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Paul Kimmel's book makes for a comprehensive overview of the controls that come in the ASPxperience Suite for ASP.NET.

Book Review: Professional DevExpress ASP.NET Controls by Paul Kimmel

ASPxperience Suite for ASP.NET is a comprehensive set of presentation and reporting components that add functionality to ASP.NET driven websites. Professional DevExpress ASP.NET Controls gives an overview of many of these controls as well as showing you how to use them and what kind of capabilities they contain.

The goal of author Paul Kimmel's book is to give you a solid understanding of how to incorporate these controls into vertical applications so as to fully leverage their power and flexibility and at the same time enhance the look and feel of your application. This book is 672 pages divided into 13 chapters.

Chapter 1, "Programming With ASPxGridView," will show you how this control does three very important things to provide high performance in a grid – it uses the database server, it manages the viewstate, and it uses Ajax internally. You will see how to handle sorting, filtering data, and work with ServerMode to create high powered grids. Chapter 2, "Advanced ASPxGridView Computing," then looks at additional features of the grid control such as templates, pop-up menus, callback, the use of stored procedures, and more.

Chapter 3, "Using the ASPxTreeList, ASPxDataView, and ASPxNewsControl," examines the tree list in bound and unbound modes, the data view which supports SEO settings, and the news control which is an implementation of the data view control. Chapter 4, "Adding SiteMaps, Navigation, and Pop-Up Dialog Boxes," describes how to build navigation into your system, facilitate social networking using a cloud control, building a sitemap, and the use of modal dialogs in ASP.NET

Chapter 5, "Implementing a Menu and Tabbed Controls," takes away much of the tediousness of building menus into your system. Here you will see how to work with standard and pop-up menus as well as create tabbed views. Chapter 6, "Managing Scheduled Items and Using Gauges," looks at creating calendar events for creating schedules as well as building dynamically bound gauges into your system.

Chapter 7, "Using the Data That Makes Sense for Your Solution," now looks at the eXpress Persistent Objects. This is a database agnostic framework that will allow you switch databases without having to recode while handling all of your database updates. Chapter 8, "Implementing Data Solutions with the ASPxPivotGrid," gives you the ability to transform relational data, export data to create crosstab reports, and give users the ability to filter data.

Chapter 9, "Using the ASPxHtmlEditor," gives you the know-how on this advanced end user editor which, in many ways, has the feel of MS Word conducive to letting your users build content right from within your application. Chapter 10, "Using Themes, CSS, and JavaScript for Customizations and Enhancements," gives you the ability to modify your system through cascading style sheets, the use of skins, and making the most of JavaScript.

Chapter 11, "Ajax, Charting, Reporting, and Cloud Computing," describes how to provide a richer experience for your users through callbacks, a callback panel, and timers as well as playing media files in your applications. Chapter 12, "Adding Charts and Graphs to your Applications," will show you how to create charting applications using XtraCharts. Chapter 13, "XtraReports for the Web," finishes off with creating rich reports for deployment to your end users.

Professional DevExpress ASP.NET Controls makes for a comprehensive overview of the controls that come in the ASPxperience Suite for ASP.NET. Included with the system is a CD that comes with a trial version of the suite and to get the most from this book you would want to own the full set.

Kimmel does a great job of providing an overview along with a fair amount of code to get you started. He so well acknowledges several places throughout that some of these controls could support books of their own — and there is no way to do justice over all of their capabilities in a book of this scope.

Where I do think this book works best is that it does step you through the basic functionality of each control to give you sufficient confidence to get up and running to the point where you can explore specific controls in more detail on your own. If you own or are planning on purchasing the ASPxperience Suite for ASP.NET, then Professional DevExpress ASP.NET Controls will give you a great head start on your way to proficiency.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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