Maarten Balliauw {blog}

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Books I recently read...

A while ago, I was contacted by the people of Packt Publishing asking me to review two of their latest books, ASP.NET Data Presentation Controls Essentials (by Joydip Kanjilal) and LINQ Quickly (by N. Satheesh Kumar). Since both books stated something about LINQ on the back-cover, and me wanting to read more on that matter, I engaged into reviewing them.

ASP.NET Data Presentation Controls Essentials

image Being an ASP.NET developer, I'm not new to ASP.NET's data bound controls. Upon receiving the book, I immediately knew this was not going to be new stuff to me, a thought which proved right. Nevertheless, the book has a value!

The author starts with a birds-eye overview of all data bound controls in ASP.NET, allowing the reader to immediately know what's possible with these controls. In the next chapters, each control is covered with some examples. Luckily, the book did not contain "full" examples yet short, to-the-point code snippets delivering a practical approach to solving a specific data binding scenario.

This leads me to agreeing with the author that "this book is not for beginners". Some snippets contain small typo's, and because a full frame around these snippets is missing, someone new to C# and ASP.NET will have some problems creating their own examples based on the book. It's also not for professionals to learn much new things, but I think anyone familiar with a C# background wanting to start data bound ASP.NET development can benefit from this no-nonsense quickstart book.

For me, this book will find a place on my book shelf along with other reference books, as it covers all data binding scenario's from ASP.NET 1.1 over ASP.NET 2.0 up to some snippets of data binding to LINQ data sources.

LINQ Quickly

image Since the release of the Microsoft .NET framework 3.5 a few months ago, I've been playing around with LINQ (Language Integrated Query) a couple of times. It is a uniform method of accessing any type of data (Collections, XML, database, ...) in a "natural" way.

The book covers all concepts of LINQ. It starts with an overview of all language elements that have been added to the .NET framework in order to enable the use of LINQ, such as anonymous types, object/collection initializers, expressions, partial methods, ... The next chapters all cover a LINQ implementation such as LINQ to Objects, LINQ to SQL, LINQ to Entities, LINQ to XML, LINQ to DataSets, ... The last chapter gives an overview of all LINQ methods and their use with a short code example that immediately clarifies the purpose of each method.

I found the LINQ to Entities chapter quite interesting, as it clearly explains how to create your class diagram using the right decorators for generating a database schema. Another useful thing are the appendices near the end of the book, covering LINQ to "anything" (there's an example on LINQ to Outlook Contacts).

To be honest, I'm quite enthousiast about this book. If you are a .NET developer and looking for a "one-night read" to-the-point book about LINQ and all related matter, this book is your friend!

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