Windows IT Library UPDATE--the monthly report from Windows IT Library, your free online technical reference. http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com

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March 26, 2003--In this issue:

1. BOOK REVIEW
- VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell

2. ANNOUNCEMENTS
- Join the HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show! - Get a Sample Issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator

3. NEW FROM WINDOWS IT LIBRARY
- Windows NT Troubleshooting - Windows 2000 Authentication

4. NEW BOOKS IN PRINT
- LDAP System Administration - .NET Web Services Solutions

5. NEW EBOOKS
- CodeNotes for Web-Based UI - The Insider's Guide to IT Certification

6. WINDOWS IT LIBRARY TOP FIVE
- The Microsoft Outlook E-mail and Fax Guide
- Optimizing Windows NT
- Microsoft Windows NT Server Administrator's Bible: Option Pack Edition
- Microsoft Windows NT Secrets: Option Pack Edition
- A+ Certification: How to Pass Your Exams

7. TECHNICAL TIP
- NT Registry Editing Caveats

8. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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1.

BOOK REVIEW



* VB.NET CORE CLASSES IN A NUTSHELL

Authors: Budi Kurniawan and Ted Neward
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates
Published: June 2002
ISBN: 0596002572
Paperback, 574 pages plus companion CD-ROM
Price: $44.95

"VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell " is not meant to be a book that you read casually. Instead, the book is a reference text that Visual Basic (VB) developers can use when they need information about the core classes in the Windows .NET Framework Class Library (FCL).

The authors suggest that one way to quickly understand the role of classes is to think of them in terms of their functionality. For example, some classes are concerned with the diagnostic aspects of systems, such as debugging applications or tracking a specific application's performance. Other classes are concerned with collections of objects, such as classes for processing the contents of stacks, lists, queues, and so on. As the authors point out in the book's opening pages, classes also exist that "you can use to manipulate the file system, access databases, serialize objects, and launch and synchronize multiple threads of execution, to name just a few."

So what is the relationship between these core classes and the Framework? The introduction to "VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell" explains that the Framework "simplifies the design, development, and deployment of computer applications." In addition, the Framework "features the .NET FCL, a systematic class framework to be used for the development of system tools and utilities as well as application software."

As you read "VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell," you'll quickly become aware that Budi Kurniawan and Ted Neward, the book's authors, are knowledgeable about FCL. Both authors are IT consultants who have extensive experience with the Microsoft .NET development environment. For readers who have questions, the authors have included their personal email addresses.

You need to understand the logical connection that exists between classes and namespaces. According to Kurniawan and Neward, to make working with classes easy, "classes with similar functionality are grouped together in namespaces. Therefore, there is a namespace containing types for drawing, a number of namespaces for .NET remoting, etc."

The introductory material in the first chapter will provide the foundation that you'll need to successfully tackle the remainder of the book. In particular, this section of the book discusses the reason for the FCL's existence, its role, and--most importantly for VB developers (whether they're experienced or just starting out)--how you can use VB code to tap into the FCL's resources.

The second part of "VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell" is a quick-reference guide for the 22 major namespaces. To help readers find their way around the contents efficiently, this part begins with a chapter that explains how to find and read a quick-reference entry. This skill is important because the authors have packed a lot of reference information into the more than 400 pages that comprise this part of the book. You'll also find that you can search for information in many different ways. For example, you might want details about a particular type of namespace, but you don't know the name of the namespace. This chapter explains how to search for the namespace based on the information you have.

Readers will spend most of their time with this section of the book because it covers, in detail, 22 of the FCL's major namespaces (the .NET FCL contains more than 80 namespaces). The authors begin their discussion of namespaces with the Microsoft.Win32 namespace and end with the System.Xml.Xsl namespace. Other namespaces discussed include System.Collections, System.Diagnostics, System.Timers, System.Runtime.Serialization, and System.Text.RegularExpressions.

After you've found the desired namespace reference, you'll need some help deciphering the information. Some of the terms that you encounter will be confusing and unfamiliar. This section provides you with the key to understanding the reference material that you encounter. For example, you need to be able to read and understand a synopsis, which is the most important piece of information in every reference entry. When you initially read this chapter, you should select a few reference entries from different pages of the book, then attempt to decipher their meaning.

All 22 chapters about the major namespaces follow the same basic structure. Each chapter begins with an overview of the namespace, followed by a hierarchy diagram that shows the "types" in that particular namespace. Examples of types are classes, interfaces, enumerations, delegates, and structs. The remainder of each chapter is dedicated to quick-reference entries that correspond to all the types in that namespace. For example, in the System.Collections namespace, the first two types discussed are ArrayList (a class) and BitArray (a noninheritable class).

The third and final part of the book consists of five appendices that augment the material presented in the second part of the book. The appendix titles give a good indication of the subject matter they cover: "Regular Expressions"; "Format Specifiers"; "Data Marshaling"; "Namespaces and Assemblies"; and "Type, Method, Property, Event, and Field Index."

A companion CD-ROM incorporates the book's contents into the online Help section of your copy of Visual Studio .NET. The only prerequisite for installing the CD-ROM is that you must be running an officially released version of Visual Basic .NET or Visual Studio .NET. Before attempting the installation, however, you should read the release notes provided on the CD-ROM. These notes contain instructions for both installing and uninstalling the contents of the CD-ROM, along with handy advice about taking a quick online tour of the core classes after you've set up everything correctly.

After you've finished the installation, you can access the book's contents on your computer by clicking Help on Visual Studio .NET's main menu, then clicking the Contents option. When the Contents dialog box appears, click the Visual Basic option in the "Filtered by" drop-down list box. You'll see an entry labeled O'Reilly Help, which, when clicked, will let you drill down to the core class that you want to investigate. A major advantage of using the contents of the CD-ROM in this way is that you can use the Help search facility and Visual Studio .NET's interactive index to find the information that you need, all without having to leave the coding environment.

To get the most from this book, I suggest that you also have handy a copy of its companion text, "VB.NET Language in a Nutshell." If you want to expand the.NET section of your reference library, you might want to check out the collection of relevant books on the O'Reilly .NET Web site ( http://dotnet.oreilly.com ).

For more information about "VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell," go to the publisher's Web site ( http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/vbdotnetcore ). There, you'll find links to a table of contents, an index, and a sample chapter.

Tony Stevenson
mkdsoftware@trump.net.au
Windows IT Library Guest Reviewer

For more book reviews, visit the Windows IT Library Web site.
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/bookreviews

2.

ANNOUNCEMENTS



* JOIN THE HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW!
Now is the time to start thinking of storage as a strategic weapon in your IT arsenal. Come to our 10-city Network Storage Solutions Road Show, and learn how existing and future storage solutions can save your company money--and make your job easier! There is no fee for this event, but space is limited. Register today!
http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas

* GET A SAMPLE ISSUE OF EXCHANGE & OUTLOOK ADMINISTRATOR
Exchange & Outlook Administrator, the monthly print newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine, gives you the in-depth articles you need to secure, maintain, and troubleshoot your messaging environment. Try an issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator, and discover for yourself what our expert authors know that you don't. Click here!
http://www.exchangeadmin.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei233xup

3.

NEW FROM WINDOWS IT LIBRARY



* WINDOWS NT TROUBLESHOOTING
Learn all the tweaks, tips, and administration shortcuts necessary to keep a Windows NT environment trouble-free. This reference contains detailed solutions and preventive techniques for the most common NT hotspots.
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/documents/book.cfm?documentid=638

* WINDOWS 2000 AUTHENTICATION
This chapter looks at the most important OS security service--authentication--and how Windows 2000 implements it. Learn about the Win2K authentication architecture and the nuts and bolts of the Kerberos authentication protocol, such as how it compares with Windows NT LAN Manager (NTLM) and how it can be used as a single sign-on (SSO) solution between different OSs.
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/content/617/06/toc.html

4.

NEW BOOKS IN PRINT



* LDAP SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION
If you want to be the master of your domain, "LDAP System Administration" will help you achieve mastery quickly regardless of which Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) version you use. After reading this book, you'll be able to integrate a directory server into essential network services such as mail, DNS, HTTP, and Server Message Block (SMB)or Common Internet File System (CIFS) even if you have no previous LDAP experience.
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/ldapsa/index.html

* .NET WEB SERVICES SOLUTIONS
".NET Web Services Solutions" offers practical solutions to the challenges you face as you use Microsoft .NET to create applications that communicate with Web services and to build and deploy Web services of your own. By the time you're finished reading this book, you'll understand how the Web services platform works because chapter by chapter you get all the hands-on instruction, detailed examples, and inside advice you need to make your project succeed.
http://www.sybex.com/sybexbooks.nsf/8cbdab49c5016a6e88256c47006c078d/14b7fa26e1dab85a88256bce007dda05!OpenDocument

5.

NEW EBOOKS



* CODENOTES FOR WEB-BASED UI
"CodeNotes for Web-Based UI" shows you how to use technologies such as JavaScript, Dynamic HTML (DHTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), XML, and Extensible Style Language Transformations (XSLT) to build sophisticated, high-performance UIs for Web-based applications. The book also details how to leverage technology and solve common Web-based presentation and manipulation problems. Web designers and programmers will develop a better understanding of common Web-based design challenges and discover common approaches to solving these problems.
http://ebooks.winnetmag.com/ebookbover.asp?ebookid=13415

* THE INSIDER'S GUIDE TO IT CERTIFICATION
The "Insider's Guide to IT Certification" is a comprehensive how-to manual that will help you conserve your time and money while you become certified. This book will help you choose the right certification to study for, the right materials and methods to study with, and the proper ways to prepare for the exams.
http://ebooks.winnetmag.com/ebookcover.asp?ebookid=13534

6.

WINDOWS IT LIBRARY TOP FIVE



* THE MICROSOFT OUTLOOK E-MAIL AND FAX GUIDE
Written for Microsoft Outlook end users and the administrators who support them, this volume explains all the real-world tasks that you're likely to encounter when working with Outlook, plus many timesaving techniques that take you beyond the basics.
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/documents/book.cfm?documentid=191

* OPTIMIZING WINDOWS NT
With the expert advice of Sean Daily, you'll quickly learn how to tune your Windows NT system to get the best performance out of your existing network. This book offers working solutions for everyday networking problems and includes hundreds of benchmarking, maintenance, troubleshooting, and recovery tips.
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/documents/book.cfm?documentid=435

* MICROSOFT WINDOWS NT SERVER ADMINISTRATOR'S BIBLE: OPTION PACK EDITION
This book, with specific coverage of the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack add-ons, can help you plan, install, configure, manage, optimize, and connect NT Server 4.0 to the Internet.
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/documents/book.cfm?documentid=405

* MICROSOFT WINDOWS NT SECRETS: OPTION PACK EDITION
Packed with the kind of notes, tips, and workarounds that come only from years of working day-in and day-out with a product, this book will help you optimize the performance, reliability, and security of your network.
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/documents/book.cfm?documentid=329

* A+ CERTIFICATION: HOW TO PASS YOUR EXAMS
This book walks you through all the skills tested in the Computing Technology Industry Association's (CompTIA's) CompTIA A+ certification exam--both the A+ Core Hardware exam and the A+ OS Technologies exam.
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/documents/book.cfm?documentid=175

7.

TECHNICAL TIP



* NT REGISTRY EDITING CAVEATS
This tip is excerpted from James Stewart's "Key to Optimizing and Tuning Windows NT 4.0" (29th Street Press, 1999).
http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com/documents/book.cfm?documentID=113

Editing the Registry is a dangerous activity. You can bring NT to its knees with a single incorrect Registry value. Because a nonfunctioning NT system is as useful as a boat anchor for supporting your network, you should take several precautions to ensure the life of your system.

-- Always back up all data on the computer.
-- Always make a separate backup of the Registry.
-- Save the Registry in five individual files--one for each main subtree.
-- Store the individual subtree files on a local drive, a network drive, and floppies (if size allows).
-- Reboot the machine before editing.
-- Boot while holding down the left Shift button to force NT to skip launching items from the Startup folder.
-- Perform only one change at a time.
-- Reboot immediately after each change.
-- Always test changes first on nonproduction, noncritical systems.
-- Use REGEDT32's read-only mode when you explore the Registry.

8.

CONTACT US


Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

* COMMENTS ABOUT THE BOOK REVIEW OR THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL? Email Dave Bernard at dbernard@winnetmag.com.

* TECHNICAL QUESTIONS? Please post your technical questions to the discussion area. http://www.winnetmag.com/forums

* PRODUCT NEWS? Email press releases to products@winnetmag.com.

* QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WINDOWS IT LIBRARY UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION? Email Customer Support at WindowsITlibrary@winnetmag.com.

* WANT TO SPONSOR WINDOWS IT LIBRARY UPDATE? Email emedia_opps@winnetmag.com.

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