Just a few short month's ago I was just starting to learn Visual Basic .NET and looked at dozens of books to assit me. I bought several books and only a few make it to my small desk book shelf while the remainder sit across the room in a full size bookshelf gathering dust. One of the books that made it to my desk is MURACH'S Beginning Visual Basic .NET. I found this book to be an excellent tool to use when learning and an excellent resource to use when actually building applications. Recently I added MURACH'S VB.NET Database Programming with ADO.NET to that same shelf.
The style of both of these books make it easy to learn and useful after as a reference. All the code is well documented with syntax explained in full prior to the code being used. In each segment of the book the complete code for the application you are working on is included even if it was originally introduced several chapters earlier.
MURACH'S Beginning Visual Basic .NET
This book is designed for the beginner as its title suggests, but still holds value as a reference afterwards. The book is divided into five sections and twenty chapters. The organization of the material make it very easy to learn the fundamental skills required to make business applications.
This book did exactly what the authors claimed and taught me how to build business applications. With just this book I built an application used by a school district to track applicants and substitute candidates. I also developed two web sites using ASP.NET after reading the basics in this book. Overall I would rate this book a 10 out of 10.
MURACH'S VB.NET Database Programming with ADO.NET
The next book in the Murach series more in depth in ADO.NET. and is one of the few books I found that goes into detail on how to use the Crystal Reports functionality included with Visual Studio .NET. This book helped me add-on value to the application I built for the school district by allowing me to package Crystal Reports into the application. The book covers multi-tiered design, XML, data views, parameterized queries and gives a good over view of relational databases.
I have not had the opportunity to put to use all the valuable lessons this book contained, but it has made me much more proficient at using ADO.NET. I would rate this book a 9 out of 10 as I would of liked to seen a bit more information on database class design and use.