The first four chapters of the book ("Section 1 - The essence of ASP.NET web programming") are designed to get programmers new to ASP.NET development up and running and hands-on. In these pages, the reader is introduced the basics of Web site development ("How static web pages work", "How dynamic pages work"), to the example Web site that is used throughout the rest of the book (an online Halloween superstore), and to the .NET Framework and Visual Studio integrated development environment. Much of what is mentioned in these chapters is covered in detail later on in the book. While much of this section feels like it is rushing the user through concepts, the rest of the book is written in a very leisurely manner and gets into quite a bit of detail on each topic.
In fact, anyone with any experience programming with ASP.NET may want to skip the first section and start right in with "Section 2 - Basic ASP.NET skills". These 7 chapters begin by covering the basics of HTML, work through an introduction to server controls, validation controls, and navigation controls, explain ASP.NET state, and introduce ASP.NET 2.0 master pages and themes. While the concepts covered in this section are fairly basic with regard to ASP.NET development, even seasoned ASP.NET developers will have something to gain by scanning the right-hand pages because of the new features introduced in Visual Studio 2005.
Section 3 ("ASP.NET database programming") deals with all aspects of coding for data acess using ASP.NET. The first two chapters cover ADO.NET basics, including a tutorial of relational database concepts ("An introduction to relational databases"), examples of how to write database queries (including join, add, insert, and delete queries), an explanation of the ADO.NET disconnected data schema ("Concurrency and the disconnected data architecture"), and a walkthrough of the common ADO.NET classes (SqlConnection, SqlCommand, SqlParameter, SqlDataReader, and SqlDataAdapter are all covered). The next two chapters discuss binding the GridView, DetailsView, and FormView controls to data sources in detail, using the sample application as an illustration and covering concepts such as paging and adding / editing / deleting records. The last chapter introduces the use of object data sources to bind Web controls to data sources through custom business logic classes, which is a powerful feature new to Visual Studio 2005.