Home Books We Recommend
Books We Recommend on Web Design, Usability, and .NET Development
Over the years, we've gained many insights and much valuable information from
authors who share our continual quest for excellence in design and software
engineering. Here, for like-minded developers, we recommend some of our
About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design
By Alan Cooper, the classic
Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design (published by IDG
WorldWide Books) should be read and reread by every software designer whether
or not they design for the Web. You might know Alan as the "Father of Visual
Don't imagine for a second, though, that Alan is an introverted technocrat.
Anyone who has attended a Cooper seminar and seen his huge "Software Sucks!"
proclamation knows that he doesn't shy away from controversy. His engaging
personality and strong views enliven his writing and, sometimes, enrage
Even if you don't agree with every single one of Alan's opinions (and you
probably won't), once you read About Face you'll never view software
design quite as comfortably as you did before. And if Alan enrages you, well,
being enraged is lots better than being bored.
Doing Web Development: Client-Side Techniques
By Deborah Kurata, Doing
Web Development: Client-Side Techniques (published by Apress)
introduces the client-side technologies that modern browsers use to present
information in an attractive, useful manner. If you need to understand the
basics of technologies such as DHTML (Dynamic HTML), CSS (Cascading Style
you. You'll learn about all of these technologies and, what's more, you'll see
how they work together at the browser.
Always very clearly written, Deborah's books on Visual Basic
programming—treasured by us—have described how to use her GUIDS (Goals, User
Interface, Implementation, Data, Strategies) design approach to develop a
high-quality object-oriented Visual Basic application. In Doing Web Development,
she describes how to use the same basic approach to craft a browser-rendered
User Interface using modern client-side techniques.
The Inmates Are Running the Asylum
By Alan Cooper (yes, the same
Alan Cooper), The
Inmates Are Running the Asylum (published by Sams) provides loads of
invaluable advice about designing usable software. In case you wonder how this
title relates to software design, just substitute "programmers and engineers"
for the word "inmates." (We told you that Alan doesn't shy away from
Although we find this entire book to be valuable and entertaining, we'd like to
call your attention especially to the last chapters, those on developing
personas, creating scenarios, and ensuring the usability of software. We can
attest to the importance of those techniques from our own experiences in
designing Web sites and conducting usability audits.
Microsoft AJAX Library Essentials
By By Bogdan Brinzarea and Cristian
AJAX Library Essentials (published by Packt) explains exactly how AJAX
programming works in language that any experienced ASP.NET programmer will
truly appreciate. AJAX programming allows developers to create Web pages that
provide a responsive user interface akin to desktop applications. An
AJAX-enabled Web page can also exchange information with the server without the
need for reloading the page on each round trip.
familiar object-oriented framework that permits ASP.NET programmers to enhance
both the look and speed of their Web applications. What's more, the library
automatically adjusts for the annoying variations in programming models (DOMs)
supported by different browsers. (To be blunt, Internet Explorer is the main
The authors bring their readers along in a logical, step by step progression
starting with very clear explanations of how AJAX client and server
differ from the .NET languages. The book's well-chosen case study shows the reader,
by example, how to make practical use of the Microsoft AJAX library. We feel
that every ASP.NET programmer will find Microsoft AJAX Library Essentials
a valuable read and a frequent reference.
Moving to VB.NET: Strategies, Concepts, and Code
By Dan Appleman,
Visual Basic guru, author, and founder of Apress, Moving
to VB.NET: Strategies, Concepts, and Code (published by Apress, of
course) tells Visual Basic programmers what they need to know to move from
Visual Basic 5 or 6 to Visual Basic .NET. If you plan to make that move, we
recommend that you read Dan's book even before you read our book!
During the beta testing of the .NET Framework, we worked with Visual Basic .NET
for many months before Dan's Moving to VB.NET book became available,
but we learned a lot from it nevertheless. If we'd had his book at the outset,
we'd have saved oceans of time and—in one case, anyway—hair.
If you've been programming in Visual Basic for awhile, we're sure that you've
encountered Dan's invaluable books on using the Windows API. When you move to
Visual Basic .NET, you'll find this book just as worthwhile.
Programming VB.NET: A Guide for Experienced Programmers
By Gary Cornell with
help from Jonathan Morrison, Programming
VB.NET: A Guide for Experienced Programmers (published by Apress)
explains how to use the first fully object-oriented version of Visual Basic to
create robust, state-of-the-art programs. The authors of this book don't
pussyfoot around. They make no bones about addressing it to experienced
On the other hand, you don't have to be experienced in earlier versions of
Visual Basic to understand Programming VB.NET. It will help, though,
if your experience includes familiarity with the principles of object-oriented
We found Gary's book to be a valuable addition to our library even after we
worked with pre-release versions of Visual Basic .NET for over a year and
one-half. We recommend it highly.
Home Books We Recommend