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Useful Reference Books

, 19 Dec 2011 CPOL
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A list of popular reference books sent in by the readers of CodeProject
This is an old version of the currently published article.

I get a lot of requests from readers about which books are best for learning MFC, ASP, ATL etc, but with hundreds of books coming out each year, and technology moving ahead in leaps and bounds, keeping up with what's best is hard. Which books have helped you the most?

Here's a list of favs sent in by readers. If you are just starting out in the industry then don't get lured into buying only books that deal with the language you are working in. Read books on how to program. You will save you and your employer a lot of stress. The "Programming Discipline and Design" section below lists a bunch of great books worth reading.

This page will be moved to a more appropriate section soon (and updated constantly) - but for the moment if you have any additional suggestions just post them in the comments section below!

Programming Discipline and Design

  • Writing Solid Code - Steve Maguire
  • Mythical Man-Month - Frederick P. Brooks Jr
  • Code Complete - Steve McConnell
  • The Art of Computer Programming - Knuth
  • Algorithms - Robert Sedgewick
  • Debugging Applications - John Robbins
  • Taligent's Guide to Designing Programs - Taligent
  • Design Patterns - Gamma, Helm, Johnson, Vlissides
  • The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactices for an Imperfect World (Apress) - Christoper Duncan

C / C++

  • The C Programming Language (Prentice Hall) - Kernigan and Ritchie
  • The C++ Programming Language - Bjarne Stroustroup
  • Effective and More Effective C++ - Scott Meyers
  • Inside Visual C++ - David J. Kruglinski
  • C++ How to Program - H. M. Deitel, P. J. Deitel
  • Thinking in C++ (2nd Ed) - Bruce Eckel


  • A Programmer's Introduction to C#, 2nd edition (Apress) - Eric Gunnerson
  • Inside C#, 2nd edition (Microsoft Press) - Tom Archer
  • Component-Based Development with Visual C# (M&T books) - Ted Faison
  • C# Essentials, 2nd edition (O'Reilly) - Ben Albahari, Peter Drayton & Brad Merrill


  • Debugging ASP.NET (New Riders) - Jonathon Goodyear, Brian Peek, Brad Fox
  • Designing Microsoft ASP.NET Applications (Microsoft Press) - Jonathon Goodyear, Brian Peek, Brad Fox
  • Debugging ASP.NET - Jonathon Goodyear, Brian Peek, Brad Fox
  • Microsoft ASP.NET Step by Step (Microsoft Press) - G. Andrew Duthrie
  • Depploying and Managing Microsoft .NET Web Farms (Sams) - Barry Bloom

Windows API

  • Programming Windows 95 - Charles Petzold and Paul Yao
  • Programming Applications for Windows - Jeffrey Richter
  • Advanced Windows - Jeffrey Richter
  • Visual C++ Windows Shell Programming - Dino Esposito


  • Programming Windows 95 with MFC - Jeff Prosise
  • MFC Internals - George Shepherd and Scot Wingo
  • Professional MFC with Visual C++ - Mike Blaszczak


  • Professional ASP Techniques for Webmasters - Alex Homer


  • Windows CE Developers Handbook - Terence A. Goggin
  • Programming Windows CE - Douglas Boling (Microsoft Press)
  • Essential Windows CE Application Programming -Robert Burdick (Wiley)


  • Essential COM - Don Box
  • Professional COM Applications with ATL - Sing Li and Panos Economopoulos
  • Creating Lightweight Components with ATL - Jonathan Bates
  • Inside ALT - George Shepherd and Brad King
  • Understanding DCOM - William Rubin and Marshall Brain
  • Programming Distributed Applications with COM and Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 - Ted Pattison


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.

His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP, ASP.NET, and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, AIX mainframes, Sun workstations, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.

He dodges, he weaves, and he never gets enough sleep. He is kind to small animals.

Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is into road cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, and storm chasing.

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Comments and Discussions

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SuggestionOne more book for algorithm Pin
LaxmikantYadav18-Dec-14 2:23
memberLaxmikantYadav18-Dec-14 2:23 
QuestionRegular Expressions Pin
David A. Gray7-Nov-14 20:25
memberDavid A. Gray7-Nov-14 20:25 beginner Pin
Abhijit Ghosh (Subho)27-Jul-14 3:11
professionalAbhijit Ghosh (Subho)27-Jul-14 3:11 
GeneralRe: beginner Pin
aarif moh shaikh2-Oct-14 21:57
professionalaarif moh shaikh2-Oct-14 21:57 
QuestionBEST BOOK FOR MATLAB AND SIMULINK RTOS (Real Time Operating System) and C Pin
Member 871975124-Jul-14 23:48
memberMember 871975124-Jul-14 23:48 
QuestionMy vote of 5 Pin
Shay Dolev24-Jul-14 9:35
memberShay Dolev24-Jul-14 9:35 
SuggestionC Language and C++ Language each deserve their own list Pin
Lyle Snodgrass23-Jul-14 10:21
memberLyle Snodgrass23-Jul-14 10:21 
Bugwrong section Pin
Serge Desmedt23-Jul-14 7:28
memberSerge Desmedt23-Jul-14 7:28 
QuestionC# Pin
AnotherKen22-Jul-14 19:41
memberAnotherKen22-Jul-14 19:41 
GeneralGreat gift to the community! Pin
joeolson22-Jul-14 10:07
memberjoeolson22-Jul-14 10:07 
Member 1056530022-Jul-14 9:23
memberMember 1056530022-Jul-14 9:23 
Serge Desmedt23-Jul-14 7:27
memberSerge Desmedt23-Jul-14 7:27 
Divyam Sharma2-Oct-14 21:53
memberDivyam Sharma2-Oct-14 21:53 
Question+5 from me Pin
Praveen Kumar Katiyar21-Jul-14 23:38
professionalPraveen Kumar Katiyar21-Jul-14 23:38 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
_ Kunal Chowdhury _21-Jul-14 21:09
mentor_ Kunal Chowdhury _21-Jul-14 21:09 
AnswerUseful Reference Pin
Alice H. Banuelos4-Jun-14 23:27
memberAlice H. Banuelos4-Jun-14 23:27 
QuestionAnything by Michael Kay on XSLT Pin
Bill Wade7-Apr-14 9:55
memberBill Wade7-Apr-14 9:55 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Renju Vinod2-Apr-14 1:46
professionalRenju Vinod2-Apr-14 1:46 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Joe Gakenheimer1-Apr-14 17:12
memberJoe Gakenheimer1-Apr-14 17:12 
QuestionOther books Pin
Jonas Hammarberg1-Apr-14 4:05
professionalJonas Hammarberg1-Apr-14 4:05 
SuggestionThanks very much for sharing so useful and pragmatic books. Pin
emmama31-Mar-14 23:08
memberemmama31-Mar-14 23:08 
QuestionVote of 5 Pin
GanesanSenthilvel30-Mar-14 8:21
memberGanesanSenthilvel30-Mar-14 8:21 
AnswerRe: Vote of 5 Pin
aarif moh shaikh2-Oct-14 21:56
professionalaarif moh shaikh2-Oct-14 21:56 
QuestionCan you please suggest some books for WCF? Pin
Member 398526425-Feb-14 0:06
memberMember 398526425-Feb-14 0:06 
AnswerRe: Can you please suggest some books for WCF? Pin
Lisavon23-Jul-14 17:53
memberLisavon23-Jul-14 17:53 

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