One question often asked in software discussions is “Build vs. Buy”. In other words, is it more cost effective to utilize your development team to build reusable components of software or should the organization purchase a commercial offering. Buying components that handle the generic functions of an application allows the development team to focus on creating software that provides true business value.
The question then comes down to which tools to use, and how to use them. Telerik is an award winning and industry leader provider of controls for .NET developers, as well as reporting, Object Relational Mapping, Agile Project Management, and Visual Studio productivity add-ins. This book does a great job of diving into how to use the RadControls for ASP.NET Ajax, RadControls for Silverlight, Telerik Reporting, OpenAccess ORM, and ASP.NET MVC Extensions.
“Pro Telerik ASP.NET and Silverlight Controls” (Apress Publishing, Jose Rolando Guay Paz) does an excellent job going into the details of all of these controls, and provides a great desktop reference for .NET developers interested in developing better software faster. There are a significant number of controls in the suite, and Jose wisely chose to discuss each logical group controls in their own chapter. After the obligatory intro chapter that discusses ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, and Telerik and a chapter that explains how to install all of the required software, there are seven chapters devoted to the main controls.
- Input Controls
- Navigation Controls
- Date, Time, and Scheduling Controls
- Data Controls (broken into two chapters due to the amount of content)
- Layout Controls
- Chart and Imaging Controls
- Additional Controls (such as RadCaptcha, RadUploader, and RadFileExplorer)
- RadControls for ASP.NET Ajax
These chapters are very detailed, and do a great job explaining the finer details installing and using the RadControls. The only negative that I have with these chapters is they read a bit like a help manual. Great information, great reference material, but no cohesive story. It would be nice to have a reference application that was built up over the course of the chapters to show the controls in context.
The next chapter is on RadControls for Silverlight. This is in my opinion the best chapter in the book, as it provides usage information in the context of a working application.
Telerik Reporting and OpenAccess ORM are covered in the final two chapters, and are again covered in great detail, Again, really good information presenting in the form of a reference guide.
All in all, this is a very good book to use as a starting point for learning to work with the Telerik Controls. Unfortunately, as Telerik provides additional releases, this text will become dated, as the controls are constantly adding new functionality and updating existing functionality. However, this should not be too much of a concern for a developer looking for a strong place to start learning the products, and I still place this book in the recommended list.