What's useful and what's fluff?

I've started reading ASP.Net Unleashed and the first chapter deals w/ ASP.Net Controls (e.g.: button, label, input, etc). As I read, it got me wondering about where to best focus my attention during my migration to ASP.Net.

One of the things I've experienced over the years is that development languages, especially those tied to any visual RAD interface, tend to include a bunch of "neato" type features and controls that aren't used in day to day development. Most of the time, its because these "features" are actually quite constraining and add little to no value.
I'm trying to weed out the stuff that's fluff and focus on the areas that are truly useful. A prime example are ASP.Net controls. Are they used in real world production apps or are they a "whizz bang" thing that MS threw to give the appearance of easy development?
What other aspects of ASP.Net aren't really relevant in the real world of development?
Thanks in advance for the feedback.
10/5/2004 4:02:09 AM
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O yes, they are used. Take in mind that every control eventually renders plain HTML to client. Using controls you gain OO programming style and keep clear HTML GUI.
Leon Langleyben


10/5/2004 6:38:40 AM
If you look at a list of the standard ASP.NET controls, you'll see that the list is not long ... it really isn't bloated with any unnecessary fluff.

Recently I suggested to one one of the ASP.NET Team that Whidbey (the next version of ASP.NET) looks like it does have fluff. He pointed out, quite reasonably, that what is fluff and nonsense to me might be extremely important to someone else.
While you're reading ASP.NET Unleashed, I wouldn't recommend skipping any controls with the thought, "I'll never use them." Even if that's true, you'll still increase your understanding of what, exactly, is a server control ... their benefits and their limitations. And understanding the "server control model" is absolutely fundamental to understanding ASP.NET.
Looking at my own copy of this book, here's what you could miss until you need it:
Chapter 7 ... Targeting Mobile Devices. If that's not your plan, skip it.
Chapter 13 ... Working with XML. But come back when XML enters your life.
Chapter 20 ... Using Windows-Based Authentication. Only read this if needed.
Chapter 21 ... Encrypting Data over the Network. Leave it for later, if you like.
Chapters 22 & 23 ... Web Services. Come back when you need to know.
Chapter 27 ... Creating Graphics On-the-Fly with GDI+. Very few seem to do this.
Chapters 28 & 29 ... Developing Custom Controls. Come back when you need to create your own.
Read everything else. One of the great things about this book is that it does focus on real-world, I-use-it-everyday stuff.
The above chapters are not "fluff". But unless you find the need for the discussed technology, you can skip those chapters without missing a core part of ASP.NET.

10/5/2004 8:35:26 AM
Awesome answers guys.  That was exatcly what I was looking for.

Thanks again,
10/6/2004 5:16:10 PM

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