VSTO & .NET & Excel

April 7, 2013

Time to move on – Exit MVP Program

Filed under: .NET & Excel, .NET Books, Apps for Office, COM Add-ins, Excel, SQL Server, VSTO & Excel, VSTO Books, XLLs — Dennis M Wallentin @ 4:27 pm

Around 2005 – 2006 I peaked with MS Excel, since then I have slightly moved away from it year to year. In 2010 I was honored to become part of Microsoft’s MVP-program.

Of course, it was interesting to get another position and more closed to Microsoft in general, the production team in particularly. However, I never got excited about it as I was moving away from MS Excel. In addition, I didn’t put much efforts to support the online community in various forms.

Given the circumstances I finally took the decision to not be up for the next renewal process. Looking back I can conclude that it has been an amazing time, from the 80’s and until now. I have also achieved more than what I thought was possible. In other words, I have nothing more to proof. So I can walk away and looking ahead for new adventures in the world of softwares.

But before I close the MS Excel book I have one thing I would like to point out and to discuss. Let me first conclude that Microsoft have never really been loyal to the group of developers for MS Excel. It’s regretful as the group have a strong commitment and interest of developing MS Excel further.

In the beginning we got the macro language, XLM, which we started to use more and more. Then VBA and VB6 came and Microsoft asked us to drop XLM in favor of these two Basic languages. 10 years later VB6 was depreciated and since then VBA also risk to be depreciated. Microsoft asked us to replace them with .NET and VSTO. 10 years later .NET and VSTO face the same situation as VB6, i.e to be depreciated. Microsoft now ask us to start develop with Apps for Office. Given the short history, i.e about 20 years, it’s remarkable the number of changes Microsoft have done.

In my opinion, Microsoft’s trust capital is now below zero due to lack of loyalty Microsoft show the group of MS Excel developers. The question is not about Apps for Office rather what will come next?

But it’s no longer of interest for me. I’m moving along and I set focus on other tools and platforms. The blog will change its name and extend its contest with other tools including other platforms. Actually, I will go back to VB6, pick up new tools like PowerBasic and PureBasic which will allow me to write everything in code, including the UI.  Other tools I have picked up is Real Studio and LiveCode together with my two favorites databases; Valentina and Ninja Pro.

I have uninstalled Office 2013 and replaced it with the 2000 version. I may re install it later on in case I find Apps for Office interesting unless it has been already replaced with something new!

It has been a fantastic time in my life to be part of the online Excel community and be part of an exciting time for MS Excel. My English has been improved with >90 %.  I have some good friends around the globe . So without mention any names I would finally say:

Thank You all!

Kind regards,
Dennis

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February 4, 2012

The Great Microsoft Office Portal

Filed under: .NET & Excel, .NET Books, Excel, Valentina DB, Valentina Office Server, VSTO & Excel, XLLs — Dennis M Wallentin @ 4:46 pm

As most of us already know, Microsoft has for the last couple of years built up an enourmus  giant knowledge base about Microsoft Office on the internet. As a consequence it has also become more difficult to navigate around and find the wanted information we are looking for.

However, today I discovered the Great Portal to Microsoft Office knowledge Base. Instead of just saving the URL to my local computer I thought I would make it more available by publishing it here:

Office Development Site Map

One of the key people for the ongoing publishing of Microsoft Office knowledge is Erika Erhli. I have previously related to her so this is a (very good) reminder:

Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

Do You remember how it was during the 90’s? At that time it was rather easy to be updated on a numbers of softwares from Microsoft. Today the softwares have become much more, more complex and more advanced and on top of that the release cycles have become faster.

So I’m glad that I, at least, can keep myself updated of Microsoft Excel. However, in the future we may only be able to keep up with the rapid development for one platform that Microsoft Excel is used on. What do You think?

Kind regards,
Dennis

May 23, 2011

Pro WPF in VB 2010 – Review

Filed under: .NET Books — Dennis M Wallentin @ 1:14 am

Title: Pro WPF in 2010 VB2010 – Windows Presentation Foundation in .NET 4

Authors: Matthew MacDonald

Publisher:
A-Press

Year:
2010

Target group: VB.NET Developers who needs to learn WPF.

Ranking: 9 (Out of 10)

Comments
First of all, I must tell You that Matthew MacDonald is one of my favourite authors and I rank him among the top three. I have been thinking of why I rank him so high. The major reason is that he writes in plain English which make it quite simple for me to understand. The second reason is that he writes in a good structural way which means that I rarely must switch back to any previously chapter to follow. Another aspect is that his books are always well written which I also appreciate.

Of course, my ranking of him has a high impact on my ranking of this book. I have been waiting a longer time to start with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). I took a look on WPF when it first hit the market but at that time I didn’t find it enough attractive to start with it. At that time we were also forced to write almost all code ourselves to get the solutions. WPF has evolved and today we can get more support with the Extensible Application Markup Language (XALM) and with the .NET Framework.

What is interesting is MacDonald own goal with the book; to produce the best book about WPF. The book itself is huge; it covers WPF on nearly 1100 pages. As a newbie to WPF I’m not the right person to judge whether he reach that goal or not. But for me the book should at least be one of the candidates for an award like that.

The book covers everything that is related to WPF. Of course, a great number of controls are discussed but also WPF application model and WPF command model are covered in an understandable way. Even WPF printing model is presented. We also find topics like Control Templates, Data binding, WPF controls for data handling and formatting bound data. I don’t have any particular interest in animation and drawing but these subjects are also well covered. MacDonald has also managed to put a chapter about using ClickOnce to deploy WPF solutions in the book.

The book is a typical desktop book in that we cannot manage to memorize the main part of all the knowledge it provides us with. Therefore it’s good to have it available on the desk when needed.

The overall best part with this book is that it’s deal with WPF in VB.NET. Yes, those of You who use C# can take a look at MacDonald’s book Pro WPF in C# 2010.

All code examples are available for download. I have used only a few of these examples but I had no issues at all to use the examples.

The truth is that I have difficulties to find anything negative about the book. We are provided with much knowledge about 2D and 3D drawing etc. but I had hoped that charts and how to create them were explicit covered. However, if You really want to dig deep about charts then You should get a copy of the book Practical WPF Charts and Graphics.

A book of this size becomes very heavy and it’s difficult to carry it around. My solution was to tear it apart and only carry with me a part of the book that I wanted to read. That’s not a very good solution so I suggest that You buy the eBook version, either alone or together with a printed copy of the book.

Will I switch from WinForm to WPF? I guess the future will give the answer to that question. But one of the corner stones in modern software development is to separate the code from the User Interface and since WPF support it the answer to that question should be obvious. 😉

Have You switched to WPF and what are Your experiences?

Kind regards,
Dennis

March 16, 2011

Reviews: PowerPivot Books

Filed under: .NET Books, Excel, PowerPivot Books, SQL Server, Tools — Dennis M Wallentin @ 9:55 pm

Introduction
Life can be rather unpredictable; You go to bed and believes that the next day will be like the other days. But in the following day You find Yourself in a complete new situation. The situation can either be good but it also can be bad depending on how life’s dice are rolled. But, despite the direction of the situation (bad/good) it explains why it has been so quiet around me and the blog.

One of the major news with Excel 2010 is the PowerPivot (P/P) tool. Last year I wrote a light weighted introduction to it; Data Visualization – The PowerPivot Tool – Part I. This time I come back with three reviews on recently published books about the tool.

Books should always try to answer the following three questions:

  • How to use the tool,
  • When to use it and
  • Why use it.

If a book tries to answer the first and second questions I generally classify it as a descriptive book. If a book emphasizes on all three questions or the two last items then I consider it as an explaining book that emphasizes best practice. Of course, from a practical stand it may not be an easy task to classify books. However, when reviewing books I try to classify them.

P/P is a new shining tool and as such the practical use is limited. OK, the authors appear to have spent considerable time with the beta versions of the tool and have also practical experience with related tools like SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). But the lack of practical use has still a negative impact on the reviewed books. So if You’re looking for real practical experience in these three books then I’m afraid You will be disappointed.

Whenever new software tools are released they seem to be shipped with new concepts and acronyms. P/P is no exception from that rule. It comes with the concept of Managed Self-Service BI. Sounds great, right? Basically the concept is about that the business side of the corporates doesn’t need any longer to ask for support from the centralized IT-department whenever they want to analyze larger data sets acquired from centralized data sources.

By the way, the formal name of P/P is Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel.

The Books

Title: Practical PowerPivot & DAX Formulas for Excel 2010
Author: Art Tennick
Publishing Year: 2010

This book clearly consist of two parts; an introduction part to quickly get the reader to start using the tool and a presentation part for the major Data Analysis Expression (DAX) functions and formulas. It’s a descriptive book and is a great book to place on the desktop, i.e. to use it as a primer to lookup DAX functions.

The author manages to keep a relaxing writing style and at the same makes it easy to follow. It’s written in plain English and I didn’t have any problems to understand it. OK, all the acronyms can be quite frustrating to keep in mind. I wished that the author had dedicated more pages to the first part of the book. In that way he could elaborate certain parts more. The book does not provide any knowledge about Excel itself in this context. So if You’re new to some built-in tools like Pivot Table, Slicers and Charts You need to grab that knowledge elsewhere. Anyway, the book lives up to its title and the author have made a good work.

This book became quickly my favorite book. I still have it on my desk and I still need to quickly find information about individual DAX functions.

Title: PowerPivot for Excel 2010
Authors: Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari
Publishing Year: 2010

The book is well written and the authors have put a lot of efforts to describe complex areas in the most simplest ways. Both authors seem to be experts in SSAS and to a certain degree they leverage their knowledge in this field in the book. The book is indeed a descriptive book and I find it to be rather compact, perhaps too compact.

For native Excel developers it may be interesting to take part of chapters like the one about Data Models and the chapter about Evaluation Context and CALCULATE. One chapter is aside for Pivot Tables which is good, especially when the different types of Pivot Tables are compared with each other.

In the end of the book the authors discuss the option to publish P/P reports on SharePoint Server. Practical it means that we install the P/P Server software on the SharePoint Server farm and where SSAS/Report Server, Excel Services work together with the P/P Server program. It will certainly give more raw power in order to work with super large data sets and to generate aggregated reports.

The book gives a lot of practical hands on examples in each chapter which is also good. But at the same time the book lacks any deeper discussions. I also get the impression that the authors view Excel as a basic environment for P/P reports and nothing else. Compared with the other two books here this book is more technical advanced. Practical it means that the book is written by SSAS specialists for SSAS specialists.

Title: PowerPivot for the Data Analyst: Microsoft Excel 2010
Author: Bill Jelen (aka MrExcel)
Publishing Year: 2010

Bill Jelen is today the #1 Excel author as he produce several books whenever a new Excel version is launched. It’s good to see that Bill has devoted a whole book about the P/P utility. It gives a signal to other developers and to Microsoft that Excel developers also have an interest in the P/P tool and are also committed to leverage the new utility.

This book is also classified as a descriptive book and it’s also a compact book. Bill has always an exhilarating writing style and this book is no exception from that. Of course, the book gives a detailed picture of the built-in tools Pivot Table, Charts and Slicers. Actually, the book gives some gems for Pivot Tables (unless You already have a copy of Bill’s book or Debra Dalgleish’s book about the Pivot Table tool).

It also explains the basic of the P/P tool and how to use it in a lightweight way. It also contains some nice tips with the utility. The book also contains a lot of hands on examples that are easy to follow. It makes it also easier to understand the tool and how we can use it. In the end of the book Bill shortly discuss the option to use a P/P server.

To summarize the book; it’s written by an Excel specialist for Excel specialists.

The End
All three books belongs to the same group, i.e. they are descriptive books. For a new tool it’s welcoming to cover the basic level which all these books do. However, as we gain more practical experience I hope that coming books give more guidelines towards best practices.

Kind regards,
Dennis

As a side note;
Two of these three books seems to have been initialized either at a lunch or at a dinner time where the table of contents was written down on a napkin.

May 8, 2010

Excellent Learning Tool for Open XML SDK 2.0

Filed under: .NET & Excel, .NET Books, SQL Server, VSTO & Excel, VSTO Books — Dennis M Wallentin @ 7:18 pm

For some weeks ago Microsoft announced that they had launched the final version of Open XML SDK 2.0 for Microsoft Office. With this SDK we can create and manipulate Excel workbooks in code without involving Excel and also without having Excel installed.

What comes as a bonus with SDK 2.0 is the Open XML SDK 2.0 Productivity Tool for Microsoft Office. I was very pleased and surprised to discover that this is a multipurpose tool that allows us to a) generate reflected code, i.e to see the correct code to interact with the Open XML Documents file format, b) comparing source and target files code and b) validate code. We can also via the tool easily get access to the Open XML documentation.

The process to generate reflected code is very simple:
1. Create an Excel workbook and customize it as You want the final product to look like. Save it with the Open XML file format.
2. Open the Productivity Tool and open the created Excel workbook.
3. Navigate to the part of the created Excel workbook you want the code for.
4. Hit the button Reflect Code.
5. Done!

The following screen shot shows the tool in action:

However, we cannot control which language the generated reflected code is presented to us. The output is always in C# so if we want to see the generated VB.NET code we need to convert the generated C# code to VB.NET with a tool like Code Converter from Telerik.

The blog Brian Jones & Zeyad Rajabi: Office Solutions has published an excellent map over available online (MSFT’) resources for Open XML, which can be found at the following URL Zeyad Rajabi’s Open XML SDK Blog Map.

Personally I’m still in the initially phase and up to this date I have only done five smaller Excel jobs that involved manipulation of the Open XML file format. Have You done any work that involves it and if yes what are Your experiences?  

The more I work with it and the more I explore the above tool the more attractive it becomes. The real potential, at least to me, is that with Open XML SDK installed on a server we can generate Excel Reports in a smooth and structural way without having Excel installed. 

Enjoy it!

Kind regards,
Dennis

March 26, 2010

New Download Page for XL-Dennis Tools

Filed under: .NET & Excel, .NET Books, COM Add-ins, SQL Server, VSTO & Excel, VSTO Books, XL-Dennis' freewares — Dennis M Wallentin @ 4:15 pm

As a consequence of the reconstruction of ExcelKB my free tools needed a new place. I decided to add a new page to this blog enabling everyone to download the tools:

Kind regards,
Dennis

January 21, 2010

Visual Studio Tools for Office 2007 – Review

Filed under: .NET & Excel, .NET Books, VSTO & Excel, VSTO Books — Dennis M Wallentin @ 11:54 am

Title:
Visual Studio Tools for Office 2007 – VSTO for Excel, Word and Outlook
(Note: The Second Edition)
Authors:
Eric Carter and Eric Lippert
Publisher:
Addison-Wesley
Year:
2009
Target group:
.NET Developers, especially C# developers, that want to develop Office solutions based on VSTO technology.
Ranking:
8 (Out of 10)

Comments
Perhaps the most important news in the second edition is that it’s only available with C#  and not with VB.NET as the first editions was. Unfortunately the title no longer includes the language in use which can be very misleading for potential book buyers.

The book’s concept is built around two topics; how to work with each software’s object model and event coding. For obvious reasons it cannot cover all the objects in the softwares. Compared with the first edition the major update is  that it now cover VSTO 3.0 . The chapter about managed COM add-in has now been replaced with a chapter that explicit target VSTO add-ins and the second edition now also cover the Ribbon Visual Designer in VSTO. A complete new chapter has also been added about using the ClickOnce technology for deploying VSTO solutions.

The book covers well what we can do with VSTO but not how we should do it. If we fully understand this then the book will be a good resource for us. When covering several softwares the book cannot covering all details about VSTO for each software. However, it covers the more central parts and it does it well too.

With a page numbers of 1015 the book is thick as a brick and consider the content it should be treated as the “bible” for VSTO. I like the book for several reasons; it’s well written and it covers VSTO well. But again, if we do not know C# then the book will be of little value although it provides all examples in VB.NET (available as download from the book’s site).

Kind regards,
Dennis

May 19, 2009

The 2nd Edition of Professional Excel Development (PED) is available!

Filed under: .NET Books, VSTO Books — Dennis M Wallentin @ 4:30 pm

General
The book “Professional Excel Development” (aka “PED”) is now available in the second edition. The major news is that .NET including VSTO has been added to the book. Because I’m responsible for the .NET section in the book the list of authors now also includes my name too.

2nd PED

For some weeks ago Ross McLean had the kindness to make an interview with me. Instead of repeating what I said in the interview you can read the full story here. However, I would like to thank Rob Bovey  for being an excellent teamleader for this edition. Another person I would also like to thank is Gabhan Barry (a Program Manager in the Excel group at Microsoft) who made the technical review on the .NET chapters.

New Chapters
The second editions includes five new chapters:

Chapter 10 – The Office 2007 Ribbon User Interface:
This chapter cover the Ribbon UI paradigm and discuss some advanced problem solving with the new UI.

Chapter 11 – Creating Cross-Version Applications:

In view of the fact that the Ribbon UI was introduced with Excel 2007 and that Windows Vista differ from Windows XP we decided to add this chapter. It covers how to create applications that target both Excel 2003 and previously versions and Excel 2007. We also discuss the major differences between the two operating systems.

Chapter 24 – Excel and VB.NET:
In the first part we introduce the IDE in detail and cover some basic VB.NET programming. In the second part of the chapter we discuss how to automate Excel with VB.NET.
The chapter present a practical case, PETRAS Report Tool.NET which is a standalone utility to retrieve data from PETRAS SQL Server database and populate some Excel reports templates.

Chapter 25 – Writing Managed COM Add-ins with VB.NET:
This chapter is the “flag ship” of the .NET section and goes in detail on how to create managed COM Add-ins and it also discuss in detail Automation Add-ins.
Here we also port the practical standalone utility, PETRAS Report Tool.NET. to a managed COM Add-in.

Chapter 26 – Developing Excel Solutions with Visual Studio Tools for Office System (VSTO):
In the first part of the chapter we set focus on two questions: What is VSTO and When to use VSTO. We also discuss VSTO add-ins, VSTO workbooks and how to deploy a VSTO workbook via the Web with the ClickOnce technology. To leverage the content in this chapter it requires that you have access to Excel 2007.

To buy the book or not?
If you have an interest in Excel and .NET including VSTO then you should consider buying the second edition. However, if your concern is native Excel and VBA then it is better that you save the money and wait until the next edition of the book is available.

If you want to buy or rank the book then please click here

PED’s site
With this edition we decided to build a completely new site for the book with Q&A forums. The intention with the site is to allow you to interact with the authors and leave suggestions for future editions of the book. The Q&A forums are built around the book’s content and they have a similar structure as the book’s TOC. In addition, it is here you will find information about updates and more downloads. 
We strongly encourage you to become a member and discuss the book in detail. Rob and I will try to answer all questions to the best of our knowledge. At the same time we feel it is important to state that the site is not a general Q&A forum about the involved technologies.

Together with the publisher we have made two chapters available for free download. To find out more please visit the PED’s site.

Let me know if you want any further information.

Kind regards,
Dennis

January 20, 2008

RibbonX: Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon – Review

Filed under: .NET Books, VSTO Books — Dennis M Wallentin @ 10:52 pm

Title:
RibbonX: Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon
Authors:
Robert Martin, Ken Puls, Teresa Henning (Oliver Stohr)
Publisher:
Wiley
Year:
2007
Target group:
According to me: Power user to professional VBA-developers
Targeting softwares in the Office suite:
Excel 2007, Word 2007 and Access 2007
Ranking:
7.5 (out of 10)

Comments
This book is the first of its kind as it explicit only target the RibbonX and how to manipulate and customize it. It covers how to work with RibbonX in Access, Excel and Word.

According to the book itself it contains two parts but for me it contains three parts where the first part serves as an introduction to RibbonX, XML and VBA. The second part is a walkthrough of the RibbonX’s object model and the final part leverage the preceding parts as well as cover some advanced topics.

Part I
The authors present the Ribbon UI and discuss its pros and cons. As we all know, new things solve some issues but also at the same time create new issues and the Ribbon UI is no exception from that rule. Two important tools are also presented, the Custom UI Editor and XML Notepad which is probably not so known among VBA-developers. Together with the presentation of the tools the tools’ pros and cons are also being discussed. ‘XML for RibbonX’ is also presented here together with a chapter for beginners of VBA.  

I find it to be good that the authors actually also discuss the shortcomings of new technologies and tools. The introduction is well written but does not give a ‘clear picture’ for the remaining parts of the book as it tries to target all groups from ‘novice to professional’.

Part II
This part is the backbone of the book as it describe the RibbonX’s objects model in detail and provides us with a great number of examples for Excel, Word and Access. Whenever there is a discrepancy between the softwares, on how they handle the RibbonX’s object model or how the XML files needs to be written, we are given examples that cover it. The presentations of the objects are strictly and a lot of data about the objects are given.

All the chapters are well written and it covers all aspects of the RibbonX’s objects model. It can be a little bit confusing when focus is switched from one software to another one but the authors have managed to keep it together.

Make sure You got the book available when developing RibbonX’s solutions as You need to go back to this part on a regular basis.

Part III
In this part the authors put things together and provide us with practical cases as well with some advanced topics on both VBA and on how to customize the RibbonX.

Here You will find some interesting aspects such as creating UI for Web Service and to work with contextual controls, keytips & keyboard shortcuts as well as how to share and deploy ribbon customizations. By the way, the chapter ‘Sharing and Deploying Ribbon Customizations’ is excellent.

For me this part of the book is the best part. In these chapters the authors push the customization of the RibbonX to the limit but also at the same point out some ‘traps’ to avoid.

Missing entries
The following aspects would have been nice to take part of:

I consider the RibbonX UI design to be very important. Therefore I was surprised that the book didn’t cover or at least discussed best practice for Ribbon UI design.

The book discusses reading and writing settings to Windows registry which is good. The way security is implemented in Windows Vista that approach may not always be the best alternative. On the .NET platform we use XML files for various tasks and since RibbonX rely on XML it would have been natural to also cover XML files to store settings in.

A book that explicit focus on how to customize the RibbonX should at least have some part that introduce RibbonX developing on the .NET platform. It becomes more important when it exist some shortcomings via VBA which the book also discuss.

Special kudos to the authors for:

  • Emphasizing on functionality and by doing so they don’t get ‘carried away’. 
  • Recommend to use a table-driven approach when customizing the RibbonX.
  • RibbonX Naming Convention which is based on RVAB naming conventions. This is a good start in order to create a standard on how we name the RibbonX’s object model in code. We may not necessary agree but it allow us to discuss the subject.
  • The tool, imageMSO Reference, which allows us to lookup imageMSO and gets the XML code for the selected imageMSO. Of course, I would be very pleased if it had been created as a managed COM add-in but that’s another story. 

Summarize
This book provides us with a depth on how to control the RibbonX and it does it well. 

If You are a serious VBA developer who target Access 2007 /  Excel 2007 / Word 2007 then this book is a must have.

Kind regards,
Dennis

November 1, 2006

.NET Books

Filed under: .NET Books — Dennis M Wallentin @ 8:42 pm

Internet is for many individuals their number #1 source when it comes to information of all kind. It’s usually an inexpensive and a fast way to get wanted information and if not found then there exist a great number of Q&A forums.

Despite the easy access via Internet I still prefer to read printed books, especially when it’s about new areas of interest. For me the main advantages for using printed books are:

  • They usually give more input on ‘why and when’ then just ‘how’ which is important to get a better understanding from a broader perspective.
  • They have been reviewed both from a technical point of view as well as from a general view. Most publishers have an errata page for each book which is regular updated  and the code used in the book is available for download.
  • I can bring the books with me where ever I want as they  are available without the demand of a computer.
  • They allow me to make marks and comments whenever I want to do it.
  • They have become less expensive for the last years (at least in Sweden).
  • They can be sold in second hand.

When it comes to publishers within the field of programming I prefer the following:

  • Addison Wesley 
  • APress
  • Wiley 
  • Wrox

For me these publishers stands for high quality and offer many times books that are above the average level and also avoid ‘gracefully’ to try to cover ‘every aspects’ on the subjects.

Visual Basic.NET

Professional VB 2005 
Authors: Bill Ejven et al 
Publisher: Wrox
Pages: 1015
ISBN: 0-7645-7536-8
Target audience: Experienced classic VB/VBA developers

The book introduces the readers to .NET Framework, VB.NET, Security and Error handling, ADO.NET and ASP.NET. This book is good although it cover, in my opinion, to wide number of areas. I prefer books where the author(s) focus on few areas in order to get a deep on the subjects.

Pro VB 2005 and the .NET 2.0 Platform
Author: Andrew Troelsen
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 990
ISBN: 1-59059-578-5

Ever since I read Andrew Troelsen’s book ‘COM and .NET Interoperability’ I like his writing style and this one does not get me disappointed. Like the above book from Wrox it tends to cover too many areas but not as much as the one above.

If You consider which book to choose between these two books then I strongly recommend to select this book. Especially as it cover in one chapter (in an understandable way) COM and .NET Interoperability.

Pro .NET 2.0 Windows Forms and Custom Controls in VB 2005
Author: Matthew MacDonald
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 961
ISBN 1-59059-694-3
Target audience: Intermediate – Advanced

In many ways this is an excellent book on the subject and offer also two very good appendix about ‘Creating Usable Interface’ and ‘ClickOnce’.  It’s well written and very clear on many things and for me it’s the book that encourages me to really explore things with Windows Forms.

So if You believe You’re part of the main target audience then this book should be considered as a ‘must’.

Object-Oriented Programmning (OOP)

During all the years I’ve been around it has always been ‘hype’ around OOP and to the fact that classic VB/VBA don’t support Inheritance and Polymorphism. Despite the lack of it I can only conclude that many solutions created with classic VB/VBA works excellent and continue will do it.  The point here is that You don’t need to feel that it’s a must to learn everything about OOP in order to create workable solutions with VB.NET.

If You really want to learn OOP then I strongly suggest that You check out the following two books on the subject:

Visual Basic.NET Class Design Handbook (Coding effective Classes)
Authors: Damon Allison, Andy Olsen and James Speer
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 352
ISBN: 1-59059-275-1 
Target audience: Intermediate – Advanced

In my opinion this is The Book on the subject. They manage to ‘isolate’ the book to only deal with OOP which I highly appreciate, i e one book cover a specific area only. If You’re concerned on the topic then this book is highly recommended.

An Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming with Visual Basic.NET
Author: Dan Clark
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 396
ISBN: 1-59059-015-5
Target audience: Beginner – Intermediate

Clark’s book introduces the readers to the Unified Modeling Language (UML). In my opinion this can be an advantage as it offer a platform to learn OOP in a more structural and in a logic way.

What may be an annoying aspect to consider when it comes to buying book is that MSFT has a extremely high pace of new releases of .NET Framework and VB.NET. However, books can always be useful although they are not ‘state of the art’. 

What’s Your opinion about books and do You have any good books to recommend for the .NET – world?

In an upcoming blogpost I will present some books that explicit target Visual Studio Tools for the Office System (VSTO) and Add-ins. 

Kind regards,
Dennis

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