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Is really hard to write a review of a book of this fame and tell anything new. Rocky Lhotka is a Microsoft Software Legend and holds any Microsoft developer related title possible, he has written numerous books, talked on conferences around the globe. It doesn't get any bigger than him.

Expert C# Business Objects is a rewrite of his Expert One-on-One Visual Basic .NET Business Objects in C#. The former has a bible status among VB developers writing 3-tier business applications.

I read the book trying to compare the architecture of Shark with Rocky's CSLA (component based scalable, logical architecture) framework. Just by scanning the book content, you can realize what kind of super-heavy weigh we are dealing with. My personal list of favorite intimidating features: are n-level undo capabilities and binding capable business objects. But there are more, don't you worry.

But after I read and studied CSLA, I must (I don't mean to brag or anything) conclude that considering the fact, that we were completely new to C# and .NET did a hell of a job architecting Shark. Of course, there are weak spots that could be easily improved if we could take another go at it, but overall I'm satisfied. Our SharpLib library and patterns we use are not very short of what Rocky has developed. There are little more project specific but Shark is really a platform not just a project. Our strongest features, compared to CSLA would have to by FormManager (form registration, fully configurable user rights,..), DataAccessLogicAncestor and BusinessLogicAncestor (with build-in SqlHelper, with transaction factories,...) and DataForm (ancestor form for all data access forms in Shark with master-detail capabilities, couple of cool search features and development accelerating features).

In a fight, I would have to declare CSLA a stronger opponent, but there is not a single feature that our architecture would need right now. I learned a lot from Rocky and there are number of tricks and features that we could port, but nothing critical. Thumbs up for us.

Let's go back to the book. through almost 800 pages Rocky explains motivation, key technologies and takes us through whole process of developing a framework and then implementing a simple Windows Forms project, Web Forms project and then Web Services project.

The whole book is really easy to read and follow, all the code is nicely explained and full CLSA framework is available as a free download from

If all this is not enough to convince you to start reading, maybe one of his biggest fansCarl Franklin from DotNetRocks Rocky can convince you. Or just listen to shows he was a guest on!

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 9:41 AM | Filed under: Developement Books |
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