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Beginning Visual Basic 2005

Beginning Visual Basic 2005 by Thearon Willis and Bryan Newsome targets two groups of developers: new programmers who have chosen Visual Basic 2005 as their first language, or experienced programmers making their first foray into .NET development. At almost 800 pages, the book provides plenty of resources for both camps.

 

Wrox has a reputation for covering a topic in both depth and breadth, meaning someone unfamiliar with a topic can not only learn the basics, but also gain a detailed understanding of the subject and use the book as a reference in the future. This title is no different; it walks the reader step-by-step through everything a developer needs to build Windows Forms applications, including the basics of data types, controlling program flow, the Visual Studio 2005 IDE, object-oriented programming, Web services, debugging, and deployment.

 

Beginning Visual Basic 2005 is not aimed at ASP.NET developers, as it only dedicates two chapters to a brief overview of Web Forms development. However, its step-by-step approach makes it an ideal candidate for someone interested in learning Windows programming from scratch, regardless of whether they have software development experience.

 

The first five chapters serve as an introduction to .NET programming, including the installation and setup of Visual Studio 2005, an introduction to its interface through creation of a HelloUser application, a look at the .NET Framework, writing software for Windows, and the CLR. Chapters 3 and 4 target beginning programmers by exploring the basics of writing software: algorithms, variables, comments and whitespace, data types, debugging, scope, methods, and controlling program flow. Chapter 5 looks at arrays, for...each loops, enumerations, constants, structures, ArrayLists, and other collections.

 

In the next section, chapters 6-9 describe the specifics of Windows Forms development, including event-driven programming, forms, dialog boxes, and menus. Chapter 9 examines debugging applications in Visual Studio 2005, as well as structured error handling using exceptions and try-catch blocks.

 

Chapters 10-12 focus on object-oriented concepts, including encapsulation, methods, events, polymorphism, inheritance, namespaces, and garbage collection. Chapter 11 puts the object-oriented concepts to work as it walks through the creation of an Internet bookmark application. Chapter 12 covers class libraries, and chapter 13 explores the creation of custom controls.

 

The remainder of the book covers database programming with SQL Server and ADO.NET, takes a cursory look at ASP.NET Web Forms programming, Forms Authentication, Login Controls, XML, Web services, .NET Remoting, and application deployment, and briefly delves into building mobile applications.

 

It s obvious the authors put a lot of work into compiling all the information contained in this book, and even more time into honing their message to the intended audience of beginners. In roughly 800 pages, the authors cover every major aspect of .NET development. The one aspect I disliked were the somewhat unrelated chapters on programming custom graphics, Forms Authentication, and mobile applications. Because the book is so heavily focused on Windows Forms development, these chapters take the reader a little off course from the focus of the book.

 

Overall, the book is a weighty tome that requires a few weeks to read and digest. I was highly satisfied with the writing quality, sample applications, and code samples.

 

Rob Walling

 

Rating:

Title: Beginning Visual Basic 2005

Authors: Thearon Willis and Bryan Newsome

Publisher: Wrox

ISBN: 0-7645-7401-9

Web Site: http://www.wrox.com

Price: US$39.99

Page Count: 799