July 29, 2002
Mastering the .NET Framework Class Library: O'Reilly Releases "VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell"
Sebastopol, CA--The move to .NET may be a daunting task for Visual
Basic developers, but once they learn what essentially is a new
language--Visual Basic .NET--these developers will have access to a
comprehensive program library that was never really available to them
with Visual Basic. Microsoft's substantial .NET Framework Class Library
(FCL) offers VB.NET developers thousands of reusable type classes,
which encapsulate the functionality of core system and application
services to make programming easier and faster. But, like the VB.NET
language itself, the FCL gives newcomers to .NET a lot to absorb.
"The FCL is huge," comments Ted Neward, who, with Budi Kurniawan, wrote
the newly released VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell (O'Reilly, US
$44.95) as a quick reference to the most essential classes in the .NET
FCL. "Programmers simply don't have the time to pore through reams of
documentation to find the information they need. With any luck, we've
already done the heavy lifting on that, and dissected it down to the
crucial stuff they need to know."
As is the case with other titles in O'Reilly's "Nutshell" series,
"VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell" is a technical reference that
programmers can consult when working through everyday development
tasks. One thing that is unique about this book is the accompanying CD
that enables readers to integrate the book's contents directly into the
Dynamic Help inside Visual Studio .NET, thanks to a special partnership
between O'Reilly and Microsoft. "VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell"
contains detailed descriptions of more than 700 types found in 22 core
.NET namespaces. Each entry describes a type's significance, explains
how it's used in .NET applications, and lists the type's members and
their signatures in readable VB.NET syntax.
The book, which is a perfect companion volume to "VB.NET Language in a
Nutshell, Second Edition" (Roman, Petrusha & Lomax, O'Reilly, US
$44.95), addresses programmers familiar with previous versions of
Visual Basic who have not yet explored .NET. The benefits of learning
this new object-oriented programming environment, Neward says, go well
beyond simply upgrading from one generation of Visual Basic to another.
"Technologies like .NET are critical to the success of enterprise
systems in general," he explains. "The 'dot-com' days of infinite
resources and million-dollar advances may be over, but the aggressive
deadlines and management expectations aren't. Developers need every
edge they can get to help their businesses find the competitive
advantage over their competitors, particularly in lean times like the
ones we find ourselves in right now. Managed environments, like that of
.NET, are crucial to gaining that edge."
Visual Basic programmers will find the .NET FCL to be a significant
improvement over libraries they're accustomed to using. The Win32 API,
for example, is a procedural library that contains functions called
primarily from C language code, whose type systems are incompatible
with Visual Basic. COM automation is better, but because of the
Component Object Model's complexity, Visual Basic fails to give
developers full control over COM, and VB programmers often lack
sufficient familiarity with COM to take advantage of the features that
they are able to control.
VB.NET, on the other hand, is an integral part of the .NET Framework,
which simplifies application design, development and deployment. Within
this environment, the .NET FCL offers a vast collection of classes,
interfaces, structures, delegates and enumerations that developers can
use to manipulate the file system, access databases, serialize objects,
and launch and synchronize multiple threads of execution, among many
other functions. Once developers install the CD that comes with "VB.NET
Core Classes in a Nutshell," they will be able to browse through the
book's large Quick Reference section using the Visual Studio .NET Help
Contents window. The online reference offers links to related
information in MSDN documentation, and Quick Reference updates from
"We want to help programmers become more comfortable with the .NET
environment as quickly as possible," Neward says. "The sooner this
happens, the sooner widespread adoption of .NET can occur, and the
sooner we can reap its benefits."
VB.NET Core Classes in a Nutshell
By Budi Kurniawan & Ted Neward
ISBN 0-596-00257-2, 574 pages, $44.95 (US) $69.95 (CAN)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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