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April 27, 2005

"Visual C# 2005: A Developer's Notebook": Jesse Liberty Offers a Code-Focused, Hands-On Approach to the New C#

Sebastopol, CA--In an effort to make the .NET platform more attractive to developers, Microsoft has taken several steps to enhance the appeal of Visual Studio 2005, the toolkit for the soon-to-be released .NET Framework 2.0. In addition to many tweaks to the IDE itself, key changes involve the two .NET languages: Visual Basic .NET and C#. Although Microsoft has found resistance to VB.NET among entrenched VB6 programmers, the company's experience with C# has been far more positive. In fact, the C# language is the primary reason many C, C++, and even Java programmers have migrated to .NET.

The new version, C# 2.0--also called Visual C# 2005--now has components to make development with .NET quicker and easier. The beta version has been available for several months, but so far there's only one book for those early adopters who want to get up to speed with it. Written by bestselling author and .NET trainer Jesse Liberty, Visual C# 2005: A Developer's Notebook (O'Reilly US $24.95) is neither a tutorial nor a programming book in the usual sense. Instead of an introduction to the language, Liberty's book jumps right into the new features of C# 2.0 for those who sincerely want to hit the ground running.

"This book is written for programmers who are already familiar with a previous version of C# and who used a previous version of Visual Studio .NET to build Windows or web-based applications," Liberty explains. "It covers very little of the material an experienced C# programmer already knows. My goal is to help them build on current knowledge, not to waste their time demonstrating old material."

Liberty has written six other books on .NET for O'Reilly (including Programming C# and Learning C#), but this one is truly unique. The look and feel of Visual C# 2005: A Developer's Notebook is just what the title implies: a notebook with text on graph paper that invites readers to jot down comments as they go. And rather than long discussions, readers will find code--lots of code. "These books are about programming in the trenches, and are filled with instruction, not lecture," explains Brett McLaughlin, creator of the Developer's Notebook series. "The intent is that you're coding as you go along."

Liberty gets right down to business. Chapter 1 starts off with a lab for creating a type-safe collection using "generics," the most anticipated new feature in C#. "The goal of the book is to equip developers to create meaningful applications, not just to learn about changes to C#," he says. "Each chapter consists of a series of hands-on labs, each of which introduces a new feature, shows how it's used, and then walks readers through an example, explaining details that they need to understand along the way."

Generics in C# 2.0 enable developers to create type-safe code that's easy to maintain, so they can dramatically cut down the time it takes to develop new applications. The book's first chapter deals with this and other changes to C#--such as iterators, anonymous methods, partial types, static classes, nullable types, and others. The second chapter explores new productivity-enhancing features in Visual Studio 2005, such as automatic refactoring and improvements to the editor. The remaining three chapters demonstrate new features for creating Windows applications, web applications, and ways to interact with databases.

"One of the stated goals of .NET 2.0 is to push more of the plumbing into the .NET Framework and to provide controls for Windows and web developers that reduce the amount of code they will write," Liberty explains. "The ASP.NET 2.0 development team wanted to make it possible to build web applications with 75% less code than required before. Their success is remarkable."

In all, nearly 50 labs emphasize changes that can increase productivity, simplify programming tasks, and add functionality to applications. At the end of each lab, Liberty includes a section called "What about..." that anticipates and answers likely follow-up questions, and a "Where can I learn more?" section that points readers to magazine articles, online resources, Visual Studio 2005 Help entries, and other books.

"Visual C# 2005: A Developer's Notebook is not an exhaustive reference," Liberty remarks. "Instead, I introduce developers to what's new in the language, the development environment, and the class libraries; then I equip them for further exploration of those areas that are likely to be of interest to them."

Additional Resources:

Visual C# 2005: A Developer's Notebook
Jesse Liberty
ISBN: 0-596-00799-X, 221 pages, $29.95 US, $41.95 CA
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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