The first quarter of this book discusses the obligatory introduction to OOP material as it relates to the C# language. Following this, C# syntax is explored. Most of this material was covered in Wrox s C# Programming with the Public Beta. As a result, this book seems to target Visual Basic programmers looking to cross the syntax chasm to the C# world, though C++ and Java developers will also find relevant content (the book contains separate appendixes for C++, Java, and Visual Basic developers). The remaining half of the book details how the language is leveraged in the Microsoft Windows environment. Chapters covering building Windows applications; employing file and registry operations; using Active Directory; developing custom controls; and COM, COM+, GDI+, and Windows Services inform the reader about how the language can diffuse itself throughout Windows key interfaces and services.
In contrast to Wrox s other Professional series of books, Professional C# contains fewer insightful nuggets of information and reads more like their Beginning series, especially given the number of pages dedicated to the discussion of basic OOP concepts. In fact, it s barely up to Wrox s Beginning standards; I found minimal enthusiasm for the language compared to Ivor Horton s Beginning Java 2, also published by Wrox. Perhaps the difference is the mix of authors versus a single author. Perhaps it s because the language is still new (the book is based on the Beta 2 implementation of the language), or because even though C# promotes itself as an open specification, the only company with a working implementation is Microsoft. It doesn t help that the book is randomly peppered with syntax errors and poorly edited text.
Even with this general malaise and rushed-to-market feel, the book does have its aha moments, particularly when the authors expound on some of C# s notable, unique capabilities. Assemblies, boxing/unboxing, managed/unmanaged code, operator overloading, reflection, and structures are clearly discussed and the examples help readers imagine coding future possibilities into their own C# projects. More than half of the code examples in the book are console applications based on the .NET SDK, making the examples very easy to build and execute. After hand-coding the brief source listings, developers will quickly grasp the language s concepts and syntax. The code can also be downloaded from Wrox s Web site, though the only way to truly appreciate the power and simplicity of the language is to learn by practice. The chapters titled ASP.NET, Data Access, .NET Remoting, .NET Security, and XML contain content that is either unavailable or only scarcely touched on in other C# books. Because of this, and its hefty page count, Professional C# is probably the most comprehensive but not quite the best C# book available today.
Professional C# by Simon Robinson, et al., Wrox Press, http://www.wrox.com.
Cover Price: US$59.99