Book Review: The C# Programming Language
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Published: 28 Nov 2003
Unedited - Community Contributed
A brief review of the book titled "The C# Programming Language" published by Addison-Wesley
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Book Review
The C# Programming Language

Reviewer: Anand Narayanaswamy

Book Info

Title: The C# Programming Language

Authors: Anders Hejlsberg, Scott Wiltamuth and Peter Golde

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

Purchase this book now

About the Author

Anand Narayanaswamy, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in Visual C# is an independent writer, web developer and technical consultant based in Trivandrum, India. Anand runs and specializes in ASP, ASP.NET, C#, Visual Basic .NET and Visual Basic 6.0 and in the development of courseware, technical articles, documentation, and reviews of products and books. He is available for writing documentations, help files, product reviews and for other development related projects. Reach him at 


The C# Programming Language is a new book recently released by Addison-Wesley at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October. When I first heard about this book I thought it would contain concise information regarding all aspects of the C# language. But I was totally disappointed when I actually read the book. From my opinion, there is no need for a book like this now. The book has been divided into two parts. Part 1 covers C# 1.0 and Part 2 covers C# 2.0. From my point of view, there is nothing new on the book except the content in Part 2.

Nearly 85% of the material has been copied from the MSDN Library as such with some minor alterations at some places. From my point of view, it is not fair for a third party publishing company to reproduce an existing documentation to create a book like this. The authors have devoted nearly 450 pages to explain the very basics of C#. Readers will get many other compact books that will cover these 450 pages of material in just 100-150 pages.

According the book’s preface

“This book is a complete technical specification of the C# programming language”

If so, where is the coverage of important topics like Windows Forms, ADO.NET, Web Services, and ASP.NET etc? This book will only teach a reader the basic fundamentals of the C# language. Many simple concepts (like switch statement) have been explained in 4-5 pages.

I am not commenting upon the author’s writing style since there are no real written content on the book. Although the two appendixes are a real bonus for programmers, I found that they are also copied from the MSDN library. The code samples and the tables given on the book are same as that of in the library. The authors didn’t even spare some time to change the names of classes and variables. But I found that the content in Part 2 has been organized nicely.

Intermediate and Advanced users won’t purchase this book as there is nothing special in it. They will get more concise explanation about the new features of C# 2.0 from the various websites on the Internet. Beginners would find it very difficult to grasp the hard language of the content used on the book. Those readers who have access to MSDN library won’t purchase this book as there is no use for them. Furthermore, readers can also access the library online at

Another disappointing factor with this book is that the same content has been repeated at several places. The first paragraph of Arrays (Page 367) is the same as given in Page 35 (1.8 - Arrays). Similarly, the first and second paragraph of Interfaces (Page 373) is the same as given in Page 37 (1.9 – Interfaces). I also found lot of other repetitions like this at various pages. The authors or the publisher should provide facility for downloading the source codes.

The only factor which I liked with this book is that of its design. It comes with a hard cover and a bookmark flag. I think the publisher released the book in hard cover because of the popularity of the authors and their position.

Overall, this book is a big disappointment for C# programmers.

Some references to the copied content

Statements (Page 14)

Interfaces (Page 373)

Delegates (Page 399)


User Comments

Title: The c# programming language   
Name: sireesha
Date: 2005-05-07 2:07:54 AM
Hi to all.This book is very good for basic programmers in c#.It covers all the concepts of c# with easy manner.I am using this book for my additional reference.The bonus projects are good.
Title: The C# programming language   
Name: sapta giri babu
Date: 2005-05-07 2:01:22 AM
This book is very useful for beginers and who want to learn new concepts in c#.Ofcourse most of the concepts are from msdn.But we are not having time to collect information from msdn and do,this helps very well for all learns.

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