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windows forms programming in Visual cover

Windows Forms Programming in Visual Basic .Net

 By: Chris Sells and Justin Ghetland with forward

 Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review by Andrew Novick

Summary: This is a valuable intermediate level book for the Visual Basic .Net programmer with a basic knowledge of WinForms programming.  It goes beyond the basics into more difficult tasks which are poorly explained by the Framework documentation.  I recommend it for Widows Forms programmers with at least a couple of months of experience.

I was prepared to be disappointed in this book.  It could have been just another roundup of Windows Forms controls and the routine tasks required to package them together and deliver a WinForms application.  Although these tasks are given quick coverage the it turns out to be a very informative book that assumes that the reader knows the basics and jumps into how to accomplish the next level of more difficult tasks that require a more in depth knowledge of the .Net Framework and Windows to accomplish.

These include tasks such as:

  • Creating WinForms that adapt to changes in form size and do so without writing long resize routines.

  • Printing forms that resemble the screen

  • Drag and drop between WinForms and from other Windows programs

  • Multi-threading

  • Drawing on WinForms with GDI+

In fact, drawing gets a pair of chapters.  These are of interest if you’re going to take on tasks such as owner drawn controls.  What the book shows is that although it’s an ambitious undertaking, .Net brings it within reach of the dedicated programmer, including those with Visual Basic backgrounds.

The middle part of the book is devoted to user controls including run-time and design-time behavior.  This is probably the most valuable portion of the book because it’s this feature that really enables the programmer to extend the Windows Forms interface

Although this book is written in Visual Basic, that hardly matters.  The .Net framework is the same.  The language differences between C# and VB.Net play only a small role in the book.  That isn’t to say that the places where Visual Basic has additional features, such as the handling of delegates, are ignored, they’re not.  For ease of reading the examples anyone programming in C# would be better of in the C# version of the book “Windows Forms Programming in C#” authored by Sells alone.

The Appendicies include additional one hundred or so pages on topics that didn’t fit into the structure of the chapters

  • Porting from VB6

  • Serialization

  •  Delegates

  •  A wrap-up of the standard Windows Forms Controls. 

I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone who’s approaching Windows Forms for the first time.  However, if you’ve been working on WinForms for a few months, this is a valuable book for going further.



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