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C# in a Nutshell [Paperback]

Peter Drayton , Ben Albahari , Ted Neward
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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C# 5.0 in a Nutshell: The Definitive Reference C# 5.0 in a Nutshell: The Definitive Reference 5.0 out of 5 stars (5)
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Book Description

March 11 2002 0596001819 978-0596001810 1

C# in a Nutshell provides everything programmers need to know about the C# language in one concise and accessible volume. Designed as a primary reference for daily use, it also includes all the essential background information to become productive quickly. Not a "how-to" book or a rehash of Microsoft's documentation, this book goes to the source of the C# language and the APIs of the .NET Framework to present the content in a way that professional programmers will value above all other books.Brief introductions to the language and .NET runtime provide the needed preparation for programming with the C# language, whose keywords and syntax are then detailed in subsequent chapters. Next, C# in a Nutshell presents key namespaces and types of the .NET Framework base class library which provides much of the functionality and power of the language. Using C# examples, the .NET Framework covers each core area, including:

  • Strings
  • Collections
  • XML
  • Networking
  • Input/Output
  • Serialization
  • Assemblies
  • Reflection
  • Custom Attributes
  • Memory Management
  • Threading
  • Integrating with Native DLLs
  • Integrating with COM Components
  • Diagnostics
Determined to provide even more value, C# in a Nutshell moves into a comprehensive language reference, plus syntax, XML documentation tags, naming and coding conventions, and the various C# development tools--the kind of reference material programmers will use every day.Next, an extensive and quick reference to the API is presented, featuring the System namespace. Particularly useful are the many figures and tables that present the main features of the namespace. For those looking create alternatives to Microsoft's implementation of the C# Programming Language and the Common Language Infrastructure as submitted to ECMA (an international standards organization), each element included in the ECMA submission is clearly labeled. Finally, the entire reference is based on Version 1 of the .NET Framework and generated by tools written in the C# language itself.Every once in a while, a book becomes the de-facto standard for a technology, operating system, or programming language--which is exactly what C# in a Nutshell aims to do in a single straightforward and easy to use volume.

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C# in a Nutshell was inevitable, much like the dawn or your liability for income tax. As the C# language has gathered speed--it's one of the languages that Microsoft encourages you to use for .NET development--its users have anticipated the release of an authoritative reference to the language and its key APIs. That's what this book is: a reference, meant to give you a few chapters on basic structure and syntax before launching into categorised and alphabetised listings of classes and their members. It's sufficiently well written and organised that, given experience with other distributed application environments and some knowledge of .NET, you could learn the language from this book alone. However, this is not a tutorial for people new to Microsoft programming, or new to network computing.

The syntax guide is clear and concise, with brief statements of what operators, data structures and syntax elements are for. There also are examples (both generic and with illustrative data) in that section. The API reference is organised by namespace (System, System.Collections, System.Reflection, System.XML, and so on), with each section containing an alphabetical list of members. Each listing includes syntax guides to the element's constructors, methods and properties, as well as a hierarchy statement and lists of other classes from which instances of the current member is returned and to which it is passed. Don't look for examples in the API reference, but the author's prose statements about the purpose of classes should help you along the way to a working application. --David Wall

Topics covered: the key System namespaces of the C# programming language and their most important members, covered in API reference format. Sections deal with (among others) System, System.Collections, System.NET, System.NET.Sockets, System.Runtime.Interopservices and System.XML. There's also a syntax guide and references to regular expressions and data marshalling in the C# language.


"Neither a "how-to" book nor a rehash of Microsoft's documentation, this latest addition to O'Reilly's Nutshell series goes to the source of the language and APIs to present content in a way that professional programmers will value above all other books. ... [This book] was written for the working C SHARP programmer who will be able to find answers to most questions of syntax and functionality that he or she encounters on the job. Experienced Java and C++ programmers encountering the C SHARP language and the CLR for the first time will be able to put this book to good use." Linux Magazine, July/August 2002 "...a 'fast-packed, no-fluff' introduction to both elementary and arcane features of C SHARP and .NET...Serious C SHARP programmers will find this to be an invaluable handy reference." PC Plus, November 2002

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good reference text. May 3 2004
This book is not a "teach yourself C#"; it is only a reference text. If you are experienced in another programming language, however, you can use this reference to easily find the syntax required by C#. The book is a quick reference useful for programmers who like to have a paper copy reference on their desktops. By the publisher's own admission, it is not an exhausted reference.
I like having a hard copy reference when I'm programming, so this book suits me fine. There are numerous example code snippets throughout the book to help you learn C#. In addition, the second edition also adds a CD that allows you to incorporate the book's Quick Reference directly into the help files of Visual Studio .NET. This gives you, the programmer, more options when you need help. It is also handy when you have left the book at home.
I'm an intermediate Java programmer who needed to make the conversion to C# for a particular project. "C# in a Nutshell" has assisted me in this aim, and as a result, I would recommend this book to anyone as a useful reference text.
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In my opinion O'reilly continually puts out the best technical books and "C# in a Nutshell" further supports their excellent reputation. As usual with O'reilly's other offerings in their "in a Nutshell" series they leave out the fluff and provide just the facts. This approach makes "C# in a Nutshell" easy to recommend if you've already gotten your feet wet in C#. On the other hand if you're still green you're better off with books that offer a traditional tutorial approach and then come back when you're ready to get into some advanced topics or need a reference to the namespaces and C# implementation.
Understanding this book is not a tutorial for the beginner will help acclimate yourself to what to expect. Even though the subtitle reads "A Desktop Reference" ample content exists to introduce beginning topics that lay the ground work for its reference sections.
The first nineteen chapters, approximately two hundred and nineteen pages, cover beginning topics such as .NET Framework and C# basics to advanced subjects including reflection, XML serialization, and threading. The remaining chapters are devoted to a quick reference to classes in the namespaces. Several topics that I'm interested in, including GDI+ were mentioned only briefly and then referred to related namespaces. I'm hoping that GDI+ and other UI related material are covered in more depth in O'reilly's ".NET Windows Forms in a Nutshell" offering or the next edition of "C# in a Nutshell".

Code examples in the book were sufficient to reinforce my understanding of each topic and the 'animal tracks' notes were a nice touch and more than mere filler. Other niceties include UML diagrams detailing the namespace structures, DLL / namespace associations, and the C# API Quick Reference encapsulated in a Visual Studio.
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3.0 out of 5 stars C# in a Nutshell April 16 2003
The Nutshell series published by the O'Reilly group has become so ubiquitous in the IT world that it needs very little introduction. As the preface of C# in a Nutshell states, the aim of the series is to become the desktop reference for whatever technology is covered by each book. In this case, O'Reilly aims to make this book the must-have reference for all C# programmers. This review will focus on the points that any good reference book should address, namely: brevity, completeness, correctness, and usefulness. Unfortunately, my own personal knowledge of C# is restricted to what was discussed in .NET Essentials (another O'Reilly publication), so I won't be able to be as critical of the correctness as I would like. My conclusions are thus based on short tests that I ran to check the validity of the claims made in the book.
C# in a Nutshell scores high marks in both the brevity and correctness categories. Humorous as it might be to label an 830-page book as brief, it actually qualifies as such. The main discussion of the language is kept to the first 270 pages, with an average of about 20 pages devoted to each subject. Only the essentials are discussed, and that will usually be enough when you need to quickly look up how to do something. The remaining 560 pages are devoted to a Quick Reference of the .NET framework classes. While reading the text, I never came across any glaring inconsistencies, such as conflicting descriptions of how to accomplish a task, which leads me to suspect that the text is mostly correct. The few actual tests I ran worked as expected. On a superficial level, I found the content credible.
When it came to completeness, I wasn't as impressed. As a reader, I have somewhat of a personal bias: I'm pretty familiar with both C++ and Java.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Would've liked more code samples Dec 20 2002
If you have picked this book to learn C# because you don't have much time, most likely you will find that it's a hard nut to crack. In my view, it's a handy reference book for intermediate C# progrmmers who want to review key features of the C# language, essential programming concepts using the NET framework classes and the details of any of the 700 .NET Framework Classes in 21 important namespaces without using MSDN online libaray. If you often find yourself printing topics from Visual Studio NET Online Help and read them on weekends, then this book is for you.
Section I (chapter 1- 4) summarizes key concepts of the C# language, illustrated with succinct code.

Section II (Chapter 5 to 19) covers programming using the Framework Class Library, such as String, Collections, Streams and I/O, Serialization, Assemblies, Reflection, Custom Attributes, Garbage Collection, Threading and Interop.

I felt that each topic discussion is a little too brief and many important topics mentioned in the overview section of the book are not discussed at all, such as graphics, data access with ADO.NET, Remoting, Window Forms, Web Application, globalization, Configuration.
In section III, some useful .NET Framework SDK tools are covered, which is very helpful.
The last section is detailed listing of the most important core types/classes of the .NET framework. I like the UML diagrams illustrating class hierarchy and relationships.
Personally I would like to see some code samples under important types.
The book is 832 pages thick, I hope the future edition will add the missing topics mentioned above and more code, making it a 1,000 page reference book. -- Reviewed by Timothy D.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I wanted
When I need to learn a language, the last thing I want is a book that tries to teach it to me. Their teaching jut gets in the way of my learning. Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2003 by wiredweird
4.0 out of 5 stars IT BARED ALL THE PARAMETERS
This newly introduced "C# in a Nutshell" provides all the basic information most programmers would need on both C# and general .NET programming. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2003 by reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars In a Nutshell this is a must have book.
I have other nutshell books and find them to be the most used books on my bookshelf. This book is no exception. You should get this one even if you have other C# books.
Published on Dec 5 2002 by Burdell B. Marshall
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Reilly at its best!
As usual, O'Reilly delivered an excellent "in a nutshell" book for a C# programmer. Many complain that some of the namespace were left out, like ADO.NET ones. Read more
Published on Sept. 16 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional C# Reference
Of course it omits a few major namespaces (i.e., System.Web for ASP.NET Web Services) however this book is an *excellent* C# language reference and tons of details on the major... Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2002 by Kenneth Papai
3.0 out of 5 stars A reference for C# programmers
I'm the publisher of "C# in a Nutshell" and given my admitted interest in the success of this book I would not ordinarily post a comment in this space. Read more
Published on July 15 2002 by John Osborn
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better!
As other Nutshell books that i loved, this one is exceptional too. Quick reference to the language features, the detail reference layout for most classes. Read more
Published on May 1 2002 by "eyenh"
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is avery Great Book like all the nutshell of Oreilly's
Keep Writing this Great Books !!!
Published on April 13 2002
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