Review: Microsoft Visual C# .NET 2003 Developer's Cookbook
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Published: 18 Mar 2004
Unedited - Community Contributed
This book is a must read for all C# developers. Read my review about this great book.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Book Review
Microsoft Visual C# .NET 2003 Developer's Cookbook
Reviewer: Anand Narayanaswamy

MS VC# .NET 2003 Cookbook
By Mark Schmidt and Simon Robinson
Sams Publishing
787 Pages
US $49.99 | Buy Now

Rating: *****

About the Author

Anand Narayanaswamy (Microsoft MVP) works as an independent consultant and runs NetAns Technologies  which provides low cost domain registration and web hosting services. Anand also runs and and regularly contributes articles, product and book reviews for various websites. He is available for consultation and can be reached at     


Sams Publishing has done it again. Over the last one year they have released many cookbooks on .NET programming languages. Microsoft Visual C# .NET 2003 Cookbook is one of the latest releases of Sams and without any doubt I can say that it is an exhaustive resource for programmers. The book contains around 330 recipes with detailed explanations to each one of them. Each recipe begins with a traditional “You Want” sentence which will describe the purpose of the discussed recipe. It is followed by the techniques used to achieve the purpose along with the relevant screenshots and source codes. The final section titled comments gives additional information about the relevant recipe. I feel that this book will be useful for both beginners and advanced learners as it contains an array of useful recipes. Beginners can learn advanced concepts after gaining a good knowledge of fundamentals from Part 1 of the book.

This book has been divided into 6 parts. Each part contain in depth and high level explanations to recipes there by providing readers with quality material. Part 1 covers the fundamentals of C# language such as operators, expressions, control structures, classes, collections, delegates, event handling and exceptions. Part 2 begins with a detailed coverage about windows forms controls. It examines some of the interesting controls such as ListView, TreeView, Toolbars and Status bars. It also covers shortly about Visual Inheritance which is new to C#. I think the authors need to explain this concept in a detailed manner with some illustrations. Moreover, this part also examines user controls and localization in an advanced manner. I think readers will not get these kinds of useful recipes elsewhere. Chapter 10 is exclusively devoted to Graphics. An interesting point to note regarding this chapter is that each recipe is followed by source codes and screenshots. This will surely enable readers to have a real look at the output before testing them.

The third part of this book covers file input/output, serialization, XML and ADO.NET. You will learn among other things how to read from and write to a file. One of the recipes teaches you how to verify the existence of a file. Advanced readers will find the recipes about serialization very useful. The remaining chapter on this part covers about XML and ADO.NET. I feel that this part requires a minor rearrangement of chapters. Chapter 13 (XML in .NET) should be placed on the chapter 14 slot. A reader will be interested to learn ADO.NET first before learning about XML.

The first chapter in part 4 covers Network Programming in a detailed way. I think this chapter will be useful for those readers who are interested to learn about the development of Client-Server applications using C#. Chapter 16 and 17 will enable you to learn about ASP.NET and Web Services. Authors should try to include screenshots in chapter 17 (ASP.NET Web Services) to make the content more interactive. The final chapter on this part examines Remoting in detail.

The first chapter in part 5 begins with the basics of assemblies with special reference to reflection. You will learn how to deploy a C# application in chapter 20. This part also teaches you how to enable security for your C# applications. One of the recipes will help you to determine whether the current user is an Administrator or not. The final part delves deep into advanced issues such as Threading, Reflection and COM Interoperability.

The authors have taken tremendous effort to present many complex issues on this cook book in a simplified manner. The cook book also includes two appendixes about Visual Studio .NET IDE and a handy .NET debugging reference. I feel that these appendixes are a real bonus for readers. Unfortunately, the first appendix doesn’t contain any screenshots of the various parts of the IDE.

In part 4 the authors didn’t devoted few recipes to explain about File Uploading and Sending Emails. I think they will include these recipes in the next edition of this wonderful cookbook. It would have been great if the authors had included some recipes about the upcoming features of C# such as Generics, Anonymous Methods, Iterators and Partial Types. The source code for all the recipes can be downloaded from the publisher's website.

Even though this book is pretty heavy and bulky it is a must read for all C# and Visual C# .NET programmers. I give this book a 5 star rating (*****).

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