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Open Source .NET Development



Open Source .NET Development

While the proponents of Linux have been enjoying the benefits (and detractions) of open source tools for application development purposes, .NET developers have mostly relied on Microsoft and its partners to deliver what the developer market demand is seeking. However, as Linux enthusiasts would insist, certain open source solutions can scratch an itch better than any proprietary commercial product could ever hope. In Open Source .NET Development, author Brian Nantz presents .NET developers with the current snapshot of open source offerings that can make their lives easier, while greatly reducing expenditures often associated with the use of such alternatives.


Part One introduces the open source concept and thankfully doesn t go into the religious battles between open source and commercial ideologies, except to recognize that it s all about choice and the risks inherent with each model. In fact, the author rightfully dispels the open is better argument in a fair and unbiased manner, and ultimately allows the reader to decide which is the right approach for the right job. Nantz also touches on the different types of open source licenses and how Microsoft s efforts in this space are reflected in some of the standards and .NET reference implementations they have developed.


Part Two provides a cursory survey of the higher quality open source tools that .NET developers might appreciate. These tools range from editors (such as Emacs and Vim) to source control systems (such as WinCVS and TortoiseSVN) to databases (such as MySQL and PostgreSQL). In many cases, less than a paragraph is given for each, with prompts to pursue the URLs provided if interest demands. The other portion of Part Two provides a more in-depth exploration (and project examples) of popular, native .NET open source tools, such as NAnt (the .NET version of Java s popular build tool known as Ant), NDoc (another .NET version of Java s documentation tool called JavaDoc), and NUnit for .NET unit testing (originating from, you guessed it, a Java-based unit testing tool known as JUnit). Part Two closes with a review of Continuous Integration tools, such as Hippo.NET, Draco.NET, CruiseControl.NET, and the popular open source .NET logging tool, Log4NET.


Part Three puts many of these tools into practice by presenting four case studies that demonstrate how the use of great open source software can make .NET application development an easier and more rewarding experience without having to spend any more money on developer tools. The author shows how remarkably simple it is to leverage these tools into standard .NET development practices while maintaining an even, matter-of-fact disposition toward the subject. This must have been difficult, because once these ideas are revealed to the reader, one can t help but fire up a browser and download many of the products mentioned in the book.


Part Four provides a helpful summary of the key tools discussed in the book, as well as their related named attributes, such as NAnt Tasks, NantContrib Tasks, mkisofs, and Log4NET. And in a rare addition (compared to many books of this nature), an accompanying CD-ROM contains the .NET source code examples and many of the tools mentioned in the book.


Overall, Open Source .NET Development provides a vista of open source possibilities to those programmers who have not yet stepped outside the bounds of developing software using commercial tools. Although many of these tools lack the polish and ease of use that commercial options provide, they are still worthy of dependable use in many .NET projects.


Mike Riley



Title: Open Source .NET Development

Author: Brian Nantz

Publisher: Addison-Wesley / Pearson Education

ISBN: 0-321-22810-3

Book Web Site:,1144,0321228103,00.html

Price: US$39.99

Page Count: 504 pages (CD-ROM)



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