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Book Review: Building Applications and Components with Visual Basic.NET
by Ged Mead | Published  04/09/2006 | Book Reviews | Rating:
Ged Mead

Ged Mead (XTab) is a Microsoft Visual Basic MVP who has been working on computer software and design for more than 25 years. His journey has taken him through many different facets of IT. These include training as a Systems Analyst, working in a mainframe software development environment, creating financial management systems and a short time spent on military laptop systems in the days when it took two strong men to carry a 'mobile' system.

Based in an idyllic lochside location in the West of Scotland, he is currently involved in an ever-widening range of VB.NET, WPF and Silverlight development projects. Now working in a consultancy environment, his passion however still remains helping students and professional developers to take advantage of the ever increasing range of sophisticated tools available to them.

Ged is a regular contributor to forums on vbCity and authors articles for DevCity. He is a moderator on VBCity and the MSDN Tech Forums and spends a lot of time answering technical questions there and in several other VB forum sites. Senior Editor for DevCity.NET, vbCity Developer Community Leader and Admin, and DevCity.NET Newsletter Editor. He has written and continues to tutor a number of free online courses for VB.NET developers.

 

View all articles by Ged Mead...
Introduction

    A colleague of mine, whose opinion I greatly respect, recommended that I buy myself a copy of this book as part of my efforts to get to grips with Object Oriented Programming (OOP).    As usual, his advice was sound.   

   Now it probably won’t have escaped your notice that neither of the phrases “OOP” or “Object-Oriented Programming” appear in the title of this book. So you may be wondering why it was recommended as part of my OOP education.   Well, the reason is that the main middle section of this book deals with the core range of OOP topics in great detail and in a way that makes it, well, easi-ier.

   Let’s face it, there isn’t really an easy way to learn all the ins and outs of such a varied and complex topic as OOP. If, like me, you have come to VB.NET from Classic VB and have not had much previous exposure to true object orientation then the bump on your forehead as you run into the glass wall will be that bit more painful.

   At least if you have the help of a book which covers  topics in a logical order, carefully explained and with code snippets that work (Thank you, Tech Editors!) then you  would soon be on your way upwards through that learning curve.

   In my opinion, this is just such a book.  The authors work through the topics with a clear narrative style, reinforcing important issues and referring back to earlier points where relevant.     On those odd occasions where I found myself reading a code snippet and saying “Wait a minute!  Shouldn’t that be….?” I almost invariably found that in the next paragraph it was explained clearly why the approach used was the best one.   (Of course this was only in those few areas where I actually did have some prior knowledge!  The rest I take on trust, but it hasn’t let me down yet)

   The target audience for this book is clearly described by the authors:

"The typical reader is assumed to be an intermediate to advanced developer who has experience with Visual Basic, C++, or Java. You should already know how to create a simple class definition that contains fields and methods. You should know why it's important to use encapsulation and how to define certain class members as private. Finally, you should understand the difference between a class, an object, and an object reference.

It's helpful (but not essential) that you know the basics of computer science. It would be impossible to conduct an in-depth discussion of developing software for the .NET Framework without talking about issues such as scope, lifetime, the call stack, the heap, and threads. If you lack this kind of background, I ask you to ponder how things work at a lower level."

   Clearly, not for rank beginners then.   However, I did find that even where the technicalities got deep and difficult the explanations were clear enough to enable me to get to grips with them.

  

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