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Programming in the .NET Environment

, 7 Oct 2003
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Book Review of Programming in the .NET Environment

Editorial Note

This article is in the Book Review chapter. Reviews are intended to provide you with information on books - both paid and free - that others consider useful and of value to developers. Read a good programming book? Write a review!

Title Programming in the .NET Environment
Authors Damien Watkins et al
Publisher Addison-Wesley
Published November 2002
ISBN 0201770180
Price USD 44.99
Pages 560

The .NET Framework is, in many ways, a platform that combines and builds on the strengths of the COM, CORBA, and Java environments. While there are many books currently available that discuss specific aspects of .NET Framework, there are very few books that discuss the Framework in terms of its goals and architecture - information that's valuable to every intermediate to advanced .NET developer.

This book is packed with insightful information that seasoned developers will find useful:

  • Guidelines covering when to use Value or Reference types.
  • Broad coverage Role and Evidence-based security.
  • Detailed discussions of the Download and Global Assembly Caches.
  • Discussion of .NET Metadata and how it compares to COM IDL.

Of particular interest throughout the book is when the discussions touch on tradeoffs. For example, boxing and unboxing are great features; however, they can contribute to a poorly performing application if you don't use them properly. Moreover, boxing can occur at times that you may not expect, possibly making it difficult to track down the source of performance-related issues. The authors cover the tradeoffs you'll face as you gain a better understanding of the .NET Framework which can help you produce better designs and implementations.

While the book's coverage is broad, it assumes a level of familiarity with the Framework that novice or beginner-level developers may not have. You'll gain a lot of insights from this book if you're a developer with some exposure to aspects of the .NET Framework like ASP.NET, Windows Forms, and ADO.NET. The discussions will help you gain a better understanding of the Framework's overall design which translates into a better understanding of how you can use the Framework to your advantage.

You may not find this book valuable if you're a developer with most of your experience in developing classic Visual Basic applications (those with a graphical interface) and are migrating into using Visual Basic .NET for component development, Web Services, and other advanced areas of functionality. You're better off gaining some experience with the Framework on your own and perhaps reading introductory books before reading this book.

This book is above average in terms of raw insight about why the Framework is designed and implemented in the form we're familiar with today (the book that sets the standard is Shared Source CLI Essentials - O'Reilly - ISBN 059600351X); however, the book's broad coverage, useful examples, and writing style make it a valuable addition to every developer's bookshelf.

Grades:

Overall Value 5
Accuracy 5
Depth 5
Readability 4
Organization 4
Grade A-

Calculate the Grade as follows: Add all numeric grade values, divide by 25, multiply by 100, then assign the letter grade based on the following ranges:

A+:100 A :95 A-:90 B+:85 B:75 B-:70 C+:65 C :60 C-:50 D+:40 D :30 D-:25 F Blush | :O

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About the Author

Erik Westermann
Software Developer (Senior)
Canada Canada
Erik is a senior developer-writer with more than 14 years professional programming experience designing and developing large scale database and Internet-centric applications for organizations including MSN.ca, ADP, Nortel, lemontonic.com, EDS, Merrill Lynch, ePost, CIBC, TD Securities, IBC, CIHI, InnovaPost, etc.
 
Erik has been specializing in BizTalk Server-based solutions for five contiguous years to date. His experience includes many SOA and ESB-style applications using technologies like Commerce Server, SharePoint, ASP.NET and advanced .NET Framework.
 

Erik's interests include systems architecture, writing, reading and his kids. Erik's affiliations include ACM (acm.org), and the IASA.

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