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Pro .NET 2.0 Windows Forms and Custom Controls in C#

Book Summary

  • Title: Pro .NET 2.0 Windows Forms and Custom Controls
  • Author: Matthew MacDonald
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Pages: 1037
  • Rating: 4 of 5

 

Review

This book is targeted at developers knowing forms based programming in older tools such as VB6 or even .NET 1.x. Though initial chapters contain introduction to .NET framework you may think of considering some introductory book on .NET before choosing this one. Especially you need to know C# language and ADO.NET before starting this book.

The book consists of five parts namely:

  • Windows Forms Fundamentals
  • Custom Controls
  • Modern Controls
  • Windows Forms Controls
  • Advanced Custom Controls

The first part covers the basics such as Windows Forms, controls, resources, GDI+ and data binding. The second part focuses on custom control development. The third part concentrates on new controls such as tool strip, menu strip, WebBrowser and DataGridView. The part four covers validation, SDI/MDI and multithreading. Finally, part five covers advanced topics on custom controls.

The Appendix A elaborates user interface principals and Appendix B covers ClickOnce deployment. An appendix on C# language and ADO.NET would have been great additions.

The book gives an excellent coverage of broad range of topics. Since the .NET 1.x days there has always been a deficiency of Windows Forms books as compared to ASP.NET. This book nicely and neatly covers major parts of Windows Forms development that developers come across in real world projects. The code samples presented in the book are good and work without much of corrections. The author has explained various concepts in clear language.

Chapter 1 introduces the reader about object orientation, Visual Studio and Windows Forms basic concepts. Chapters 2-4 cover Forms and classic controls such as TextBox, Button to DateTimePicker. The features such as Autocomplete, drag and drop and notification are also covered. The resources and localization is the subject of Chapter 5. This topic should have been given some extra emphasis but overall coverage is satisfactory. Chapter 6 covers two important controls - TreeView and ListView.

Some books I read in the past spend too much pages on GDI+ but here author has nicely covered the topic in just one chapter. GDI+ is used less in business data driven applications and many developers find it boring and wasteful to learn about it. Nevertheless it is an important topic (especially if you are custom control developer) and covered neatly in Chapter 7. Similar is the case of Chapter 16 in which the author concisely deals with sound and video.

The book lacks a chapter on ADO.NET. Though the author has clearly mentioned this fact, learning data binding concepts without ADO.NET background is bit difficult. The chapter on data binding (Chapter 8) is inadequate. Some sound real world examples should have been added including UI design considerations for master detail forms, transactions etc. The new and exciting DataGridView control has been allocated a separate chapter of its own (Chapter 15) and covers almost all the basic tasks with the control such as formatting, data binding, column types and customizing. It also provides pointers on using DataGridView control more efficiently.

Almost all the new controls are covered (Chapters 14, 15 and 17). They include WebBrowser, ToolStrip, MenuStrip and StatusStrip.

There is a dedicated chapter on Help creation (Chapter 22) which I found missing in some other books. Windows Forms programming is not just about using controls. Developers often need to deal with tasks such as validation, masked editing, executing long running tasks in the background, dynamic control creation and so on. Many of these tasks are covered in Chapter 18, 20 and 21.

The books has heavy emphasis on custom controls with nine chapters dedicated to the subject. All the types of custom control development viz. User Controls, Inherited controls and Owner Drawn controls are covered in detail (Chapter 10-12). Advanced techniques such as skinning and design time support are also covered with ample details.

If you are looking for a clear and detailed understanding of Windows Forms 2.0 concepts along with thorough understanding of custom control development this book is for you.

 




Bipin Joshi is a software consultant, an author and a yoga mentor having 21+ years of experience in software development. He conducts online courses in ASP.NET MVC / Core, jQuery, and Design Patterns. He is a published author and has authored or co-authored books for Apress and Wrox press. Having embraced Yoga way of life he also teaches Meditation to interested individuals. To know more about him click here.

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Posted On : 29 Apr 2006



Tags : Custom Controls Windows Forms Visual Studio Reviews