Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming Books Media Book Reviews IT Technology

Pro C# 220

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-development dept.
FrazzledDad writes "Andrew Troelsen's Pro C# 2005 and the .NET 2.0 Platform, 3rd Ed. gives a great breadth and depth of coverage to C# and the features of Microsoft's .NET 2.0 Framework. He does a fine job covering fundamentals of C# and .NET in general and then dives into terrific detail on a number of important topics." Read the rest of Jim's review.
Pro C# 2005 and the .NET 2.0 Platform, Third Edition
author Andrew Troelsen
pages 1032
publisher Apress
rating 8/10
reviewer Jim Holmes
ISBN 1590594193
summary Great coverage and detail on many C# topics, but long


Troelsen claims that the book is targeted at "experienced software professionals and/or graduate students of computer sciences," and that he won't spend "three chapters on iteration or decision constructs," but he spends enough time covering basics that the book will be beneficial to developers of any skill level.

First off, the book is longer than it needs to be. Part of this is the amount of text Troelsen spends covering fundamentals, despite his claims of the book's targeted audience. Experienced developers will skip right over the sections on object-oriented programming basics and C# language fundamentals. Still, this extra material didn't particularly bother me and it's very useful to newer developers, or those needing a refresher on basics.

Troelsen's example code also has more cruft than necessary, which tends to drag out examples a bit too much. The auto-based example he carries through the book is a nice practical example, but do I really care about methods turning the radio on and off while not lending any weight to the concept?

I was also surprised to find missing any discussion of COM interoperability. While COM Interop isn't a sexy, futuristic topic, I'd think there would be great value in covering it - helping some developers understand how to better deal with migrating or wrapping up legacy applications.

Lastly, despite the book's title emphasizing C#, there are 130 or so pages on ASP.NET and XML web services. Sure, these are part of the .NET Framework, but it seems a diversion from focusing on C#.

Frankly, the bad items I list above are all nits to me in what I consider a very worthwhile book. The book's loaded with plenty of good material, starting out with a solid overview on developing .NET applications outside Microsoft's Visual Studio.

Troelsen nicely covers using the freely available .NET Framework SDK to build applications. He also mentions Textpad and has a handful of pages dedicated to SharpDevelop, the open source C# development environment. He also gives a short nod to the freely (for now!) downloadable Visual C# 2005 Express before moving into an overview of the upscale versions of Visual Studio.

Troelsen nicely lays out critical concepts in his book. His work is the first place I've found clear explanations of why one should occasionally drill into .NET's Common Intermediate Language (CIL, sometimes referred to as "IL"). Other articles and books I've read haven't really gone past the level of "gee, it's neat!", but Troelsen lays out good examples of when it can be useful - such as inspecting IL and finding out how to directly call operator overloads ("+=", for example) in languages which might not support this feature.

I also found Troelsen's discussion of remoting and serialization very clear and useful. Furthermore, he does a great job with delegates and events, starting out with manually working with event handlers. This helps the reader understand the fundamental workings of handler assignments and multicasting rather than just directly jumping to event handling assignment via the += operator.

Even better than Troelsen's conceptual coverage is the level of detail he brings to all the topics he writes on. I already mentioned his coverage of event/delegate multicasting as one example. Other examples would be his extensive coverage of reflection, late binding and threading, among other topics.

He dedicates one chapter to the guts of .NET assemblies, running the gamut from why assemblies exist, through the format of assembly headers, to how shared assemblies work. There's good discussion in this chapter on the what/why/how of the Global Assembly Cache and how to deal with publishing assemblies with policy interraction.

There's plenty of other goodness in this book. Generics get great coverage, as does ADO.NET and multi-threading. There's also a chapter dedicated to GDI+ programming for you graphics geeks.

It's nice that Troelsen carries one example through much of the book, building concepts on the same framework of his automobile classes. Source for his examples is available from Apress's website, and Apress also has a searchable e-book available. The e-book's available for free for short time if you purchase the hardcopy.

Troelsen's writing style is also easy to deal with. He's got a good writing voice which makes potentially dry stuff interesting.

It may be overly long for some folks, but this book is a worthwhile investment for those looking for clear, detailed explanations of C#. The length really doesn't detract from the book's overall value, and I'm happy to have it on my bookshelf. (I even pull it off and use it.)"


You can purchase Pro C# 2005 and the .NET 2.0 Platform, Third Edition from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pro C#

Comments Filter:
  • by IAAP (937607)
    authors add the basics?

    First off, the book is longer than it needs to be. Part of this is the amount of text Troelsen spends covering fundamentals, despite his claims of the book's targeted audience

    It was Meyers, I think, who said at the beginning of one of his C++ books that it wasn't a tutorial and you need to know C++ before reading. And as a result, his books are concise and a great value.

    • In my experience, the answer is often "yes." Skipping the introductory material means, in the minds of some editors, shutting out some of the potential audience, so they'll very often make a case for including this material.

      Sometimes it's not the editors, though, but the reviewers. Reviewers won't always "get it" if they're not actually part of the book's target audience. Again, though, this may be the editor's fault for choosing inappropriate reviewers.

    • Beleive me, every wannabe would love to read a book "Pro Blah-Blah"
  • by Dante Shamest (813622) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @02:49PM (#14394622)

    With this book. [amazon.com]

    Seriously though, unless you're a newbie programmer, I just suggest reading the C# language specifications [microsoft.com], and browsing the web for tutorials on .NET.
    • by IAAP (937607) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @02:56PM (#14394683)
      ...and browsing the web for tutorials on .NET.

      I used to spend hundreds of $$$, if not thousands, every year on programming books. For the exception of some really intense CS type of things, I usually ended up Googling for examples and looking at online stuff anyway. Now that I'm smarter, I just look for stuff on the web. These days with so much competition between platforms and languages, there's always some free material on the web and it's better written half the time by people who actually use it.

      I could tell you horror stories about programming authors who never programmed the language before and wrote a book on it! *coughSAMScough* They would rely on the technical editor, or in some cases, the readers to find the errors. Then it's off to the 2nd edition for another round of proof reading by the consumer.

      • Yeah, I know what you mean. The only computing books that I think are actually worth buying now ones that focus on algorithms, graphics, data structures and math. There's little point in purchasing a language programming book, since the author probably got his knowledge from the web too.

        On the other hand, a book devoted to examples, like say a C# almanac where source code listings and examples are listed for separate APIs, I may consider.

      • My (retired) dad is currently trying to teach himself C++, among his many other side projects. On the reccomendation of many IRC users, I bought the book Accelerated C++ by Barbara Moo. When I read this book, I found it an excellent resource - both complete and concise. My dad, however, has only started to 'get' some of the concepts of coding by reading a variety of books, including SAMS, Dummies, and a few others too. Everyone learns differently, and while I agree that learning C++ in 24 hours or 30 days i
      • Then it's off to the 2nd edition for another round of proof reading by the consumer.

        Funny... It kind of sounds like some of the applications that people write. I know quite a few developers and product guys that believe in TIPs (Test In Production)
  • Troelsen claims that the book is targeted at "experienced software professionals and/or graduate students of computer sciences," and that he won't spend "three chapters on iteration or decision constructs"...First off, the book is longer than it needs to be."

    So is it a concise tutorial or a bit excessive?
  • Focus (Score:1, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 (697113)
    From the review: "Lastly, despite the book's title emphasizing C#, there are 130 or so pages on ASP.NET and XML web services"

    I'm not sure how you can fault me for including coverage of ASP.NET and other .NET technologies - the title of the book points out that it covers BOTH C# and .NET 2.0. There is no special emphasis on C#.
  • by putko (753330) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @03:05PM (#14394760) Homepage Journal
    These folks have a formal semantics of C#:

    http://www.ti.ethz.ch/rs/ [ti.ethz.ch]

    For those who don't see the point in having a computer language if you can't say, precisely what statements in the language mean.
  • Anyone else...? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Rhoon (785258)
    Anyone else happen to read this book?

    I've been getting job inquiries for C# programmers from all over the country and have been looking for a refresher book; and one to expand into the more advanced topics.

    It's nice to see book reviews, but I have a problem with believing just 1 review. Books which I tend to enjoy or derive a lot of useful information out of, may not work well for others, so I like to see a large number of people who recommend a book.

    Slightly off-topic, but any other recommendations
  • C# (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @03:11PM (#14394818)
    "What makes it a worthless language is that it has all the bad parts of C++ and Java without any of the benefits"

    Most people experienced with the languages believe the opposite - it has all the benefits of Java with none of the problems (lack multiple inheritance, effective marshalling, etc).
    • by Decaff (42676)
      Most people experienced with the languages believe the opposite - it has all the benefits of Java with none of the problems (lack multiple inheritance, effective marshalling, etc).

      All the benefits? Like high-performance implementations from multiple vendors? Like quality cross-platform support?
  • Pro? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Phillup (317168)
    How can a language that runs on such a limited number of Operating Systems be considered "Pro"?

    Just wondering...
    • "How can a language that runs on such a limited number of Operating Systems be considered "Pro"?"

      .NET is designed to work on any and all operating systems. They simply need a unique CLR.
      • Re:Pro? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alext (29323)
        .NET is designed to work on any and all operating systems. They simply need a unique CLR. and the Win32 API
        • by hkb (777908)
          Uh no.

          Microsoft's System.Windows.Forms implementation currently sits on top of Win32. SWF is a small, small part of the .NET platform. I rarely even use it.

          Mono is in the process of implementing their own System.Windows.Forms, which sits on top of whatever it is it sits on top of (Gtk? MacMono sits on top of Cocoa as I recall).
    • Re:Pro? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Arandir (19206)
      As my vice president told me, when I asked him about providing C# training for the project, "As professional software developers, it is your responsibility to know the industry standard."
      • Which industry is that?
    • Re:Pro? (Score:2, Insightful)

      When those operating systems account for 95% of users and ~40% of servers... I think it counts.
    • Re:Pro? (Score:3, Funny)

      by sevinkey (448480)
      It's pretty hard to make a living writing for an operating system that 90% of Americans use, or do I not understand the definition of Pro :)
  • A proper review (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XMilkProject (935232) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @03:14PM (#14394853) Homepage
    I happy to say, that IMO, this is the first proper/quality book review we've had for quite some time on /.

    The author clearly listed what is, and is not, contained in the book, and also provided his opinion on how useful these various chapters were to him.

    Hopefully future book-related-articles will try to provide atleast this level of information, as opposed to common "The book had alot of good stuff, but then some stuff was missing.".

    More on-topic, I would say that in my experience I've never found these sorts of books particularly helpful, as anyone with software experience should have no trouble finding the information they need in the MSDN library, or on various other websites. Also, I imagine it would be difficult to find a developer who does not already have experience with a syntactically similar language.

    I can imagine though, that this sort of reading might bring up questions (and answers) to questions that many developers had not yet thought to ask (primarily regarding CIL, GAC, etc), which could of course be helpful.
    • While it's certainly true that you can find most or all of the material in books like this on-line, I think there's still a solid place for books in the programmer's world. Most of the on-line information is poorly organised, poorly written, poorly edited and often of dubious accuracy, and that's assuming that you can rely on it to stay in the same place and not to change anyway.

      MSDN is a prime example: it used to be a great resource, but these days it's got so much bad content and so little organisation

  • From reading the headline, I thought this was something to do with Oracle updating Pro*C to do C# :)
  • I had to use C# for a class last semester. Comming into the class I was very much opposed to the concept, essentially feeling that it was better to go with either C++ or Java instead of something inbetween.
    After using C# for a while, I've come to the conclusion that, while still not a favorite language of mine, it has a fair bit of potential. My biggest problem was, as I recally, the aggrevating inconsistancy of the .NET framework (two thirds of .NET seems to work 1 way, but 1/3 of it seems to have been
    • by sheldon (2322)
      My biggest problem was, as I recally, the aggrevating inconsistancy of the .NET framework (two thirds of .NET seems to work 1 way, but 1/3 of it seems to have been written by a completely different team who never looked at what the other team was doing

      Can you give an example of where you found a problem with say orthoganality or symmetry?

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

Working...