There are a total of 12 chapters, each pertaining to a single project that can be found on the companion CD. Each chapter is structured identically and starts with a simple using discussion which details how to use the product that is to be developed. Following this, a discussion on the design of the product is undertaken before then moving on to the code itself. The last two sections of each chapter involve the setting up of the project found on the companion CD and a final summary.
I personally found it easier, to read the setting up of the project first (NB: not all projects are setup in a similar fashion) before then reading the code explanations as this enables you to follow the explanations much more intuitively. Also note that all projects are developed using VB.NET.
Chapter 1 - The Online Diary and Organizer
This chapter demonstrates a diary and contact management system. You will make use of the new ASP.NET 2.0 login controls and password reminder controls to authenticate users against an SQL Express database. You will also learn how to use the Calendar control to inform users of upcoming events and entries.
During the design section, you will learn how the project is broken into a typical 3-tier architecture (User Interface, Business Logic and Data Access Layers) and will then be introduced to the new ObjectDataSource control allowing you to bind business logic methods to data aware controls such as the DataGridView control.
Chapter 2 - Wrox File Share
Sending large files via e-mail always presents problems. There are now a number of sites that offer the ability to host large files and notify your intended recipient(s) where to go to download the file.
This chapter describes just such a technique. You will learn how to use the FileUpload control to transmit files up to 1GB and also how to send e-mails to your recipient(s) containing hyperlinks to the file that is to be downloaded. You will also learn how to use Themes and the web.config file to specify the theme to be used.
Chapter 3 - Wrox Chat Server
If you've ever wanted to create your own chat system, then this project should get you started. You will learn how to use the Menu and SiteMapDataSource controls and also how to implement Master Pages. But undoubtedly the coolest feature in this chapter is how to use Callbacks which allow you to update partial areas of the page without having to update the entire page.
Chapter 4 - Wrox Survey Engine
Many sites now implement surveys to retrieve visitor feedback and this chapter shows you how to create your own. Not only can you create surveys on the fly using an Admin section but you will also create a number of user controls that allow you to place these surveys (and their results) in different sections of your web site.
Chapter 5 - Wrox CMS
This is quite an interesting chapter as it demonstrates how to create your own Content Management System (CMS) allowing for dynamic changes to your pages using an online tool. This means that no matter where you are in the world, as long as you have access to the Internet then you can make those all important changes.
Chapter 6 - Wrox Blog
The Wrox Blog project creates a fully functional blog and introduces you to some important concepts such as error handling and logging. The Wrox Blog is designed with both Microsoft Access and SQL Server databases in mind and allows you to change the database used by simply changing a configuration setting in the web.config file. This is made possible by the new DBProviderFactory classes new to ADO.NET 2.0.
Chapter 7 - Wrox Photo Album
In this chapter you will learn how to create an online Photo Album with capabilities for uploading new images. Selecting images to view a larger image and managing your album.
This chapter will get you up to speed on most of the controls that have already been introduced and indeed it is advised at the beginning of the book that you should review this chapter first if you are new to ASP.NET 2.0. Personally, I don't fully understand why they didn't make this the first chapter.
Chapter 8 - Customer Support Site
The Customer Support Site demonstrates a system whereby users of particular systems can go to view product specifications and FAQs. A nice little feature of this site is the ability to search FAQs using a search engine that supports boolean logic to build a dynamic WHERE clause. However, it is noted in this chapter that dynamic queries are prone to SQL Injection attacks and the author shows methods to avoid such malicious attacks.
Chapter 9 - Wrox WebShop
Implementing an E-Commerce site can be quite daunting. You have to create a catalogue of products, allow users to search and view details of those products and hopefully, allow them to place orders and manage their shopping cart. In this chapter, you are taken through all of these steps. The only thing that is lacking is the use of any payment gateway but this should be fairly straightforward to implement based on the chosen payment solution.
Chapter 10 - Appointment Booking System
In this chapter you will see how to create an online booking system for booking out conference rooms within a large corporation (although the code could easily be utilised for the majority of appointment based scenarios). This chapter also introduces you to creating controls on the fly and using the repeater control and its associated events.
Chapter 11 - Greeting Cards
This chapter introduces you to GDI+, allowing you to manipulate images through the web browser. In this chapter you will learn how to rotate images, crop images and add text to images before finally sending the image to your recipients as a greeting card.
Chapter 12 - The Bug Base
The Bug Base project allows you to report and maintain bugs found while developing (or even after deploying) a system. This project, while easy to follow, offers quite an in-depth tool for tracking bugs and will most likely prove useful to you if you are a single developer or work within a small team.
The different types of projects and the introduction of new features and controls of ASP.NET 2.0 make this a book worthwhile for those new to ASP.NET 2.0 or even to those that are new to web development. The title sums it up pretty well in that you really do get instant results.
I strongly advise that you install each project before you start reading the content of the projects chapter as it will undoubtedly speed your learning curve being able to follow the book and see the code working right in front of your eyes. Some of the projects are good enough as standalone applications (such as the Bug Base project) that you may decide to use them yourself, while other projects provide a good foundation for you to build on.
One slightly annoying thing that I did find is that those projects requiring a login were not responsive to the credentials mentioned in the book. This is easily fixed however by opening the ASP.NET configuration tool for the project and creating a new administrative user with your own credentials. Other than that, I couldn’t find much to fault this book.
You can check out the writing style for yourself by following the link here which will take you to a pdf version of the chapter that covers the Online Diary and Organiser.
I really like the layout of the book as each chapter follows the same path. You look at the project in it’s entirety before then moving onto the design. Finally, you get a walkthrough of the code used and how to setup the project on your development machine.