Five Good Books On Microsoft .Net Framework

In a programming world, to do a criticism against anything and everything Microsoft does is like putting up a fashion statement by beautiful models with their useless cloths. But after spending years in intensive computer programming, Microsoft .Net seems to be the best computer programming environment human kind can possess at this point of time. It’s simply just too perfect (if you forget the stupid “.Net” name tag i.e.) converging several good stuff from lots of things that existed ranging from non-proprietary C++, rival Java, Microsoft’s own VB and my old favorite Borland Delphi. I was kind of surprised at this level of perfection when I first used it and amazed at the numbers of human years that might have been spent to achieve this level of skills to do something this sophisticated flawlessly. So how do you get started? After going through details of more then 200 books, purchasing 10s of them, returning back many out of disappointment, here’s the 4 winners that has finally emerged. These books are probably all you need to learn almost everything you might need to develop advanced applications. I assume good familiarity with VB6, little more then intermediate programming experience and a desire to know low level details. [List arranged by order of importance]

  1. Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET - Francesco Balena. This one is an absolute must and covers almost everything in single volume. Fun to read and goes deep in to details. This is your ideal starting point if you were a VB6 programmer.
  2. ASP.NET Unleashed - Stephen Walther. The ASP.Net is the most changed part between transition from VS6 and it’s the most exciting one. This book, I’ve found, is the best on the subject.
  3. .NET Common Language Runtime Unleashed - Kevin R. Burton. Haven’t read this one yet but it looked really cool with MSIL and other low level stuff.
  4. Compiling for the .NET Common Language Runtime - John Gough. You don’t know it until you get dirty with details and this book gonna take you in real details. I bought it to understand MSIL, virtual machine, common language issues and in future to make my own compiler for RPL.
  5. Microsoft ADO.NET - David Sceppa. The ADO.Net is the center of almost any large scale app and you need to know every little thing about it. While I’ve included this book in the list, I must admit that this one was a disappointment when I tried to find details on some advanced level stuff I was doing for real world application. But still it clears up lots of basics on concurrency handling, typed datasets etc.

So, What’s not included in above books? First, the C# language spec is not included because you better off reading it from MSDN. General tasks that you might perform every now and then are at Quickstart tutorials (the HowTo index). However, none of the books that I came across really contains good application architecture strategies that you can use in real world. For this subject, you should check out articles at DevX, Fawcette, asp411 and This might be your best bet when it comes to putting principles in to practice. Finally, here’s the books I returned: Instant ASP.NET Applications, ASP.NET Tips & Techniques and Programming Windows with C#. Beware!

Principal Research Engineer

A program trying to understand what it’s computing.