.NET Framework Standard Library Annotated Reference Volume 2: Networking Library, Reflection Library, and XML Library
Reference titles are nothing new, and often elicit little anticipation by most readers. In fact, reading most reference books is as interesting as watching paint dry. What a relief it was for me, then, to dispel that prejudice after reading the second volume of.NET Framework Standard Library Annotated Reference. In this book, authors Brad Abrams and his wife Tamara present invaluable detail about the Networking, Reflection, and XML libraries that it spotlights, all the while injecting intelligent annotations into the real-world application of many of the classes examined. Such annotated insights have been supplied by 18 members of the Microsoft .NET development community (many of whom are members of the .NET design team), including Suzanne Cook, Mark Fussell, Chris Lovett, Joel Pobar, and even Borland Corporation s Chief Scientist, Danny Thorpe.
The book progresses through all the classes of the featured libraries, which are both .NET Framework 1.x and 2.0, and Compact Framework-applicable. Thus, unlike some .NET Framework references, this book will stay longer on a reader s shelf. After a brief introductory overview, the authors dissect the class libraries of the System, System.Collection.Specialized, System.Globalization, System.Net, System.Reflection, System.Runtime.CompilerServices, System.Runtime.InteropServices, System.Security.Permissions, and System.Xml namespaces.
Each of the featured classes are presented in the same rigid template format: the class name, a diagram showing parent class relationships, a single-sentence summary, a type summary showing the constructors and public fields, properties and methods, comments for some of the more notable classes by one of the book s annotators, a two- or three-paragraph description of the class, a working example exclusively presented in C# syntax, and finally, the expected output of that code sample.
While this may sound like an anesthetic reading experience, the book escapes that stereotype with its clear class descriptions and its brief code examples this most certainly is attributable to its annotator contributions. In fact, those grey boxes changed the book from being a dry reference to a priceless package of insightful experience from some of the most knowledgeable .NET experts in the business. These comments also brought a warm human perspective to the otherwise cold content. One of my favorite examples of this was annotator Joel Marcey s recollection of the earthquake that hit the Seattle area in February of 2001. While there was no direct correlation between his story and the System.XML Formatting Enum that was associated with his comment, reading it made me visualize what his CLR meeting with Intel and HP must have been like that day. Remarkably, his recollection helped me remember much more easily those XML Formatting Enums.
The book also bundles a CD-ROM that drives home the delivered value further with its expanded version of the book; its gold mine of archived code examples is an easily searchable, and invaluable, source. This is what any CD-ROM accompanying a book should offer.
The Abrams duo has done a bang-up job with this book, providing both substance and style inside an information-rich reference. I can t wait to see what s in store for Volume 3!
Title: .NET Framework Standard Library Annotated Reference, Volume 2
Author: Brad Abrams, Tamara Abrams
Page Count: 512 pages