Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Visual C# .NET 2003 in 24 Hours, by James Foxall, ISBN 0-672-32538-1

Reviewed by: Songmuh Jong, send e-mail
Published by: Sams Publishing, go to the web site
Requires: A fast PC With DVD-ROM and lots of free hard drive space
MSRP: $29.99

There have been many books covering Microsoft .NET development but only a few of them are dedicated to C#.NET. This is understandable because the most popular languages for Windows used to be C++ and Visual Basic. Although it is relatively new, C# has become a popular language for .NET development because it has combined the basic features of Java and C++ into one new integrated development environment (IDE) package. The same author who wrote Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2003 in 24 Hours also brings us this easy-to-follow book on Visual Studio C# .NET 2003. The book is intended for beginners, but the coverage includes some advanced topics such as database and web development.

For readers who don't have Visual Studio.NET, the book comes with a 60-day trial version on a DVD. Expect to spend one or two nights installing that software. If the installation hangs, you have to either delete the installed folder or reboot. That will let you continue and finish the installation. If you have a slow machine or very little free space on your hard drive or if you hit F5 and the IDE hangs, you can still run your programs outside of the IDE. If the IDE spends too much time searching your network instead of running your program, disconnect your PC from the network and kill the IDE. Other than those issues the trial version is fine and readers will be able to follow along in .NET 2003 as they work through the book.

If your background is Java, you might be surprised by the graphical approach in this book. However, you'll agree at the end of the book that this is the best approach for learning Visual Studio.NET as a development tool. The book follows the same sequence of chapters as in the Visual Basic counterpart. It starts with a sample program (Picture Viewer), then dissects the Windows graphical interface step by step. The first 9 hours are mostly creating Windows Forms and controls. The author goes into great detail about setting properties and events for the controls. The 10th hour starts the concepts of class and methods and the last piece of the IDE feature - tasks. The 11th hour starts the abstract topic of variables, data types and other real programming topics. Hours 19 to 21 are about database programming, and the last three hours are about deploying programs, web development and a real-world example.

Can you really learn Microsoft Visual C# .NET 2003 in 24 hours? The answer is yes, if you follow this book an hour a day with some background from Java, C++, and earlier versions of Visual Studio.

In short, this is an excellent introductory book for C# development, including the usage of the Visual Studio IDE. If you are starting to learn C# programming, this book is for you, regardless of your background. If you're an experienced C# programmer, this book might still provide some insights from time to time. The source code for this book is downloadable from the book's web site.

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