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Review: Murach C# by Joel Murach and Doug Lowe

, 13 Jun 2004
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This is a quick review of the new Murach C# Book.

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!

Sample Image - murachc.jpg
Authors Joel Murach and Doug Lowe
Title Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2003 Kick Start
Publisher Mike Murach & Associates; (April 1, 2004)
Published NOV 21, 2003
ISBN 1890774227
Price US$ 49.50
Pages 730
Paperback 800 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.57 x 10.02 x 8.02

Introduction

I own three other Murach books now (Murach's Beginning Visual Basic .NET, VB.NET Database Programming, and ASP.NET Web Programming with VB.NET) and have found them all to be excellent initial learning tools and post learning reference books. All of the books are well written, laid out in a thoughtful manner which makes it easy to learn and easier to use as a reference. Murach calls this layout "paired pages" which simply means putting the explanation of the concept on one page with the execution or examples of the concept on the opposite facing page. I was nervous about moving from VB.NET to C# before reading this book, but since reading the book I have quickly moved from intimidated to making C# my language of choice. The fact that this process took me only three days using this book should speak volumes about how effective it is as both a learning tool and reference.

What's Inside

The C# book covers the same basic items that the Murach VB.NET book covers, but after the basics, it takes a divergent path. The VB.NET book included only the basic information on database programming where the C# book goes in to how to work with data by designing your own classes. For VB.NET developers, that topic was covered in Murach's database programming book. The VB.NET book also has a basic overview of ASP.NET coding and web services using VB.NET. The C# book took up that space in the book with the extra exploration of database programming, a longer section on working with XML files, and some information on working with binary files.

My Thoughts

My level of programming knowledge is not what I would call extensive, but I am no longer a beginner as I was with the first Murach book. I don't have any background in C, C++ or Java programming though, so the style of C# programming is totally new to me.

In order to write this review, I am revisiting several pieces of code that I have written in actual business applications. To be honest, I feel that some material is not covered in enough depth. The information for String.Format() was incomplete, and left out the R or r and X or x format specifiers. These two specifiers aren't commonly used, but I feel that beginning level books should make readers aware of their existence even if they are not covered in depth. Absent as well was any information on using checked to specifically check and catch overflow errors; example:

try
{
   long d = checked((long)Convert.ToInt64(s));
   lblPlayerUID.Text = String.Format("{0:x}", d);
}
catch (System.OverflowException exception)
{
   lblPlayerUID.Text = exception.ToString();
   btnSubmit.Enabled = false;
}

The book does an excellent job of showing you how to connect to databases using the IDE to create connections, adapters and DataSets for you or for building all of those objects in code. It even goes through making a class for all of your data retrieval and modifications. In my opinion, the extra database material is fantastic since most business applications will make use of some database component. Writing a database class cuts down on the amount of code one has to write and makes the code much more manageable.

The book also does an excellent job of covering the object oriented programming concepts with two chapters devoted to building and using classes including tips on how to use XML to document them. It also includes a full chapter on inheritance and another on interfaces, structures, and class libraries.

Summary

In summary, the book makes good on its promise of being "the C# book you'd wish you'd bought first". It is written in the same excellent style that gives you code snippets and explanations on the way to building a complete application, and then gives you the complete code for that application at the end of each chapter. It is the perfect blend of teaching text and reference text. It uses the Visual Studio IDE unlike many books that seem to imply that using the tool makes you less of a "real" developer or include it as an afterthought. The book covered OOP better than any book that I have used previously and explored classes beyond anything I had seen. Despite the depth in this area, the material was written in a clear understandable manner that made learning the concepts easy. The practice exercises included in the book serve to reinforce what you have been taught while making you apply those same concepts. I used Murach books to teach myself VB.NET, ASP.NET and Database Programming using VB.NET, and their C# book is exceeding my expectations in that area as well. I only hope that they produce a book on ASP.NET programming with C#.

License

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About the Author

ChasP

United States United States
I started programming in the dark ages of computers in 1981, but left coding when I discovered girls. I graduated high school, went to college and only briefly touched coding again. I then worked for 9 years as a retail manager while my computer skills hid in the background. Then one day I was bit by a venmous byte (just joking). I landed a job working for a small IT firm in desktop and server support and have been in IT for the last 8 years. I am now a network administrator and manage a Novell Netware network containing 5000+ users. I also program for a hobby and on the side to make money. I have used VB.Net since 12.01.2002 and C# since 05.01.2004. My language of choice at this time is C#.

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