred to as "classic ASP". The book deals with ASP.NET exclusively) by itself is not that complex. However, in order to make good web sites, you need to master many different technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, VB or C#, database design and programming and what more. My book introduces you to each of those technologies, and does that well. But remember: it's called Beginning ASP.NET. It doesn't say "Become a professional web developer in just a few days even if you don't like computers". Mastering ASP.NET takes time; a lot. My book is just a start, but you'll need other books to widen and deepen your knowledge on any of the other topics I mentioned.
Quote:

quote:And the total lack of any support documentation for VWD, in true Microsoft fashion...well...I won't go there.
What???? You must be either out of your mind, or someone stole your F1 key. Try this:

[New Sites]
1. In VWD, choose File New Web Site
2.Press F1
3. Read this: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/33ch9sfb.aspx

You get introductions to creating local sites, file system based sites, IIS remote sites and what more. The same page shows you the different icons and what they mean. It explains the differences between file based and HTTP based web sites and so on.

[Projects]
1. Highlight a project, press F4 to bring up the Properties Grid and Press F1.
2. You are taken to: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/z15yzzew.aspx which shows you to modify your project, including an explanation of relevant project and solution settings and building (compiling) sites.

[CSS Editing]
1. Open up a CSS file
2. Press F1. You are taken here: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/6yw92e07.aspx
You get help about the CSS editor; it shows you how the Style Rule Dialog Box works, how to pick fonts and it links to an introduction to CSS.
3. Open up the style builder and press F1. You're taken here: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb907591.aspx
It shows you how to create new styles, how you can work with new and existing CSS files, shows you basic HTML editing in VWD and much more.

Finally, take a look here: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms178093.aspx It's the main index to help on VWD. It has thousands and thousands of free pages with information on about anything you can think of in VWD, all neatly organized in a well designed tree structure. Additionally, you can search the on-line help in case you have free format questions.

I could go on for hours like this. No help?? No help in true Microsoft fashion? Come on!! Get real!!
Quote:

quote:It took me 6 weeks to write 3200 lines of code for the Macro I'm trying to migrate (what the heck is a macro anyway?)
Heuh?
First: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=wikipedia+macro
And then you end up here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_%...ter_science%29
A three second search, a 5 minutes read, and a life-time use of knowledge of the word Macro and a bit more.
Quote:

quote:Why?, because some moron decided a drop down list can only use two columns in a database table.
Why are you judging so hard? Why is the designer of the drop-down a moron because you can only enter one field to display and one for the value? Why are you not a moron for not being able to convert a macro in 6 weeks? I am not saying you are one; I am just saying you shouldn't judge so hard. Maybe you don't like the behavior; fine. I can agree on that, but it's a fact of life if you want to stick to simple drop downs. However, again a quick Google search brings up stuff like the Telerik controls (although there are many other vendors as well): http://www.telerik.com/DEMOS/ASPNET/...DefaultCS.aspx

This particular demo shows three columns, but you can easily use 11 if you want.
Quote:

quote:If there are too many available "code words" that's fine; refer the reader to another book, which you did throughout.
In your e-mail you mentioned the following "code words" that you didn't understand. Again, I don't think your judgement on the book is fair. I listed the code words below and complemented them with the part of the book that describes them:

[Namespace]
Namespaces are nothing more than simple containers that you can refer to by name using the dot notation. They are used to prefix each data type that is available in your application.
(There's a lot more in that same section, with examples and more explanation but I don't want to repeat the entire book here)

[Properties]
Properties of an object are the characteristics the object has. Consider a Person object. What kind of properties does a Person have? It’s easy to come up with many different characteristics, but the most common are:
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Date of birth
This section is then followed by a through explanation and many code examples.

[Methods]
If properties are the things that a class has (its characteristics), then methods are the things a class can do. A car, for example, has characteristics such as Brand, Model, and Color. Its methods could be Drive(), Brake(), and OpenDoors(). Methods give objects the behavior that enables them to do something.

Again, followed by examples in VB and C#, with a thorough explanation.

[Classes]
Classes are the blueprints of objects. Just as you can use a single blueprint to build a bunch of similar houses, you can use a single class to create multiple instances of that class. So the class acts as the definition of the objects that you use in your application.

Once more, this is followed by step by step explanations, code examples and descriptions.

I could go on with this for CSS classes, attributes, elements, tags, themes, CSS and so on but I don't want to reproduce the book in its entirety here.
I don't think your judgement on the book is fair; it's all in there, in clear, concise and understandable English. You just overlooked things, or haven't read everything in the order you need to read it; or so it seems....
Quote:

quote:But for Pete's sake explain the ones you do use. I stand by my assertion that the book was written for someone with more than none to minimal programming experience. What little I have was quite insufficient to understand what was being presented in this book.
Without being funny or unnecessarily harsh: maybe you are in the wrong business. While I understand I cannot write a book that satisfies everyone, I do believe I have written one that works for most newbies, but also for more experienced developers. The book has been "written and tested against people completely new to the field" and research showed it worked well for them.

I am sorry it didn't work for you; maybe you need a different learning experience than these kind of books. Maybe a one-on-one tutor works better for you.....

Imar
---------------------------------------
Imar Spaanjaars
http://Imar.Spaanjaars.Com
Everyone is unique, except for me.
Author of Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 : in C# and VB, ASP.NET 2.0 Instant Results and Dreamweaver MX 2004
Want to be my colleague? Then check out this post.

VeganMan April 19th, 2008 08:27 PM

... the spirited discussion has gone off really on a tangent, and since I don't want to play the evil role of forum censor ... JIM???

What are you talking about Jim? I have seen no problem in the forum. Please let me know what you mean as it's so vague that it scares me to post in the forum. I have another book "Professional ASP.net ..." that I may get into after this book (I bought them at the same time.

If the problem is me, let me know so I can return the 'professional' book and I will not be such a headache to you, authors, or forum members.

---- Following is a response to Imar and Chris

I've never created a site using them. I've owned a graphic design company for 14 years and had to sell it do to being diagnosed with MS. I lost everything then, including my family.

After taking a few years off trying to obtain a sense of health, I came up with the idea of creating html based e-newsletter so I wouldn't have to use up my energy by leaving home to look for new work, etc (after all, e-newsletters means repeat business).

Although my original intent was to get into html e-newsletters three years ago, I having done one yet as all my clients just want websites. I've made some good money creating sites, but as of yet, they are all static html pages using CSS.

I've read Imar’s book on Dreamweaver MX 2004 and posted some things on the forum. The book and Imar’s support helped me tremendously.

I made a deal with a client to create a database driving website in exchange for the full version of Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection. The program didn't come in for 3 months so I cancelled the deal.

This I decided to buy it myself but was very concerned the same thing would happen to me, that my credit card would be held up $3000 plus for a few months with no program. (I have only one chance, financially speaking) So I decided to watch some videos on the master collection hoping to convince myself to buy it. That was when I heared that adobe still doesn't go beyond .net 1.0, and I also heard that they mey not support .net at all in the future.

With this concern, I looked around and found VWD express, etc. (Recently I found MS Expression - what the heck it that, is it better than VS Pro or a replacement, where do I invest my money?) I watch a couple months watching videos but still was not GETTING IT. Then I notice this book, Dreamweaver MX 2004 from Imar and remembered how helpful his previous book was (although I wasn't interested in asp.net then) and how helpful he was in the forum. Due to this, I bought his new book, Beginning asp.net 3.5 ..., and the Professional asp.net 3.5 at the same time. I have over 10 books from WROX and the only time I participated in the forums was related to Imar.

Due to watching the videos, much of what I read in the book so far isn't totally new to me. However, I feel I learned more, or have a greater understanding. WHY? Because Imar explains all the WHYs! This is something I found videos don't do. I found that many other books I've read don't do that.

What I was hoping to learn in this book or the professional one is how to create database NEWS websites. I still don't know how to place images or the reference to them in the database as well as news articles. I'm been looking for months. (Although I have a feeling the book may explain how to put images in databases)

Even if I don't get what I was originally looking for in the book, I still am a satisfied customer because the book explained the whys. (But chapter 4, yikes...) And Imar has helped me a lot in the forum, although they may seem trivial to others.

Even though I am just finishing chapter 12, I feel with what I learned in the book and in the forum paid for the book. And think, I still have many chapters to go and this forum to get extra help — and Imar’s help in the forum and the book explaining the whys is probably the main reasons why I stick with WROX books.

It would be great if Imar would make another one called Intermediate asp.net 3.5 so I'd have something to read before I get to the professional one, as it seems to overwhelming.

--- To Chris

The HOW IT WORKS section is great. I don't go on until I understand that, then I forget it and move on. Of course I forget, but I have ownership of the book as a reference book to easily find in the future (unlike videos). I think all designers and developers have reference books for the same reason. So I see myself as getting to know my reference books rather than learning to design. It helps me to not get so frustrated. Keep on keeping on.

Sorry for blabbing JIM.

(I'm not even going to read my post to see if it makes since. But I feel it's not problem with Imar because he gives us the freedom to make mistakes.)

Great book Imar and thanks for the extra help,

Terry

Imar April 20th, 2008 04:49 AM

Quote:

quote:If the problem is me, let me know so I can return the 'professional' book and I will not be such a headache to you, authors, or forum members.
Hi Terry,

I am 100% sure this is *not* about you. The whole purpose of the forum is to ask questions and get them answered which is exactly what you do. Don't worry about that.

What I think Jim meant was that his original post was an overview of the book, aimed to help new visitors determine what the book is all about. Shortly after that, Chris, Peter and I turned the thread into a discussion about the book, it's target audience, whether the inventor of the single item drop-down is a moron and whether Chris is in the right business...... ;) This clearly muddles the original intent of Jim's post so I think he made a wise decision to split his original post, and leave the section that triggered this discussion at the top of this thread for others to read and comment on.

So, sorry if you feel left out, but this has nothing to do with you.... ;)

I do appreciate your faith in my books and support of course.....

With regards to storing images or image paths in a database: check out this article: http://imar.spaanjaars.com/QuickDocId.aspx?quickdoc=414

Cheers,

Imar

---------------------------------------
Imar Spaanjaars
http://Imar.Spaanjaars.Com
Everyone is unique, except for me.
Author of Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 : in C# and VB, ASP.NET 2.0 Instant Results and Dreamweaver MX 2004
Want to be my colleague? Then check out this post.

VeganMan April 20th, 2008 05:23 AM

Imar,

Jim has said, "the spirited discussion has gone off really on a tangent..."

I found that totally insulting. I was insulted by it before I read anything from Peter or Chris. Do to that comment alone opened a door for Chris to express his frustration so I don't blame Chris. Who knows why Chris has bought the book. Perhaps it's a requirement for a school project.

Jim's comment even exasperated my own frustration about the book. But I withheld my own frustrations about the book, which is trivial condsidering no book is 100% perfect.

The comment is directed at someone (or many) posting in this forum and it's totally disrespectful. I guarantee that I will never buy a WROX book again unless the comment is withdrawn, with an apology to the members. At 45 years old, I know what's right and wrong.

Terry



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