It was September 2007 when I started work on this book. The conversation had been innocent enough.

Fancy doing a quick update of our ASP.NET book? said John Osborn of O’Reilly. There’s not too much new in VS2008 and ASP.NET 3.5 this time round. Should take a couple of months and be out for Christmas.

Naively, I agreed with that sentiment and to update the whole darn thing with the guidance of Jesse Liberty and Dan Hurwitz, the authors of the previous edition of this book, signed the contract. Six months later and I’m proud to say that this blog represents the end of the main writing phase. And I’d like to state for the record that while there isn’t the fundamental change between ASP.NET v2.0 and v3.5 that exists between v1.0 and v2.0, there are still a large number of new pieces in the Microsoft web development puzzle that weren’t there before.

  • New ASP.NET Controls
  • AJAX Extensions
  • AJAX Control Toolkit
  • WCF Web Services
  • LINQ
  • VS2008
  • Vista and UAC fun
  • IIS 7.0
  • AdventureWorks - yes Northwind has been expunged
  • Tools & Add-ins - courtesy of James Avery and Jim Holmes; see if you can find them all!!

And, frustratingly, because they just wouldn’t come out of beta, there are a number of pieces for which we just had to draw a line in the sand and say we’ll have to wait for the next edition to cover them.

  • ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions (well, it’s previewed but no code samples)
  • IIS 7.0 Admin Pack (grr)
  • ADO.NET Data Services (or Astoria as its known)
  • SQL Server 2008 (it’ll be Feb March PDC honest!)

Still, at least there’ll be some new stuff to cram into the fifth edition which will be out day and date with VS2010 or whatever it’s called.

You can pre-order it on Amazon UK and Amazon US and probably many others by now.

Meanwhile, some notes on the first draft for those curious

Stats

  • Number of raw pages : 758, without screenshots or formatting to bulk it up further.
  • Approx number of pages when finished : 1050 ish?
  • Total size of first draft files according to SVN : 206 MB
  • Number of caffeinated drinks consumed whilst writing : about 4 a night = 600 or so
  • Number of times "Why am I doing this?" crossed my mind : thousands
  • Number of seconds paused before I agreed to do the project : none
  • Animal on cover : Some sort of stingray I think.
  • Wife acceptance factor highpoints : Day 1 when the book was started with "two months to go" & Day 222 after writing from 10am to 7.45am the following day so we could go on holiday 90 minutes later.
  • Wife acceptance factor lowpoint : Immediately after Christmas without a deadline and the book outline continuing to grow ever larger.
  • Number of ideas for the fifth edition : loads
  • Total duration of first draft : 222 days and of those,
    • actual days with some writing involved (2+ hours): 125
    • holidays : 14 (spent with no access to a computer)
    • writer’s block : 21 (directly after holidays trying to remember how to turn the computer back on and then thinking how pleasant an empty page looks)
    • days spent appeasing wife for abandoning her for an unwritten chapter : 50 or so