This review covers the first edition of the book, printed in July 2001. The second edition, printed in August 2002, was available at the time of this review.
This unique book covers more than the "Teach Yourself..." series title might suggest. Although the book's objective is clearly to help familiarize readers with ASP.NET within 21 days, the author went a step further by also including content that experienced ASP developers can use to learn ASP.NET quickly.
Weighing in at about 935 pages of content (the book has a total of about 997 pages), the book covers key aspects including overviews of the .NET Framework, Visual Basic .NET and C#, creating and working with databases, coverage of ADO.NET, Web Services, debugging, and security. The book also covers caching - an often overlooked, but important aspect of ASP.NET. The book even covers creating ASP.NET applications for mobile devices such as the Pocket PC.
What impressed me about the book, in the very first chapter, are sections the highlight new terms and analysis blocks. These two features, part of each chapter, work to make reading the book easier and keep the discussion pace lively thus keeping the reader interested and involved.
Another great feature of this book is that in includes information on when and how to use certain features using "Do" and "Don't" tables - this information not only provides guidance, but also enhances the book's value since contributes to shortening the overall learning curve. Each chapter rounds out, just before the summary, with a section called "That's Not ASP!", which helps experienced ASP developers build on their skills to help them map what they know (ASP) to what they're learning (ASP.NET and the .NET Framework) - this is a very effective and useful feature.
The book's content is organized into a spiral of advancing features and functionality with early chapters providing a solid foundation and later chapters building on the foundation. This helps to make the book predictable in terms of depth of coverage making it easier for readers to budget their reading time more effectively. The index is comprehensive and, as a result, very useful since it is easy to look up information about a particular topic which may appear in parts throughout the book. The book's inside front and back covers are useful too - the front cover is a roadmap of the book's content (an overview of each lesson), and the back cover includes a listing of the 10 common mistakes - very useful for those late night coding sessions.
This book provides excellent value for those just becoming familiar with the .NET Framework and ASP.NET.
Calculate the Grade as follows: Add all numeric grade values, divide by 25, multiply by 100, then assign the letter grade based on the following ranges: