Review: ASP.NET in a Nutshell - A Desktop Quick Reference


ASP.NET in a Nutshell is the fast track way to get up-to-speed on Microsoft's next generation technology for building web enabled applications on the .NET platform.


The book is structured in three sections. Part 1 provides a high level overview of what ASP.NET is and discusses the new features such as Web Services, Server Controls, Data Access (ADO.NET), Security, Configuration, Error Handling, and Validation Controls. Part 2 is a reference to each of the major classes that are available as part of the ASP.NET object model. A chapter is devoted to each of the following classes:


 - Page

 - HttpApplication and HttpApplicationState

 - HttpContext

 - HttpException

 - HttpRequest

 - HttpResponse

 - HttpServerUtility

 - HttpSessionState


Part 3 provides a reference to the namespaces you'll most commonly come across while developing ASP.NET applications. Of all three sections, I found this section to be the least useful. Although each of the classes has an introductory reference, Most of the information here can be sourced easily from the MSDN documentation. Such a reference would have been better suited to a book on ASP, where the official documentation was somewhat scarce.


The books introductory chapters start out with code examples written in both VB.NET and C#, however as you progress further through the book the samples are provided in VB.NET only. This is not such a bad thing, but I would have preferred it had the authors stuck to one language throughout the book, or give consistent examples throughout the book in both languages.


This is not a book for beginners. For those readers just starting out with ASP.NET or with little to no web development experience, I would suggest reading other titles such as Programming ASP.NET (O'Reilly) or Professional ASP.NET  (Wrox Press) before purchasing ASP.NET in a Nutshell.


At the end of the day, ASP.NET in a Nutshell provides a good quick reference to the fundamentals of ASP.NET, with excellent tutorials and "How To's" throughout. Despite the namespace reference providing only a little more than the MSDN documentation, the first two sections more than make up for those 300 odd pages of filler. And If you're willing to live with most of the example being written in VB.NET then this book is definitely a worthwhile purchase.