A Preview of Active Server Pages+
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Book Review: A Preview of Active Server Pages+

Authors: Richard Anderson, Alex Homer, Rob Howard, Dave Sussman

Wrox Press (361pp)

Reviewed by: Peter Bromberg

With the NGWS Framework preview freely available from Microsoft to anyone who cares to download it, developers now have the outstanding opportunity to begin working with a new technology that, although still in "pre-beta" status, is considered "feature complete".

I was fortunate enough to be one of the 6,000 people who attended the Professional Developers Conference in Orlando in July 2000. There is no substitute for this in order to get a developer to "see the light" on a new technology. In sum, I was amazed at the power and substance of the NGWS framework that the gurus at Microsoft have been working on for the last two or three years. Visual Basic 7.0 with inheritance, strong typing and free threading (among many other enhancements) really got me excited. I've been playing with the Visual Studio .NET IDE, creating Webservices and using ASP+ and ADO+. I can't easily describe the development power that these new technologies bring to the table, other than to say that this is a major advancement in web development technology.

The Common Language Runtime opens up a whole new world for developers who can now use the IDE to program in VB, C#, Cobol, Eiffel, JavaScript and other languages that are being rolled out by excited third party vendors. While the idea of writing a web application in Cobol probably doesn't excite you, the idea of being able to inherit a class written in Visual Basic into your C# application should make some lightbulbs go off in the brain.

This book, written by four "guru - level" authors who were given special advance access to the Microsoft NGWS Frameworks team headed by Mark Anders, is a masterpiece of concise, "how to" authoring. Loaded with examples and extensive in its treatment of the various ASP+ / NGWS classes and features, this book is a "must have" for any developer who understands the power of this new development platform and the advances it can bring in terms of building the next generation of web applications and services, and enjoying the productivity gains to be realized from embracing this cutting - edge technology. Together with XML and XSLT, the NGWS Framwork provides the basis the advanced developer needs to tackle the programming challenges of the 21st century.

I give this book my highest "five stars" rating. If you only buy one development book this year, make it A Preview of Active Server Pages+.