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 »  Home  »  .NET Newbie  »  Book Review- "Visual Basic 2005 Express: Now Playing"  »  Pros and Cons - Summary
 »  Home  »  Reviews  »  Book Reviews  »  Book Review- "Visual Basic 2005 Express: Now Playing"  »  Pros and Cons - Summary
Book Review- "Visual Basic 2005 Express: Now Playing"
by Ged Mead | Published  05/14/2006 | .NET Newbie 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...
Pros and Cons - Summary


   This book is clearly written in plain English and is perfect for its target audience.  
   The range of printed samples, demonstration projects and Flash movies is comprehensive and useful.   The illustrations and figures are clear, with detailed call outs and additional notes where necessary.

   It delivers what it promises in the Preface – if you aspire to be a programmer in Visual Basic 2005, this book will be a huge help to you in achieving that goal.


   In common with most technical books these days, this one has a few typos.   While none of them are catastrophic, I always think it’s even more important for a beginners’ book to try and avoid them, because the content is difficult enough for the audience to master; any additional confusion caused by typos is an unnecessary hardship.

   Some that stood out for me were:

Page 17:  Figure 1-7 Should show how to access the ToolBox, but shows the “Getting Started” screen in the IDE.
Page 38:  Figure 2-14 Should show the Code Window Tab, but shows the Design Window Tab.
Page 237: Assigning a date to a Date variable.  This will only work for a system set to US time format.  It would be useful to include a note for non-US readers, otherwise they may not understand why the code shown throws an exception.

   The author tells me that these are all to be included in  an Errata page which is currently being set up on the NoStarch web site.   

Neutrals (Actually, it's another Pro)

      There are several generalisations in the book along the lines of “You have two choices :- ….” or “There are three kinds of ….”, and so on.     At first I found myself  muttering “That’s not right; there’s also ….”, or “Yeah, but what about ….?” until I realised that these weren’t errors of omission, but was an intentional part of the teaching technique being used throughout this book.  

   Too often, authors seem to be afraid of leaving anything out in case knowledgeable readers think they don’t know that there are six different ways of doing something; the result can be a comprehensive but totally confusing avalanche of information.      By picking a suitable path for beginners and sticking to it, the author makes it much easier for them to find their way through the early stages of learning VB.   Time enough later for them to spin off into all the various options that await them at intermediate and advanced levels; for now it’s just the right amount of information! 


    Knuckle down for a few days with this book, read the detailed and understandable explanations, try out the code samples in the book and on the CD, run the Flash movies for additional help.     Do that conscientiously and I can almost guarantee that you will come out the other end with a good grasp of the fundamentals of VB2005 on which you can build further.

   This is a clearly written, well structured book that will be very useful to you if you are a newcomer to programming in general or to Visual Basic in particular.   It won’t be your last book on the subject, but it is an excellent starter manual and will certainly take you a fair way down the road of VB knowledge.

   A complete chapter (Chapter 12) in PDF format, the code sample for that chapter, plus one of the four Flash Movies from that chapter are included here and available for download.

  I have no hesitation in recommending this book to beginners.



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