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Back to Basics: .NET Framework 2.0 Book

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Every once in a while I feel I need to review the basics of CLR development because frankly I'm not smart enough to keep it all in my head at once and over time the not so frequently used functionality kind of starts getting a little foggy. So from time to time I pick up a core CLR/Language book and read through it to jog my memory.

A few weeks ago I picked up Joe Duffy's .NET Framework 2.0 book and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Professional .NET Framework 2.0 (Programmer to Programmer)
by Joe Duffy
Wrox (April 10, 2006)


This book is just jam packed with information and while it provides a tremendous amount of technical information in a small space it's still very readable. Typically when reading a deep technical book I manage only a certain amount of pages before I'm on overload, but this book presents often complex content in ways that are easy to follow and maybe more so remember, so that's not been a problem.

It's a good read and I'm finding lots of little morsels that I actually never knew in the first place or I'd completely spaced over the years. I read up on this stuff early on when I started with .NET but of course at the time a lot of it didn't make immediate sense because the practical background of everyday use wasn't there to put the content into perspective. And it's good to get a refresher every now and them. And yeah, I'm supposed to be a C# MVP and know all this stuff by heart - eh, NOT. .NET is complex and I doubt there are very many people who have all of it in memory (some more than others) and reading through books like this helps jog mine.

Although this is a great book I think it wouldn't be a good getting started book for somebody looking for first time .NET experience though, unless they're coming from a C++ background. There's lots of detailed discussions how things translate into IL for example that great to know if you already have an idea how things work but not all that useful for day to day stuff especially if you're new. But for me looking back at what I know from the years of writing code with .NET this information is definitely useful and I'm glad to see it in the book.

Another core framework book that helped me a a lot when I first started with .NET was Jeffrey Richter's .NET Framework book which was updated recently for .NET 2.0:

CLR via C#, Second Edition (Pro Developer)
by Jeffrey Richter
Microsoft Press (February 22, 2006)


This book is also a great read, but it's not quite as technical as the Duffy book. If you're starting out with .NET I think the latter book is probably a better choice.

FWIW, both of these books focus on how things work in the CLR at the system level so they're not exactly getting started books that are very practical with starting first time development. These are books that explain architecture and how the various features fit together and interact with each other. To me this should be the first thing anybody reads before ever touching code, to get a good idea how the core framework works, but I realize few people actually do this and they'll start off with How to build an ASP.NET Application in an Hour for Dummies <g>... Bad idea...

Posted in .NET  

The Voices of Reason


Doug Dodge
September 09, 2007

# re: Back to Basics: .NET Framework 2.0 Book


I was surprised to see no comments here on this issue so thought I'd chime in.

I have recently started my studies of .NET & C# in earnest and I very much appreciate your posts on this issue and wanted to thank you for making them.



Jim Minatel
September 09, 2007

# re: Back to Basics: .NET Framework 2.0 Book

Rick: Glad to see you liked Joe Duffy's book. This is especially valuable praise coming from a well-known MVP like you!

Brett Baggott
September 09, 2007

# re: Back to Basics: .NET Framework 2.0 Book

While studying for my MCTS exam, the study guide book continually made statements like "but that is beyond the scope, blah blah - for more details refer to CLR via C#".

After finishing my exam, the first book I picked up was CLR via C#. I completely agree with your statement that these type books should be required reading prior to touching code. The book has given me invaluable practical experience with things beyond the point and the click of IDE development with VS.

Paul Mrozowski
September 10, 2007

# re: Back to Basics: .NET Framework 2.0 Book

I also really like Jeffrey Richter's other book, Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming. I think it's an excellent intro. to .NET (why some things are the way they are, how things REALLY work, etc.). It's actually readable, unlike a lot of tech. books. I haven't had a chance to read CLR via C#, so I don't know how much overlap there is between the two books.


Rick Strahl
September 10, 2007

# re: Back to Basics: .NET Framework 2.0 Book

@Paul, CLR via C# is really more like a second edition of the the framework book. Pretty much the same content plus a couple of extra chapters on a few advanced subjects (like the missing multi-threading chapter of the original <s>).

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