ASP.NET Data Presentation Controls Essentials by Joydip Kanjilal

Book Review: ASP.NET Data Presentation Controls Essentials

  • Author: Joydip Kanjilal
  • 256 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (December 31, 2007)  

Synopsis/Who is this book really for?

This is one of those books that I wish I could use without reading.  What I mean by that is there is absolutely no personality in it at all.  It explains the technology, but doesn’t attempt to be entertaining in the least.  That said, it’s an excellent reference book.  I’ve worked with ASP.NET quite a bit and I’ve even worked with these controls quite a bit and I learned plenty from this book.  So while it’s for those who are beginners with these controls, it’s actually written for experienced programmers.  It never bothers to explain basic programming constructs.  So don’t get this thinking you’ll get to learn how to program.   This book stays on topic as it methodically works its way through each of the controls.  It not only goes through all of the controls, it goes from the basics to relatively advanced applications.  That’s actually one of the things I like best about this title.  For each controls it gives you several applications so it not only teaches you about the different uses of the controls themselves, it also shows you different coding methods you need to make each one of them happen. 

I wouldn’t want to sit down and just read this book from cover to cover.  It is a really good reference though and if I had to get up to speed on any of the ASP.NET controls, this is the book I’d want to have on my shelf.  In fact, I didn’t really know much about a couple of the controls discussed and after going through those chapters I think I’m ready to give them a shot.  This book even covers quite a bit of the material better than MSDN.  I have to qualify that though.  I’m sure MSDN actually covers some of the material just as well if not better, but it can be so hard to sift through everything on the MSDN site that it may as well not be documented at all.  So this is a really good reference that will stay on my shelf, but I won’t be taking it on the plane with me.

Table of Contents

Ch.1  Introduction to Data Binding in ASP.NET

As the title says, here you’re going to talk about data binding.  You’ll learn what it is and what it means to you.  It even shows you in simple coding terms what it takes to data bind to a control.  Frankly, it’s a lot easier than I thought.  It also defines the different types of data binding and then shows you how to use the data binding expressions.  There’s extensive source code to show you exactly how and what you need to do.  It then goes into the new data source controls in ASP.NET 2.0 and discusses them each.  There are even full-color pictures to walk you through the process of working with these controls.

Ch. 2  Working with List Controls in ASP.NET

Of course you have to start by defining a list control.  After that it jumps right into working with each of them.  ListBox, DropDownList, CheckBoxList, BulletedList, RadioButtonList are all discussed.  And again, there’s no shortage of code or full-color pictures.  This is a very large chapter though.

Ch. 3  Working with the Repeater Control

Of course this chapter is all about the repeater.  Personally I love this control so I love this chapter.  I’m not going to give a blow by blow of this chapter though.  Instead I’m going to say that I recently had to use a repeater control and couldn’t figure out how to do something I needed to do and after reading through this chapter I was able to do what I needed.  This chapter is full of code and examples that there’s just no way to avoid knowing how to work with a repeater after reading it.  It’s good stuff.  And again, this chapter is pretty big.

Ch. 4  Working with the DataList Control

There just doesn’t seem to be a need for me to give details of all the chapters anymore.  This one is clearly about the DataList and it has all the same features as the other ones:  lots of code samples and pictures.

Ch. 5  Working with the DataGrid Control in ASP.NET

Same as above, right.

Ch. 6  Displaying Views of Data (Part 1)

Ok, so this one isn’t nearly as self-explanatory as the others have been.  Here we’re talking about all things GridView.  It shows you how to do tons of things with the GridView as well as exporting data to Excel or Word.

Ch. 7 Displaying Views of Data (Part 2)

Here you talk about the DetailsView, FormView, and TreeView. 

Ch. 8  Working with LINQ

LINQ basics are covered.  Everything from architecture to data binding, to using it with different controls can be learned.  If you don’t know anything about LINQ then this is where you need to start.

-Sean McCown, ITBookworm.com

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