15 Books You Must Have If You Are Doing ASP.NET Web Development

Posted by: Suprotim Agarwal , on 6/8/2009, in Category ASP.NET
Views: 184894
Abstract: Good books gives you a quick and handy insight into a technology. You should choose books that are usually written by professionals who recommend best practices and different methods of solving a business problem using the technology. In this post, I will share some books I recommend for ASP.NET and other related Web Development technologies
15 Books You Must Have If You Are Doing ASP.NET Web Development
Some time back, in one of my articles Are You A Good Developer, I had pointed out that good books give you a quick and handy insight into a technology. You should choose books that are usually written by professionals who recommend best practices and different methods of solving a business problem using a technology.
Now choosing the right web development books out of the thousands available from different authors and different publishers, is a daunting task. I often receive requests for ‘good book’ suggestions. Questions like –
“Which is the best ASP.NET book you would recommend?”
“Which books should I read to become a good Web Developer?”
“Any books to learn how to architect ASP.NET applications?”
are asked very frequently. I finally decided to make my recommendations public and hope that these recommendations will help you out if you have been looking out for a similar list.
Disclaimer - I possess most of the books listed here and have been referencing them time and again. However this list is by no means comprehensive. There are many more great books written by some great authors that have not been mentioned in this list. One of the primary reasons of not mentioning them in this list is that I am focusing on the latest version of ASP.NET and related technologies and hence only the recently published ones have been included here. Abstracts for most of the books have been taken directly from Amazon.
Books on ASP.NET 3.5/ ASP.NET AJAX/ ASP.NET MVC/ Architecture - ASP.NET is a free technology that allows you to create rich interactive modern web sites. Here are six books I recommend to learn and master ASP.NET.
Beginning ASP.NET 3.5: In C# and VB - This book is for anyone who wants to learn how to build rich and interactive web sites that run on the Microsoft platform. With the knowledge you gain from this book, you create a great foundation to build any type of web site, ranging from simple hobby-related web sites to sites you may be creating for commercial purposes.
ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed - ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed is the most comprehensive book available on the Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5 Framework, covering all aspects of the ASP.NET 3.5 Framework--no matter how advanced. I 'strongly' recommend this book!
Professional ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX  - This book is aimed at experienced ASP.NET developers looking to add AJAX to their applications, and experienced Web developers who want to move to using ASP.NET and AJAX together.
Microsoft ASP.NET and AJAX: Architecting Web Applications - In this book, Dino Esposito challenges readers to think beyond the easy way to AJAX, which involves adding AJAX capabilities to a non-AJAX system designed in the old model of Web development. Instead, he proposes an alternate, if more difficult, paradigm involving new patterns and new complexities and culminating in a new, pure-AJAX architecture. You ll learn why far better solutions result from the second, more radical approach and you ll get practical guidance on how to implement this new architecture for Rich Internet Applications (RIAs)
Microsoft .NET: Architecting Applications for the Enterprise - Make the right architectural decisions up front and improve the quality and reliability of your results. Led by two enterprise programming experts, you ll learn how to apply the patterns and techniques that help control project complexity and make systems easier to build, support, and upgrade right from the start. Get pragmatic architectural guidance on how to: Build testability, maintainability, and security into your system early in the design Expose business logic through a service-oriented interface Choose the best pattern for organizing business logic and behavior Review and apply the patterns for separating the UI and presentation logic Delve deep into the patterns and practices for the data access layer Tackle the impedance mismatch between objects and data Minimize development effort and avoid over-engineering and deliver more robust results Get code samples on the Web.
Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0 - This book begins with a complete ASP.NET MVC reference application. The bulk of the rest of the book begins with the basic concepts around the model view controller pattern, including the little history and the state of the MVC on the web today. You will then go into the ways that MVC is different from ASP.NET Web Forms and explore the structure of a standard MVC application and see what you get out of the box. Next you dig deep into routing and see the role URLs play in your application. You will deep dive into controllers and views and see what role the Ajax plays in your applications. The last third of the book focuses entirely on advanced techniques and extending the framework.
Books on C# 3.0/VB.NET 9.0 (covers LINQ) – ASP.NET is a technology and not a language. To use the technology effectively, you should have a command over the language (like C# or VB.NET) that goes into building up the logic for these web pages. Here are two books I suggest for C#/VB.NET.
C# in Depth: What you need to master C# 2 and 3 - C# in Depth is a completely new book designed to propel existing C# developers to a higher level of programming skill. One simple principle drives this book: explore a few things deeply rather than offer a shallow view of the whole C# landscape. If you often find yourself wanting just a little more at the end of a typical chapter, this is the book for you. I 'strongly' recommend this book!
Pro VB 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Platform - Whether you’re moving to .NET for the first time, or you’re already writing applications on .NET 2.0 or .NET 3.0, Pro VB 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Platform will provide you with a solid grounding in this new technology and serve as a comprehensive reference throughout your coding career.
Books on Silverlight - Silverlight is a lightweight cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in designed to create rich internet applications which is freely available for download. It enables developers to create Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and can easily be integrated with ASP.NET. Here are two books I recommend for Silverlight.
Pro Silverlight 2 in C# 2008 - Pro Silverlight 2 in C# 2008 is the perfect reference: you’ll learn about the features that put Silverlight in direct competition with Adobe Flash, such as rich support for 2D drawing, animations, and media playback, and best of all, you’ll experience the plumbing of .NET and the design model of WPF through Silverlight—all of the same .NET technology that developers use to design next–generation Windows applications.
Data-Driven Services with Silverlight 2 - This comprehensive book teaches you how to build data-rich business applications with Silverlight 2 that draw on multiple sources of data. Packed with reusable examples, Data-Driven Services with Silverlight 2 covers all of the data access and web service tools you need, including data binding, the LINQ data querying component, RESTful and SOAP web service calls, and Microsoft's new ADO.NET Data Services and the ADO.NET Framework.
Books on JavaScript/jQuery - JavaScript allows you interact with the DOM object and can greatly enhance the responsiveness of your ASP.NET web pages. jQuery is a fast, lightweight JavaScript library that is CSS3 compliant and supports many browsers. The jQuery framework is extensible and very nicely handles DOM manipulations, CSS, AJAX, Events and Animations. Here are two books I recommend on JavaScript/jQuery. You can even read my jQuery articles over here to see how jQuery can be integrated with ASP.NET pages.
Learning jQuery 1.3 - this book teaches you the basics of jQuery for adding interactions and animations to your pages. Even if previous attempts at writing JavaScript have left you baffled, this book will guide you past the pitfalls associated with AJAX, events, effects, and advanced JavaScript language features. Experienced programmers will also be aided by its conceptual consistency.
Professional JavaScript for Web Developers  - In this book, you'll explore basic concepts of JavaScript including its version of object-oriented programming, inheritance, and its use in HTML and XHTML. A detailed discussion of the components that make up a JavaScript implementation follows, with specific focus on standards such as ECMAScript and DOM. All three levels of DOM are explained, including advanced topics such as event simulation, XML parsing, and XPath queries. You'll also learn how to utilize regular expressions and build dynamic user interfaces. This valuable insight will help you apply JavaScript solutions to the business problems faced by Web developers everywhere.
Books on CSS - Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is very important for web design as it is allows for consistent separation between the styling of a page such as layout, fonts, color from the content of the page. Here is one book I recommend to getting started with CSS.
Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS - Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS, 2nd Edition teaches web development from scratch, without assuming any previous knowledge of HTML, CSS or web development techniques. This book introduces you to HTML and CSS as you follow along with the author, step-by-step, to build a fully functional web site from the ground up.

Other Related Books
Programming WCF Services - Programming WCF Services is the authoritative, bestselling introduction to Microsoft's unified platform for developing service-oriented applications (SOA) on Windows. Hailed as the most definitive treatment of WCF available, this relentlessly practical book provides insight, not documentation, to help you learn the topics and skills you need for building WCF-based applications that are maintainable, extensible, and reusable.
Programming Entity Framework - Programming Entity Framework is a thorough introduction to Microsoft's new core framework for modeling and interacting with data in .NET applications. This book not only gives experienced developers a hands-on tour of the Entity Framework and explains its use in a variety of applications, it also provides a deep understanding of its architecture and APIs.
Remember that reading books only gives you an insight into technology and recommends you the right way to use a technology. However to be able to judge the insights and form your own opinion, you 'should' practice code. Practice as much as you can!
Are there any books that I missed? Leave a comment and let me know.
I hope you liked my book collection and I thank you for viewing it. If you liked the collection,  Subscribe to the RSS Feed or Subscribe Via Email

This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.

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Suprotim Agarwal, MCSD, MCAD, MCDBA, MCSE, is the founder of DotNetCurry, DNC Magazine for Developers, SQLServerCurry and DevCurry. He has also authored a couple of books 51 Recipes using jQuery with ASP.NET Controls and The Absolutely Awesome jQuery CookBook.

Suprotim has received the prestigious Microsoft MVP award for Sixteen consecutive years. In a professional capacity, he is the CEO of A2Z Knowledge Visuals Pvt Ltd, a digital group that offers Digital Marketing and Branding services to businesses, both in a start-up and enterprise environment.

Get in touch with him on Twitter @suprotimagarwal or at LinkedIn

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Feedback - Leave us some adulation, criticism and everything in between!
Comment posted by Camel on Monday, June 8, 2009 10:52 AM
I am reading a book "Professional ASP.NET 3.5: In C# and VB" and I should say that this is quite good book. There are many interested aspects of programming in ASP.NET technology.
Comment posted by Suprotim Agarwal on Monday, June 8, 2009 12:08 PM
Camel: Yes that's a book. Another one I like specifically is ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed(in the list). Thanks for sharing your comments!
Comment posted by Andreas K on Monday, June 8, 2009 1:42 PM
I have been visiting yr site from the past 8 months and I am glad you published this list. I now atleast know what webmasters read :-) Great list and a great site.
Comment posted by Santosh Chandavaram on Monday, June 8, 2009 2:35 PM
ASP.NET 3.5 Step by Step by George Shepherd: Its a highly useful book for beginners.  The book provides step by step coding exercises in ASP.NET using C#
Comment posted by Kirlo Paes on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 5:18 AM
Smashing List I liked the CSS book. Thanks.
Comment posted by Co&Co on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 2:33 PM
Comment posted by Lee Dumond on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:02 AM
I am really surpised you fail to mention Marco Bellinaso's ASP.NET 2.0 Website Programming Problem Design Solution. Especially considering your entire site design and architecture is based off on the BeerHouse app from that book. You even use most of Marco's graphics. This is still a very relevant book, much more so than several of the others you mention.
Comment posted by Eirik on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:14 AM
You proshould ready a book about LINQ: http://www.amazon.co.uk/LINQ-Action-Fabrice-Marguerie/dp/1933988169/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244450647&sr=1-1
Comment posted by Suprotim Agarwal on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 11:03 AM
Lee: I cannot agree more. This site is indeed based on the BeerHouse project and I am a huge fan of that book. However please note that the books listed here are on the latest version of each technology - in case of ASP.NET it is 3.5. As mentioned in my disclaimer, I have not mentioned his book since his was based on 2.0. Probably I should have mentioned ASP.NET 3.5 in the title. Anyways, I eagerly await his new book on 3.5 which will hit the stores in September.

Erik: Thanks for mentioning that book.
Comment posted by Lee Dumond on Friday, June 19, 2009 6:44 PM
Might want to look into getting up to speed on the BeerHouse MVC book, which is out now. As far as the 3.5 version for September, I wouldn't hold my breath on that.
Comment posted by IISMATT on Sunday, June 21, 2009 12:40 PM
LOL, I was also wondering how many books I have actually purchased and barely even read through, thanks to all the great communities on the internet. If you look at the header image of my website http//www.iismatt.com/iismatt that is an actual picture of one of my bookshelves, I probably have a couple thousand dollars worth of books, not to mention all of the ones I have gotten rid of.
Comment posted by Suprotim Agarwal on Monday, June 22, 2009 4:21 AM
Lee: I didn't know that! I was tracking the one to be released by Marco. Can you share the url over here. Btw, You got a nice blog!

IISMatt: That's a bunch of books you have. Why do purchase them if you do not read them? Sell it back on amazon ;)
Comment posted by Web Development Company on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 4:06 AM
Thanks for great stuff!
Comment posted by dggg on Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:40 AM
Comment posted by web design company on Friday, October 29, 2010 1:26 AM
you have done a very good job, each and every one life collect some other books.. because every one know about the book value & author.

Comment posted by Download Magento Themes on Monday, December 13, 2010 6:58 AM
You have done very nice job by sharing all these books,
where one can know the value of books..
If someone is in need then, definitely they should go for these authors books..
Its really a good stuff..
Comment posted by Download Magento Themes on Thursday, December 23, 2010 10:54 PM
You have done the excellent job by sharing this blog..
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Comment posted by Ariel Palioc on Sunday, February 13, 2011 12:18 AM
Comment posted by varsha on Saturday, October 8, 2011 12:13 AM
I read your article its good but i want one which havind asp.net using javascript, css and html.If you know pls let me know.Thanks..
Comment posted by freight company on Friday, November 11, 2011 10:37 PM
Great stuff, Some real good comments made here a topic that is very important.

Comment posted by freight company on Thursday, November 17, 2011 4:03 AM
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Comment posted by saurabh on Friday, November 18, 2011 4:02 AM
nice list. those books are really good . actually I want to get certification in .net like MCPD Web Developer. Could you please suggest me the good books to prepare and the strategy or any other blog related to this? Thanks in advance!
Comment posted by nehal on Monday, December 12, 2011 9:30 AM
hi this list is gr8 since i am just starting out moving from java. i was wondering if you could recommend a book in conjunction with C# and asp.net for Sharepoint 2010 developers.
Comment posted by nehal on Monday, December 12, 2011 11:08 AM
hi this list is gr8 since i am just starting out moving from java. i was wondering if you could recommend a book in conjunction with C# and asp.net for Sharepoint 2010 developers.
Comment posted by freight on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:24 AM
Its a great pleasure reading your post. Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is

awesome" Great work..
Comment posted by alert('Just to check') on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:25 PM
i m just checking
Comment posted by najju on Monday, June 18, 2012 5:23 AM
hi this is gr8 since i am just strating out moving from java..i was wondering if you could recommend a book in conjunction with c# and asp.net books..and any best tutorilas regarding this..thnx
Comment posted by Siavash on Sunday, August 5, 2012 5:22 PM
Dear Expert,
Thanks for this information. It was very useful, man. I have a question for you; since it seems you know what you're talking about and really know your stuff. as you know many people who claim they know; they DON'T. so:

you say go and do coding. go and practice. would you please tell me how? i don't always have ideas. i really don't know where to go for practice? sample code? they don't help THAT MUCH, after a while. specially when you want to learn the BIG CONCEPTS like 3-layer programming, models, design patterns, distributed programming and such. so what should i do? just keep on reading sources? should i stop and search MSDN for stuff? is there any book(s) for this matter?
Again, thanks for the great info. and thanks for your sharing spirit; i'm sure IT world needs people like you MORE.

Siavash (from Iran)
Comment posted by Arun on Monday, December 10, 2012 11:38 PM
Great list of books, no doubt... but the technology has changed rapidly since you posted this list.
Request you to post a new list of books keeping in mind the hot skills (ASP.Net 4.0/4.5, C#/VB.Net, MVC 4, JavaScript, JQuery, HTML5, CSS3, etc.) required to survive in the IT industry.

Keep up the good work.
Comment posted by Kumar on Friday, October 25, 2013 12:23 PM
Hi Mr. Agarwal,

I really appreciate your for the list of good books. As Arun sayas in above comments, please update the list of latest version books. Thanks.