Sebastopol, CA--Author Jesse Liberty doesn't want to waste his readers' time. After writing several bestselling books for programmers, he turned his normal presentation method upside down in his new book, Programming Visual Basic 2005 (O'Reilly, US $39.95). "This book is a bit of a Trojan Horse," he remarks. "It looks a lot like all my other O'Reilly books, but between the covers lurks a totally different approach. We start by creating applications, and fill in the details and the theory on object-oriented programming as we go."
Written primarily for experienced Visual Basic programmers with either a VB 6 or VB .NET background, "Programming Visual Basic 2005" shows them how to use VB 2005 and its associated tools to rapidly build modern Windows applications, web applications, and simple web services. "The first page of the first chapter lays out a meaningful Windows application," Liberty points out. "By page five, they're building it. By page twenty-seven, they're getting data from the database. The goal is to make them immediately productive."
That's in keeping with the spirit of the language itself. As Liberty reveals throughout the book, VB 2005 is loaded with new language features, tools, templates, controls, and more, all designed to reduce the amount of code developers have to write to get an application up and running. In short, VB 2005 has restored the rapid application development features that made VB 6 so popular.
"This is not a reference book, and it's not a primer on the language," Liberty explains. "You won't find a treatise on why .NET is great, and you won't find a theoretical exposition on the role of the .NET framework or on all the tools in Visual Studio. Instead, I put it all in context as we go about our business of building applications."
Programming Visual Basic 2005 is actually three books in one. The first is a hands-on tutorial on building Windows applications using Windows Forms in Visual Studio 2005, and the second shows how to build web applications and web services with ASP.NET 2.0 Web Forms. These two sections are entirely independent; developers interested only in web applications can skip immediately to page 173. The book's third section is a rapid-fire introduction to both the language and object-oriented programming for less experienced programmers who require a quick course in the basics.
"If this is your first programming language, don't panic," Liberty advises. "You'll learn everything you need to know as we go. At times, this approach will cause us to write and rewrite the same section. Had we designed in advance we would avoid those cul-de-sacs, but it's exploring these dead ends, and the improvements we can make as we progress, that will bring out essential aspects of VB 2005 programming."
Liberty spares his readers the exercise of writing a "Hello World" program, and instead has them create applications based on one he recently built for one of his clients. Along the way, he offers scores of working examples with source code that readers can download and reuse in their own projects. He also provides tips and warnings that alert them to differences between VB 6, VB .NET, and VB 2005 so they can avoid typical beginner errors.
"This is not your standard programming book," Liberty asserts. "Those who work their way through the exercises in this book will be living and breathing object-oriented programming. They'll see how things fit together when they start creating applications."
Programming Visual Basic 2005
ISBN: 0-596-00949-6, 548 pages, $39.95 US, $55.95 CA
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