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Windows Forms Programming in C# Paperback – September 6, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0321116208 ISBN-10: 0321116208 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (September 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321116208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321116208
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Everything changes in the Microsoft .NET Framework and the C# language, including the creation of graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Windows Forms Programming in C# explains the Windows Forms (WinForms) environment to programmers who have some experience with .NET programming, and in the process (thanks to a clear and deliberate expository style) reveals a lot about .NET to less experienced developers. The overall effect is that almost every reader comes away with better knowledge of .NET, not just its user-interface libraries and behaviors.

Author Chris Sells takes care to balance code samples with explanatory text, meaning that most chapters take on a characteristic "code, explanation, effect" style (in which "effect" is usually documented with a screen shot). This approach is effective, and serves both to answer "How do I..." questions and inspire "I should give that a try!" exploration. Once in a while, callouts will link two or more screen shots with a sample of code, graphically illustrating how code affects the appearance of a form and how it's represented in the Visual Studio development environment. On top of his clear teaching style, Sells calls attention to workarounds for shortcomings in the .NET environment (particularly where similar limitations don't exist in Microsoft Foundation Classes), helping to improve programmer productivity in the growing .NET environment. --David Wall

Topics covered: How to use the WinForms environment within the Microsoft .NET Framework. Dialog boxes, drawing, printing, and controls all are covered by means of explanations and lots of illustrative examples, and there's good coverage of the WinForms event model, too. An appendix compares MFC and the .NET Framework.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Windows Forms Programming in C#

“Chris may have a strong affinity for semi-colons, but anybody who’s programming Windows Forms needs to read this book.”

     —Brian Randell, Visual Basic Guru and DevelopMentor Instructor

“Chris Sells has done it again. This book has everything a developer needs to know to write serious WinForms applications. Chris leaves no stone unturned in explaining the WinForms programming model and arming developers with the knowledge they need to exploit WinForms to the fullest. And, as if that weren’t enough, Chris’s writing style makes this book a page-turner for geeks. I couldn’t put it down! Until John Grisham gets the .NET religion, you won’t find a better WinForms book anywhere.”

     —Jeff Prosise, co-founder of Wintellect, author of Programming Microsoft .NET

“Chris is clearly *the* expert on web deployment of WinForms. In this book, Chris explains this material clearly and the power of the technology really shows. Unlike other WinForms books, this manuscript takes a more practical approach to the use of programming tools, such as Visual Studio. Sells’s book strikes a nice balance between theory and practice. Windows Forms is an important technology that needs more press. Chris Sells’ book is in great position to be the definitive work on the emerging technology.”

     —Brian Graff, Sr. SW Engineer, PreEmptive Solutions, Inc.

“Chris has written the best WinForms book around. Period.”

     —Pierre Nallet, DevelopMentor Instructor

“Chris does a nice job of presenting the core elements of WinForms complete with many concise samples and graphic depictions of UI features in action. Even more compelling, however, is how Chris anticipates how most developers will want to use these features, and presents techniques and paradigms of usage that will be invaluable for any serious WinForms developer. This book is destined to become dog-eared in the hands anyone building WinForms applications.”

     —Fritz Onion, DevelopMentor instructor and author of Essential ASP.NET

“I don’t want just a description of the WinForms widgets. I can get that online or from other books. What I want is a roadmap for pitfalls to avoid, and innovative solutions for common problems. That is where this book shines.”

     —Johan Ericcson, SW Engineer, Agilent

“This is the definitive book for every Windows Programmer.”

     —Fumiaki Yoshimatsu, Sr. Engineer, Intoferia Corporation

“After browsing through countless books that introduce me to Windows Forms basics, it is refreshing to find a book that dives right into some real hard-core programming. This is, without a doubt the best and most useful C#/WinForms book I have ever read. I would suggest this book to be essential reading for very serious .NET WinForms developer who wants to work smarter instead of harder.”

     —Serge Shimanovsky, Software Developer, Rueters Group PLC

“In this book, Chris Sells discusses how the Windows Forms classes and their supporting infrastructure can be used to write robust and rich smart client applications. If you’re an experienced Windows programmer who has previously used MFC or directly utilized the Win32 API to write such applications, you will find Chris’s direct delivery very appropriate for transferring your knowledge to the managed classes. If you’re a developer with less Windows development experience, you’ll find the treatment of core concepts in application UI programming indispensable.”

     —From the foreword by Mike Blaszczack, Architect, SQL Server Data Warehousing, Microsoft

"I think this book does a great job of hitting a huge number of features—sometimes I forget how much there is to WinForms!" —Chris Anderson, Software Architect, Microsoft Windows Forms team

Programming Windows Forms in C# is the ultimate guide to using the Microsoft .NET forms package. Readers learn how to build smart client applications that take full advantage of both the rich user interface features of the Microsoft Windows operating system and the deployment features of HTML-based applications. Author Chris Sells draws upon his WinForms research and programming experience to provide what the Windows Forms documentation could not: a clear picture of exactly how C# programmers will want to use WinForms.

Well-written and easy to navigate, this book presents the building blocks of WinForms and the best practices for creating stand-alone client applications and front ends to databases and Web services. Readers gain an understanding of the rationale behind aspects of WinForms' design and will find out how to avoid or solve common problems. Figures illustrate WinForms' user interface features and code samples are used throughout the book to demonstrate best practices. All code has been tested with Visual Studio .NET 1.1 and is available at www.sellsbrothers.com, where readers will also find updates to the book.

This book focuses on the topics readers need to understand in order to build real-world applications. These topics include:

Form layout
  • Multiple top-level windows
  • Non-rectangular windows
  • Accessing data from the middle tier, filesystems, XML, databases, and Web services
  • Classes outside the System.WinForms namespace, including System.Drawing and System.Security
  • Custom drawing
  • Hosting and building controls
  • Design-time integration
  • Data binding
  • Multithreaded user interfaces
  • Deploying WinForms over the Web
  • Moving from MFC
  • Delegates and events
  • Serialization basics

Programming Windows Forms in C# is the tutorial for experienced Windows programmers who are serious about mastering Windows Forms.

Customer Reviews

This is one of those rare books you'd treasure long after you have finished reading it.
G. Chow
This book is not for beginners, but is indispensible for experienced C#/.NET programmers who are looking to improve their skills.
Serge Shimanovsky
Throughout the book Chris lets his fun personality shine through, making the book very enjoyable to read.
Chris Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Steve Makofsky on September 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Windows Forms Programming in C# doesn't disappoint.
The book quickly dives into the basics of form development, layout and resources. Even though the topic is somewhat introductory to someone who's done a lot of Windows Form development, the book is written in such a way that there was several times still found myself learning something new. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on drawing, there's always something interesting to be found when working with GDI+.
200 pages later, I found myself in a chapter that discusses a topic that you rarely see in any Windows programming book - Printing. This chapter is worth the price of the book alone to have it on your shelf as a reference guide. You won't find a more detailed coverage of printing anywhere else.
While I could go on and on about each individual chapter, I wanted to point out one that I particularly found helpful - Chapter 14 on Multithreaded User Interfaces. I had originally read part of this in an MSDN article, and was looking forward to the full content - and wasn't disappointed: Asynchronous operations, Safety and Multithreading, Callbacks (synchronous and asynchronous), etc. are all covered.
Anyways, I could go on and on - there are plenty of tasty .NET morsels in here to keep both the novice and experienced developer consumed with this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Mitchell on March 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No where in the title, cover or product description does it explain that this covers a very old version of Windows Forms programming that is no longer relevant today. I had not looked for the publication date when choosing this book (silly me). The author put the manuscript to bed in April 2003 and the book was published in September of 2003.

If you are completely new to Windows Forms, realize that this book was written to about Visual Studio 2003 .NET standards. Huge changes have been made to Visual Studio and .NET since then (major revision being Visual Studio 2005 and 2008).

When you read the assorted reviews here on Amazon, you'll note that most reviews are dated around 2004 or so.

This book should be fully updated to a new edition or taken off the market. Being six years old, and with .NET and Visual Studio both having undergone several revisions since then, this book has limited relevancy in 2009. I regret that I purchased this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before buying Chris's book, a friend recommended another book as the best C# WinForms book, so I bought that one. It was my second one on this subject. I didn't find anything useful in it, and I almost concluded that all WinForms books were going to be worthless for me.
However, I still needed some good answers to WinForms questions, and resources such as the newsgroups weren't giving them to me. So I bought this book and a few others as a last effort to find intelligent coverage of this topic. Chris Sell's book totally changed my opinion of WinForms books -- Chris has shown that it is possible to cover this subject the way Troelsen covered an introduction to C# (Troelsen's book was voted best .NET book in the world, btw.)
This is a highly useful book full of intelligent information. It covers the basics, but also provides depth and detail.
I'm a good C# programmer, but I have done very little with WinForms. This was definitely the book I needed. I really think it is the right book for almost any level of WinForms experience. There are good tips in here that will benefit experienced WinForms developers. For example, I've seen smart people debate certain WinForms issues on the newsgroups in lengthy threads, without a clear resolution -- one quick read of a section in Chris's book could have clarified and resolved the issue(s). For every topic like this that I needed to understand, Chris took me from the basics to a full and in-depth understanding.
(I almost feel like going back to all those newsgroup threads and posting answers out of Chris's book. It would make me look like a genius. If you want to be smarter than the average WinForms "expert", read this book.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By steve on June 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
What stands out for me after reading this book is the quality of the code examples (which you can download from the author's website). There are complete sample programs for every chapter. For example, there's a dialog program that shows you all the different types of common dialogs, examples of SDI / Multi SDI / MDI applications, and a controls program that demonstrates all of the different types of user controls. I think the author's intent with these examples (and the book in general) is to try to cover as much of WinForms features as possible, rather than focus on detailing every which way to use a TreeView control. For such details you need to go somewhere else, or look it up on MSDN.

I thought the second half of the book was better, with its coverage of more advanced topics such as integration of custom components within Visual Studio, multithreaded UIs, and application settings. Where I think the book falls short though is in the presentation, and its usefulness as a tutorial for beginners. First of all, it's important to note that the book does not teach you the basics of C# or .NET. So if you have never heard of WinForms before, you really should start off with an introductory Visual C# book before looking at this one. Problems with the presentation include the fact that the author does not really reference the code examples in the book itself. Typically, only partial code snippets are shown and there is this convention of using "..." in the code sections throughout the book which makes it difficult to follow - I found myself having to flip back and forth between pages to recall exactly what code the author has now considered "superfluous" (in his words).

Basically, the content and coverage are there. But the book doesn't seem to be as polished as its MS Press counterparts. I would recommend waiting for a future edition that will likely use VS 2005 examples.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Chris Sells has been a software engineer of one kind or another since he was 14 years old. He's worked at Intel and Microsoft, has started his own companies, has written a dozen books, given countless conference talks and has done everything from QA to developer, consultant to VP, technical support to CTO, chief architect to conference organizer.

Currently, Chris is an independent consultant specializing in technical strategy for Windows, devices and the cloud.

You can read more about Chris on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/csells), Amazon (http://amazon.com/Chris-Sells/e/B001H6OL1K), Twitter (http://twitter.com/csells), Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Sells), and his own web site (http://sellsbrothers.com).

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Windows Forms Programming in C#
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