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.NET Framework Essentials
by John Spano | Published  03/07/2003 | Book Reviews | Rating:
John Spano

John Spano cofounder and CTO of NeoTekSystems, a Greenville, South Carolina technology consulting company. NeoTekSystems offers IT consulting, custom programming, web design and web hosting. We specialize in Microsoft .Net enterprise development and business design.

I have six years of experience in software architecture. My primary focus is on Microsoft technologies, and I have been involved in .NET since beta 1. I currently hold a MCSD certification, 2 MCTS's (Windows, Web) a MCPD in Distributed, 2 MCITP's, a Microsoft MVP, and have won the Helper of the Month contest for July 2002 in the devCity.NET forums.

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.NET Framework Essentials (book review)

I recently had the opportunity to review .NET Framework Essentials Second Edition from O'Reilly. It was written by Thuan Thai and Hoang Q. Lam. ISBN 0596003021.

The book provides a very good general overview of that .NET is and what a programmer can accomplish with it. It also gives a good reference on the inner workings of assemblies and how the Visual Studio product creates them.

The first few chapters start by defining the framework and what design goals went into it. The authors describe the two major sections of the framework, the common type system and the common language specification. After defining the framework, the authors describe how an assembly is created and what IL code is. They go into detail on how assemblies are loaded in to Windows and compare them to regular native code execution.

An introduction to the different languages available to program the framework gives a good distinction between the main three that come with Visual Studio, Visual Basic, C# and managed C++. The authors show how the common programming model allows for inheritance and code usage between individual languages. A quick overview of major framework classes is also given.

For the remaining chapters, each gives an overview of a major area of .NET. The first of these shows how to deploy .NET programs. Both standard deployment and COM+ deployment and services are covered. Message queues are also covered here.

Next ADO.NET architecture and XML are covered. The authors detail how ADO.NET relies internally on XML. They also give examples of the major objects in ADO such as the DataSet. The different managed providers are also discussed.

In chapter six an entirely new concept is covered called Web Services. Web Services provide a "Software as a Service" type of functionality. They allow public interaction through a web server to some data or functionality that can be directly used in other projects. The book shows how to discover, consume and write Web Services.

The next two chapters describe the GUI interfaces available in .NET. Microsoft has provided a new ASP model called, of course, ASP.NET. For widows client applications there is a new forms package called Window's Forms. Both allow for very robust GUI for the web and regular windows client applications.

Another very useful part of the book is the appendix. The appendix gives reference material to the different languages, acronyms, data types and common tools available to .NET programmers. I found the common utilities appendix invaluable. Since I don't use the command line tools very much, I frequently forget their options. It provides a very quick reference on the options.


I feel that this book should get two different ratings.

I gave it a 10 of 10 for new to .NET programmers that haven't looked at the .NET platform yet, or have just started with it. It gives an invaluable overview of what .net is capable of and where to start on each subject. You should read this book. It will save you a huge amount of time later when you are trying to architect larger projects. When designing the more that is known about the design capabilities of the tools involved, the better the final design will be.

For experienced programmers that have been programming with the .NET architecture, I give the book and 8. I found that the book is very good as a quick reference for seldom used tools and concepts in .NET. For example, if you don't use web services and ASP.NET much, you will find the chapters on them very informative.

Table of Contents:

  1. .NET Overview
    • Microsoft .NET
    • The .NET Platform
    • .NET Framework Design Goals
    • .NET Framework
  2. The Common Language Runtime
    • CLR Environment
    • CLR Executables
    • Metadata
    • Assemblies and Manifests
    • Intermediate Language (IL)
    • The CTS and CLS
    • CLR Execution
    • Summary
  3. .NET Programming
    • Common Programming Model
    • Core Features and Languages
    • Language Integration
    • Summary
  4. Working with .NET Components
    • Deployment Options
    • Distributed Components
    • COM+ Services in .NET
    • Message Queuing
    • Summary
  5. Data and XML
    • ADO.NET Architecture
    • ADO.NET Benefits
    • Content Components
    • Managed Providers
    • DataSet and XML
    • Summary
  6. Web Services
    • Web Services in Practice
    • Web Services Framework
    • Web Services Provider
    • Web Services Consumers
    • Web Services and Security
    • Summary
  7. Web Forms
    • ASP
    • ASP.NET
    • The System.Web.UI Namespace
    • Web Form Syntax
    • ASP.NET Application Development
    • ASP.NET and Web Services
    • Data Binding and the Use of Templates
    • State Management and Scalability
    • Summary
  8. Windows Forms
    • Introducing Windows Forms
    • The System.Windows.Forms Namespace
    • Windows Forms Development
    • Windows Forms and Web Services
    • Conclusion
  1. .NET Languages

  2. Common Acronyms

  3. Common Datatypes

  4. Common Utilities

Order your copy of .NET Framework Essentials Second Edition at
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