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.
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A Good Investment For You?
The Balena style is often described as being "concise" and I think this is a fair description. There is very little duplication, code samples are kept as short as possible and (unlike your reviewer!) the author doesn't believe in using 100 words if 10 will do. This has to be accepted and acceptable, otherwise - given the maximum available pages in a book - the number of topics covered would be reduced even further. So for those who find it dry or would have liked more amplification, my advice would be to read through the problem topic again (a couple more times if necessary) as it is all there to be discovered and understood, given a little perseverance and code sample experimentation.
I have a particular bee in my bonnet about typos and errata. I know that they are almost inevitable, but some publishers and indeed some individual authors are very poor at posting these up in an easily accessible place and form. Happily, Francesco Balena isn't one of those authors and, even though the book hasn't been in print for a great length of time there is already a useful, regularly updated, viewable list of all typos and errors that have been found so far. The list is available here.
"Programming Microsoft Visual Basic 2005: The Language" is much more than just a language reference book. The basics of VB 2005 are given reasonable coverage within the space limitations, but for my money the strength and great value of this book lies in those specialised topics in the later Parts. The author draws on his deep understanding of .NET in order to bring you insights into many of the dark corners of this subject, drilling down in illuminating detail on specifically chosen topics.
If you have some VB.NET experience and want to strengthen your knowledge base, be more productive and understand in detail the new features of VB 2005 then this book is a must-read for you. Once you realise that this isn't simply an update of his earlier books, but a fresh book with a different approach, you will have no cause for disappointment.