in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed., by Steven Roman, Ron Petrusha, and
Paul Lomax, (Paperback, 682 pages); ISBN 0-596-00308-0
by: O'Reilly & Associates, go
to the web site
Studio .NET or Microsoft.NET Framework SDK
Basic has been one of the most favorable development
environments in the Windows world. Because of the language
limitation though, Visual Basic developers have fallen
behind the race in Web development. Although ASP fills
in the gap to some extent, it is clear that Visual
Basic alone cannot do Web development. Now, VB.NET
has the potential to change the picture. The availability
of this book will undoubtedly speed up the process
of acceptance for this new version of VB. As of this
writing, an evaluation copy (60 days trial) of Visual
Studio .NET can be ordered from Microsoft web site.
who has access to Visual Studio .NET agrees that VB.NET is
so different from the traditional Visual Basic that it is
essentially a new language from the inside out. In fact, it
is more similar to Java than Visual Basic. The authors of
the book however, suggest that VB.NET is a natural transition
for Visual Basic in this Web-centric age. Whether you think
their point of view is reasonable or not, read the excellent
discussion in chapter one. This book starts with a sample
C program to demonstrate that VB.NET is much simpler than
the C language bringing forward a clear message: VB.NET has
to be viewed from the perspective of C rather than VB.
I of this book provides concise and focused discussion of
basic concepts in VB.NET, including program structure, variables
and data types, OOP, brief .NET Framework concept, list of
.NET Framework classes, events and delegates, attributes and
error handling. The attribute concept is thoroughly discussed
and is also available via download from the product Web site
II is a single chapter on the VB.NET language and selected
framework classes. This part and the appendices form the core
reference and the majority of the book. Here, readers can
see how big the changes are for Visual Basic. The CD that's
included in the back of the book provides a showcase of VB.NET
help that can integrate into Visual Studio.NET. Therefore,
the part II content can be accessible from inside the Visual
Studio.NET development environment. While this is useful,
I wish the authors would make the example codes in Part I
downloadable so that readers do not have to transcribe from
am certainly impressed by the amount of information authors
of this book have included, especially the first few chapters
and the appendices. Even the reference section is much more
readable than any other "In a Nutshell" book. However,
I can also see that there was a rush to publish this book.
The discussion in this book does not fully address many of
its target readers: VB programmers who are coming from VB
6 or earlier. For example, the authors use the ILDASM disassembler
to dig into the compiled codes, but did not even mention what
ILDASM is. They also did not explain how the IL was examined.
In other words, the authors assumed that readers must be familiar
with the Microsoft .NET SDK before reading the book, although
this requirement is not obvious from the preface.
to the authors, I now know that VB.NET codes can be compiled
from the command line, independent of Visual Studio.NET. The
freely available SDK for Microsoft .NET Framework includes
a command line compiler (vbc.exe). One word of caution - you
need to include the Microsoft.NET Framework as part of your
PATH or you'll get lots of errors about namespace not found.
This reminds me of my first few days learning Java.
summary, this book is a handy reference for VB.NET language
itself. A complete collection of references for VB.NET should
include this book plus a reference for Microsoft.NET Framework
along with one or more books on VB.NET Programming.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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