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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1949 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Teach Yourself Visual Studio .NET 2003
Jason Beres
Griff Phillips
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The format of Sams "Teach Yourself" books is highly appealing: relevant subject matter broken down into small readable chunks with exercises and review material at the end of each one. Ideal for busy professionals who need to get up to speed fast and do not have time to read the canonical texts for the given subject. Unfortunately, my experience has been that Sams books usually fail to deliver on this promise: this title is no exception.

The main problem is that this book has no clear idea of its audience. It claims to be suitable for newcomers to Windows programming. Yet within a few pages the .NET framework is being explained in terms of COM+ and "the DNA Architecture" without any attempt to explain these terms. (However we are proudly informed that "With the introduction of Visual Studio.NET ... Microsoft has also improved the C++ language" !!) Many of the code examples are given in C#. This is an odd choice since anyone sufficiently familiar with C# to follow the examples has probably used VS.NET already and would have no need for this book. In fact the book appears to be completely aimed at .NET programmers. There is very little material for programmers who wish to upgrade from Visual Studio 6 in order to continue developing and supporting unmanaged applications.

The usual Sams sloppy editing is present throughout. For example we are reassured throughout the book that Chapter 10 will explain assemblies (a key .NET concept). In fact Chapter 10 explains ADO database access. Assemblies are never explained anywhere, nor do they even appear in the index. Throw in a pile of mistakenly repeated chunks of text, bad spelling ("lead" vs. "led" etc) and incorrectly captioned diagrams, and the end result is the usual Sams mess.

In summary, anyone considering a book on VS.NET would be advised to avoid this one and consider spending a bit more on something from a reputable publisher such as DevelopMentor or Microsoft Press instead.