Mike Murach and Associates has just published a 2008 edition of their core Visual Basic book, "Murach's Visual Basic 2008." It's described in detail at the Murach web site:
It teaches how to develop Windows forms applications the way the best professionals do. To do that, it incorporates the features that have made earlier editions such popular choices among developers.
#1: It focuses on the essential skills that VB developers need every day
Although that may sound obvious, some skills tend to be glossed over or ignored in VB training. But in teaching how to use Visual Studio 2008 and VB 2008 to develop Windows forms applications, this book covers skills like how to validate input data, how to work with different data types, how to use arrays and collections, how to do structured exception handling, how to read and write text, binary, and XML files...the kinds of skills needed to develop the applications that businesses rely on.
#2: There's a 4-chapter section on database programming
Because database handling is so critical in business applications, this book presents more coverage than is usual in introductory texts.
To begin, it teaches how to prototype database applications using rapid application development tools like the data sources feature, datasets, and bound controls. But beyond that, it shows developers how to start using ADO.NET to work directly with databases for more processing control than the RAD tools offer.
#3: It teaches the OOP skills that many developers miss out on
Visual Basic is an object-oriented language, yet many VB developers have only a hazy understanding of OOP. So this book includes 5 chapters that clearly explain OOP features like inheritance and interfaces in the context of database applications. The intent is to provide the kind of background that makes you a more savvy, confident developer.
#4: It provides practical coverage of new features, especially LINQ
LINQ is the big news in VB 2008. It allows you to query a data source using constructs that are built into the VB language. That way, you can use the same language to access a variety of data sources, from databases to arrays to XML files. The introductory chapter on LINQ in this book gives you a practical spin that will prepare you for more in-depth LINQ training.
#5: Complete applications show how all the pieces interact
One key to mastering VB development is to have plenty of applications that show how the features you're learning interact and what problems you might run into as you work on your own. So this book shows complete Windows forms applications for everyday business functions. These can be downloaded for free from the Murach web site, along with coding starts for the practice exercises in the book.
#6: The paired-pages format lets developers set their own pace
Murach books have a distinctive format, where each two-page spread presents a single topic. Both beginning and experienced developers find that this format makes it easy to focus on the information they need, whether they're using the book for training or reference.
"Murach's Visual Basic 2008" is available from all major retail outlets and directly from the publisher at the Murach web site: