Andrew Troelsen's previous aPress title, "C# and the .NET
Platform" (see my review
here) has been so successful that the editors of aPress asked
him to do a more-or-less direct translation of the book -- for VB.NET
programmers. The result, Visual Basic.NET and the .NET Platform,
is a masterful book. And, it's not a "direct translation"
- except for some useful chapters in the beginning that are good
for all programmers, it really zeroes in on VB.NET - a completely
different language from classic VB 6.0.
Aimed at the more experienced programmer tackling the new VB .NET
for the first time, Andrew Troelsen's Visual Basic .NET and the
.NET Platform provides a quick-moving and intelligently rendered
tour of .NET, with plenty of in-depth material on classes and object-oriented
Troelsen takes the time to illustrate the most important
concepts with very basic code and examples, including output. Because
of the size of this book (1053 pp), it is loaded
with useful details about programming with .NET. Troelsen writes
clearly and concisely; his books are part teaching and part reference.
For those of us with some programming experience, Troelsen goes that extra
step to make the concepts easier to understand.
Personally, having spent a number of months focusing
with C# and only now "going back" and using VB.NET, it becomes
abundantly clear to me what the hurdles are when a classic VB programmer
picks up VB.NET and hopes to master it. First, programmers using
classic VB usually are not well steeped in OOP principles and OOP design
patterns - not only did they never really have to learn them, but VB 6.0
doesn't support most of them! And, unfortunately, VB.NET has lots of "familiar"
tricks of the trade that had to be designed with only one thing in mind
- to make it easier for the classic VB developer to start programming
to the .NET Platform.
But the .NET platform is strongly typed and is specifically
designed to make exceptionally good use of inheritance, polymorphism,
and encapsulation. The result is that classic VB programmers - millions
of them - are likely to bring forward a whole bunch of bad design patterns
from their VB 5.0 and VB 6.0 days which will be happily perpetuated
by VB.NET. And that doesn't even consider all the boo-boos that will
be created by the use of the VB.NET Migration Wizard, which DOES NOT enforce
Option Strict, and which will happily bring forward anything having to
do with COM into COM Interop, including all the code you wrote for COM+
Andrew Troelson's book is the antidote to these problems.
The author's presentation is at a fairly expert level, with plenty of
coverage of object-oriented design, as well as a pretty thorough language
tutorial. In fact, his demonstrations that it's possible to show VB.NET
using the same features as C# underscores the fact that the languages
are now equals on the .NET platform. Troelson's tour offers good insight
into the .NET Framework itself, with coverage of topics like Intermediate
Language (IL), the Common Language Runtime (CLR), as well as deploying
.NET components in assemblies. The book clearly shows the three pillars
of object-oriented programming -- encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism
- -which are amply illustrated with code excerpts using objects for shapes,
employee, cars, and other simple classes.
Later chapters turn toward building user interfaces,
whether through traditional clients using Windows Forms (and graphics
programming), or using ASP.NET and Web Forms for building Web-based, thin
clients. Final sections look at Web services, which are just as easy to
create in VB .NET as with any other supported .NET language. This book
assumes some programming knowledge on the part of the reader, but it covers
all the bases needed to use the new VB .NET and the .NET Framework effectively.
It's a worthy choice for getting onboard with .NET and will be appreciated
by any new VB .NET developer, as well as C# and VB6 developers making
the transition to Microsoft's latest version
Microsoft Visual Basic .NET provides
the productivity features developers need to rapidly create enterprise-critical
Web applications. In Visual Basic .NET and the .NET Platform, author Andrew
Troelsen shows developers how to use VB .NET for developing virtually
every possible kind of .NET application. From Windows-based to Web-based
applications, ADO .NET, XML Web services, and object-oriented language
features, it's all here. There are detailed discussions of every aspect
of .NET development and useful examples that, while somewhat simplified,
clearly illustrate the points the author needs to get across.
You won't find extensive treatment of remoting, App Domains
or .NET Code Security here as these are more specialized areas. What you
will find is a single book that - if studied assiduously - will help any
classic VB programmer evolve into a true OOP master. If I were a development
manager and my people were involved in transitioning to the .NET platform,
I'd make this one required reading. Highly recommended!
Peter Bromberg is an independent consultant specializing in distributed .NET solutions
Inc. in Orlando and a co-developer of the NullSkull.com
developer website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org