I've always enjoyed watching (at various Tech-Ed, etc. presentations) and reading the work of Fritz Onion. And, Keith Brown stands out as the undisputed leader in security issues, both for Windows OS and the .NET Platform. To see these two heavyweights teamed up in an Addison-Wesley .NET Development Series book with a foreword by "Mr. ASP.NET" ( my pet moniker for Scott Guthrie) -- is a real treat. And, you won't be disappointed.
Scott sets the stage:
"ASP.NET is now used daily by more than 2 million professional developers worldwide. It runs some of the most successful websites and applications in the world, including the most heavily visited site on the web today: MySpace.com (which now handles more than 1.5 billion page views each day using ASP.NET 2.0)."
Well! I don't visit Myspace.com, but at least I'm glad to hear that they've load - tested their app!
The thing I like the best about a book by Onion is that you can depend on it matching his personality: There are "generalists" and then there are "Master Mechanics". Onion is the mechanic type: he delights in getting under the hood, ferreting out all the little - known nuances of the Framework, and showing ways to put them to good use.
All the sample code in this book is drawn from working samples available for display and download at http://pluralsight.com/essentialasp.net2/. I've always said, if you are thinking about investing in a book, find out if they publish downloadable source code. Take a look at it, and this will go a long way toward helping you decide if you want to fork over your $45 (or whatever at the online discount booksellers). The site also has examples in VB.NET and a listing of all links and references mentioned in the book. If you have or have read Fritz' first "Essential" book, rest assured this is VOLUME TWO -- not "Second Edition" - it's all new content.
Here's a quick look at the table of contents on the AW site, and then I'll get into my comments.
In Chapter 1, "Architecture" Onion covers what I believe is one of the most important things developers need to familiarize themselves with - the ASP.NET 2.0 Page Lifecycle or "Pipeline". He does this in great detail, and covers related subjects that you may not have known anything about along the way. This is a very new book (Guthrie's Foreword was completed in September, 2006) and Fritz covers the new Web Application Project model very nicely.
Onion goes on in subsequent chapters to cover Data Binding, UI, MasterPages, Controls, State management, and then in Chapter 5 we get into Security with Membership, Roles, Profile and other providers. Chapter 6 jumps into WebParts, an area that I simply haven't had time to get into yet, but I can tell you that it will be coming up on my study list very soon! If you want a site where your users can custom configure what they want their pages to look like by dragging and dropping selected parts onto the page a -la Google Personalized Home Page, then this chapter is for you.
The rest of the chapters in the book deal with Diagnostics, Throttling, Profiles, Caching and Performance, Client Callbacks, and Asynchronicity in Page methods, a subject which I've dealt with in several articles here on EggheadCafe.com, a couple of which have drawn on Mr. Onion's work as one of the resources, among others.
In sum, let me just say that this is a very good book for those who already have a basic comfort level with ASP.NET 2.0 and are interested in starting to get "under the hood" a bit more. There are other books that are better at giving you the "ASP.NET 2.0 Basics 101" college - level course, so I would not recommend using Fritz' book as an ASP.NET 2.0" textbook. But, if you want to get deeper into the details, this book is well worth the price.
345pp including index, Sticker price: $44.99 US. Buy the book.