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Book Reviews

Expert VB 2005 Business Objects (second edition)

Rockford Lhotka, Apress, 2006, $59.99, ISBN: 1590596315.

If you are looking for a good .NET companion framework, you should seriously consider CSLA (componentbased scalable logical architecture). Rockford Lhotka designed it to ease the development of business objects that must be reused and deployed in a variety of distributed scenarios—for example, two-tier architectures with desktop interfaces or three-tier architectures with Web interfaces. The result is a framework that provides built-in support for multilevel undo/redo, business rules, two-way data binding for both Windows and Web forms, object persistence, custom authentication, and integrated authorization.

This book reports on the CSLA framework. Its 12 chapters are well organized and easy to follow for the average .NET programmer; a few sections delve into some .NET intricacies that are necessary for implementing two-way data binding, for example, but Lhotka has managed to take the reader from the essential concepts to the intricacies so that they are easy to understand. Furthermore, readers who are not interested in the details may skip these sections safely.

The first chapter is an essay on distributed architectures in which the emphasis is on the distinction between logical and physical models and the mappings between them; this chapter explains the motivation for a framework such as CSLA, whose design goals and main features are presented in chapter 2. Chapters 3 through 5 deal with the implementation of the framework itself. The rest of the book reports on using the framework to implement a small, but not trivial, project management system to which the user can have access through a typical desktop application, Web page, or SOAP.

I must confess that I enjoyed evaluating this book, and I definitely recommend it to programmers who develop typical business applications and wish to take the .NET framework a step further. I also think that it is a valuable resource for information technology students since Lhotka's style of writing is didactic and the design of the framework is quite clean. For readers who prefer C#, another version is available. —Rafael Corchuelo

Reprinted from Computing Reviews, © 2007 ACM,


Originally published in Queue vol. 5, no. 4
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