What's in This Book
One chapter can be labeled a beginner's chapter, and that is Chapter 1. Chapters 2 through 18 contain advanced subject matter that will help you manage challenging problems whose solutions may be impossible to find in the help files and difficult to locate in other books.
Early chapters in this book cover subjects like inheritance and delegates because even seasoned Visual Basic 6 veterans might be a bit lost when it comes to these subjects. After all, neither inheritance nor delegates existed in Visual Basic 6, and delegates are unique to .NET.
In Chapter 4 we will jump into the deep water with Reflection. If you have heard of Run Time Type Information (RTTI), think of Reflection as RTTI on anabolic steroids. All the things that can be done with Reflection haven't even been invented yet, but what has been invented and discovered is amazing.
For example, .NET code is converted to Intermediate Language (IL) code before it is just-in-time compiled (JITted) and run. .NET emulates the Java byte code model to a limited degree. VB .NET supports emitting new types at runtime directly into IL and then creating instances of those types on-the-fly . This book will show you how to emit IL using Reflection and provide you with a means of extending your code in the most fundamental ways after it is deployed.
"DLL hell" is vaporized in VB .NET by adding metadata to assemblies. For now think of an assembly as an application that carries extra information with it, eliminating the need to monkey around with the registry and Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) so much.
Another cool technology is the ability to dynamically load assemblies over an HTTP wire. This means you can implement automatically deployable and updatable Windows applications emulating the thin client browser model.
Windows Forms “based applications provide a richer client experience than Web Forms “based applications, and thin client programming using assemblies may finally allow the convergence of Web and Windows development technologies.
This book will demonstrate how to use assembly metadata as well as how to implement thin client Windows applications that deploy over the Web and seamlessly update without user intervention.
There are times when you absolutely need multithreading capabilities. I will demonstrate how to use synchronous and asynchronous processes, thread pooling, and the thread class to safely incorporate multithreaded behavior and even how to do so with Windows Forms controls.
Multithreading in VB .NET is definitely a cruise missile you want in your arsenal. Learn how to use threads safely and professionally.
A huge body of code exists in the COM world. Microsoft hasn't pulled the plug on COM, so why should you? Even Visual Studio .NET (VS .NET) uses COM; look at the Add-Ins Manager.
COM Interop allows you to use COM components in .NET and .NET code in COM-based applications. In this book you will learn the ropes of COM Interop in VB .NET.
Moving toward open standards, Microsoft has developed new ways to solve existing problems. Remoting supports the management of solutions in a distributed environment. Read Chapter 8 to learn how to serialize objects and implement remoting for your distributed projects.
Historically, building advanced components for Visual Basic often required using ActiveX and a C++ compiler. VB .NET supports building professional components for VB .NET with VB .NET.
By working through Chapter 9 you will have an opportunity to build user controls, custom controls, and server controls. Several examples demonstrate the nuts and bolts of implementing and testing controls and adding those controls to VS .NET.
A sweeping change in .NET is found in ADO.NET technology. .NET follows the disconnected data model necessary for Web applications. The disconnected nature of ADO.NET is supported by XML DataSets, which replace the Recordset.
DataSets are based on XML and require you to rethink the way you build database, client-server, and Web-enabled applications. This book demonstrates how to use DataSets and work with disconnected data, as well as how to use XML and XML schemas (XSD) to connect to any kind of data anywhere .
One of the most exciting new technologies is Web Services. A Web Service represents code that can be called from anywhere in the world. Web Services use open standards protocols, like SOAP and XML, allowing any connected computer to request services from any other computer.
You will learn about XML, SOAP, Web Services, and UDDI as you read the pages of this book. I will provide many examples and describe these technologies (and acronyms, like UDDI).
ASP.NET, Debugging, and Security
The world of exciting new innovations includes ASP.NET. The ASP.NET model facilitates building Web applications very similar to how you build Windows-based applications.
While writing this book I was also working on an enterprise solution using ASP.NET. Through that experience, I learned the best practices for implementing, debugging, and securing Web applications and included them in the confines of this book.
You will have an opportunity to learn about Web Forms and server controls, as well as managing state using caching and XML serialization, connecting Web applications to data, and using the Policy Manager and new security attributes in .NET.
After reading this book you will agree that there is much to VB .NET.
Where to Get the Source Code
You can download all the source code from http://www.softconcepts.com. Like the cobbler who makes new shoes for his kids , I have time to update my own Web site, and occasionally things get moved around. Follow the Source Code link on the main page to find the source code for this book. If you have any questions or general feedback then send me some e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.