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Programming C# Jesse Liberty
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
680 pages
£ 39.95
Published: 1st August 2001
reviewed by Drew Durkin
   in the December 2001 issue (pdf), (html)

The latest programming language to be released from Redmond has been with us for just over a year now. Primarily C# was released to be used in the development of .NET applications, which provides for a new application programming interface to the services of Windows and support for COM+ and XML.

C# has the potential to be used for development on UNIX and there are already projects underway to bring the .NET framework across. However, with this in mind, .NET is mainly going to be used on Microsoft operating systems for the short-term future at least.

The book places the language plainly in the context of the Microsoft .NET platform in the development of desktop and web applications. If you re looking for a book on how to get started developing .NET for UNIX then unfortunately this isn't it. If you're someone who currently develops for Windows, you'll find the book a good tutorial with lots of example C# code to illustrate points. Content is structured into three main areas. The first allowing the reader to get to grips with the fundamental aspects of the language, including a traditional Hello World example to start you off. The section then leads on to discuss areas ranging from classes and objects to events and delegates.

If you've already had programming experience of C++ or even Java, you'll notice the similarities to C# almost immediately, and it will help a great deal while learning the language. The section read quite well and left me with a good understanding of the basics and the organisation of content allowed me to quite easily flick to a specific chapter when I needed to refer back in the later sections.

The second section discusses application development, both on the desktop and for the Internet. Again, it reads quite well, starting you off designing simple user interfaces for the desktop before leading to into ADO.NET including explaining common database terminology. The web development chapters also touch on the use of XML, SOAP, and, but on a whole seem to lack the depth of content provided in the earlier desktop development chapters.

The more advanced concepts are explained with some good example material in the third section. This section certainly is comprehensive in its explanation of some quite complex features including data streams, ActiveX controls, and threading.

The book definitely takes a no-nonsense approach to explaining C# and where appropriate, the .NET framework. Although it hasn t convinced me to drop everything and start developing Windows applications using .NET yet, it certainly makes good reading for someone who perhaps develops using ASP, COM, and ADO and who wishes to learn more about what Microsoft is pushing as the ``Next Big Thing''.

Overall, I'd say the book is a valuable resource to refer to for anyone learning, or wanting to learn more about C#.

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