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Book Title: .NET Framework Essentials, Third Edition
Author: Thuan L. Thai, Hoang Lam
ISBN: 0-596-00505-9
Price: $29.95
Publisher: O'Reilly
Publication Date: 8/1/2003
This book delivers on the essentials. It is an excellent overview of the .NET Framework, written in a concise and understandable manner.

The URL for the book is www.oreilly.com/catalog/dotnetfrmess3. Chapter 2 is available online in its entirety at www.oreilly.com/catalog/dotnetfrmess3. This entire book is an overview of the .NET Framework, so there is a lot of material covered in a little over 300 pages. This book does not teach any programming language; programming at an intermediate level is assumed. “This book aims to help programmers make the transition from traditional Windows programming to the world of .NET programming.” The book is broken up topically into nine chapters: .Net Overview; The Common Language Runtime; .Net Programming; Working with .NET Components; Data and XML; Web Services; ASP.NET; Windows Forms; and .NET and Mobile Devices. You will get a good idea of the style of the book by reading Chapter 2, which is available for free online (link given above). That’s what I did, because I didn’t have the book at that time. Since I didn’t have any experience with the .NET Framework before reading this book, I actually read this chapter a couple times (while waiting for the book to arrive) – and each time I got something new out of it. Just keeping the acronyms straight is a chore in itself! In fact, Appendix B covers all the common acronyms you will encounter in the .NET world. Each chapter begins with an overview of why the topic being presented is important. The content of the chapter is rather high-level. The authors are more concerned with explaining the fundamental concepts of the Framework than teaching a computer language. The code examples are provided only to help demonstrate an aspect of the framework. The chapter then winds up with a brief summary. I get a better “feel” for what the authors are explaining by understanding the code examples thoroughly. Fortunately, all the code examples are available online, which saves me the tedium of typing in all the code verbatim (not to mention avoiding all the typos). I was particularly impressed with the classic “Hello, World” being written in Managed C++, C#, VB.NET, and J# to show the similarities between these languages, along with the IL (intermediate language) representation. Another examples shows that these languages are truly object-oriented by demonstrating inheritance and polymorphism (as opposed to object-enabled, which is what VBA is). The authors do not assume the reader has Visual Studio on their computer. In fact, Visual Studio is not required at all in order to create an assembly (program) in .NET. All that is required is your favorite text editor, such as NotePad. You can then use the command-line compilers that are installed with .NET Framework 1.1 to compile the assemblies from source code to executable. For example, to create hello.exe from hello.vb, you would type in: vbc /t:exe /out:hello.exe hello.vb on the command line inside the Command Prompt window. However, this did not work for me. What is not mentioned is that you have to be in the folder C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322 or have the path set to that location. With that piece of knowledge, all the examples in the book work just like they’re supposed to. Appendix D lists the common utilities mentioned in the book, along with a condensed list of some of the options available to each command. This book delivers on the essentials. It is an excellent overview of the .NET Framework, written in a concise and understandable manner. Again, be forewarned that it does not try to teach a programming language; rather, it shows what is going on “under the hood” of CLR-compliant languages. I would recommend reading this book to get the “big picture”, then moving on to .NET programming books to dig into the finer points of the language. This book is available on the Safari Bookshelf and takes up only one slot. This book is also available on Amazon.com for $20.97 (new) and from $12.86 (used & new).

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