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Hitchhiker's Guide to Visual Studio
and SQL Server (7th Edition)

  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (Pearson)
  • ISBN: 0321243625
  • Pages: 1095
  • DVD
  • Price: $59.99 (US) SRP
  • Author: William R. Vaughn with Peter Blackburn

         This edition of my popular Hitchhiker's Guide series is intended to provide a broad treatment of Visual Studio and SQL Server, how they interact and how developers can build professional applications using these tools and engines. This has been my specialty for some time—the seam between Visual Basic, Visual Studio and SQL Server in all of their incarnations. When working at Microsoft University and over the last twenty years interacting with developers and other resources, I have accumulated a wealth of information that’s not found in the documentation. That’s because not all of it is “positive”. I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t and passed this on in my books, articles and editorials.

        When Microsoft University folded, I moved to the Visual Basic documentation team where I was “permitted” to document Visual Basic but not SQL Server—the documentation had to be positive (what works), “generic” and apply equally to all database backends. My books fill the gap between the languages (Visual Basic and C#) and the various versions of SQL Server.

        The 7th Edition of the Hitchhiker’s Guide takes an even broader view of data access development when compared to previous editions. That’s because Visual Basic. NET is not the Visual Basic (VB6) language discussed in the earlier editions—thus the change in title to Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server. Today, RAD development is as much about Visual Studio as it is about the development language. That’s because Visual Studio generates a significant amount of code in the selected language) and provides so many tools, wizards, controls, classes and interfaces that are common to all of the languages it hosts.

        As a result, the 7th edition spends considerable time discussing how the Visual Studio toolset can be, should be, and should not be used to create professional applications.

        SQL Server has also introduced an entirely new paradigm. Server-side executables can now be written in Visual Basic .NET or C#. This means stored procedures, functions, triggers, user-defined types and aggregates can all be written using Visual Studio and a familiar CLR language.  Here in the 7th edition I spend a long time discussing how and when it makes sense to design and implement each of these—well beyond the scope of previous editions of the Hitchhiker’s Guide. You’ll find the entire book is focused on connecting to and running queries on SQL Server—not Oracle, DB2, or JET. Sure, developers who need to access other DBMS platforms have praised my previous books because the fundamental principles and best practices I describe often (usually) apply to other DBMS platforms as well.

        In any case, I don’t want to dissuade developers from buying the book just because “Visual Basic” or “C#” isn’t on the cover. 99.44% of the book’s content applies equally to C# and Visual Basic .NET–although all of the examples are provided in Visual Basic .NET. I had originally planned to provide parallel C# examples in addition to Visual Basic .NET but I ran out of time and bandwidth. I expect most C# developers can easily translate Visual Basic .NET code to C#. But the same can’t be said for a portion of Visual Basic .NET developers—especially those transitioning from Visual Basic 6.0. I also did not include a SQL Server version number in the title as the discussions herein apply to any post-SQL Server 2000 version including SQL Server 2005 and its service packs. Given Microsoft stated intent to update its products every year or after every lawsuit, I needed to do what I could to keep the title (and content) from getting stale before its time.