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.
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.)"
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