June 6, 2005
".NET Gotchas": The Easy Way to Avoid .NET Programming Pitfalls
Sebastopol, CA--Experience is not our only teacher, which is fortunate,
because some of life's lessons are agonizing when learned firsthand: for
instance, it really is a good idea to look both ways before crossing the
street and to pay one's income taxes regularly. For programmers, mistakes
can also be an enormous, unnecessary waste of time and source of
frustration. Especially when a programmer realizes that the same "gotcha"
he or she stumbled over has tripped up many others before. "Experience
teaches us what to do and what to avoid," observes Venkat Subramaniam,
author of the new .NET Gotchas (O'Reilly, US $39.95). "But in
programming, we commonly acquire our knowledge the hard way: by making
costly, hard-to-debug, and time-consuming mistakes."
As with many complex tasks, .NET programming presents its share of
pitfalls for the unaware--enough to fill a book, in fact. Subramaniam, who
has worked with .NET since its Beta 2 release in 2001, documents and
explains 75 of these pitfalls, or "gotchas," that frequently trip up even
the most experienced C# and VB.NET programmers. Some of these are the
inevitable result of expectations programmers bring from other
environments; others are oddities of the .NET languages, compilers, or the
"When I speak in conferences and meet clients, I see more and more
developers with Java, C++, and VB6 experience beginning to use .NET," says
Subramaniam. "I see that these developers are not only interested in
learning .NET, but are keen on learning it right."
Coming from a strong background in C++, COM, and Java, Subramaniam draws
on the insights gained from various languages and applications, past and
present, in writing his new book. Other gotchas, he notes, have emerged
from "the questions raised by the hundreds of inquisitive software
developers I've had the privilege of training," as well as from the
thought-provoking articles and discussions he has come across at
symposiums, user-group meetings, the Internet, and the MSDN documentation
itself. Among the gotchas he covers are:
CLR/Framework: not all types are CLS-compliant or interoperable
Visual Studio and compiler: compiler warnings are not necessarily benign
Language and API: enums are not type safe
Garbage collection: depending on Finalize() can tie up critical resources
Inheritance and polymorphism: signature mismatches can lead to method hiding
Multithreading: exceptions thrown from threads in the pool are lost
COM-interop and enterprise services: default apartment is not consistent across languages
Each gotcha is fully explained in the book, using VB.NET and C# examples
to reveal how false assumptions can often lead to unexpected results.
Complete solutions show programmers how to avoid the most common mistakes,
with concise "In a Nutshell" summaries and "See Also" references included
to round out each discussion.
Although painful, hands-on experience is an effective teacher, .NET
Gotchas operates on the assumption that sometimes it's easier to learn
from the errors of others. As Subramaniam says, "I want developers to
learn what to do and what not to do so they can get the best out of .NET
in their application development efforts."
Early praise for .NET Gotchas:
"This is a brilliant book and awesome reference, because it teaches
novices and gurus things they wish they knew, but never had the time nor
experience to discover."
--Chau Nguyen, .NET software developer, founder of .NET Architects, Inc.
ISBN: 0-596-00909-7, 372 pages, $39.95 US, $55.95 CA
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