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The C# Programming Language (3rd Edition) 3rd Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321562999
ISBN-10: 0321562992
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

C# is a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language that combines the high productivity of rapid application development languages with the raw power of C and C++. Written by the language's architect and design team members, The C# Programming Language is the definitive technical reference for C#. Moving beyond the online documentation, the book provides the complete specification of the language along with descriptions, reference materials, and code samples from the C# design team.

The first part of the book opens with an introduction to the language to bring readers quickly up to speed on the concepts of C#. Next follows a detailed and complete technical specification of the C# 1.0 language, as delivered in Visual Studio .NET 2002 and 2003. Topics covered include Lexical Structure, Types, Variables, Conversions, Expressions, Statements, Namespaces, Exceptions, Attributes, and Unsafe Code.

The second part of the book provides an introduction to and technical specification of the four major new features of C# 2.0: Generics, Anonymous Methods, Iterators, and Partial Types.

Reference tabs and an exhaustive print index allow readers to easily navigate the text and quickly find the topics that interest them most. An enhanced online index allows readers to quickly and easily search the entire text for specific topics.

With the recent acceptance of C# as a standard by both the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and ECMA, understanding the C# specification has become critical. The C# Programming Language is the definitive reference for programmers who want to acquire an in-depth knowledge of C#.

0321154916B10142003 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Anders Hejlsberg is a programming legend. He is the architect of the C# language and a Microsoft Technical Fellow. He joined Microsoft in 1996, following a 13-year career at Borland, where he was the chief architect of Delphi and Turbo Pascal.


Mads Torgersen is a senior program manager at Microsoft. As the program manager for the C# language, he runs the C# language design meetings and maintains the C# language specification. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2005, Mads was an associate professor at the University of Aarhus, teaching and researching object-oriented programming languages. There, he led the group that designed and implemented generic wildcards for the Java Programming Language.


Scott Wiltamuth is partner program manager for Visual Studio. While at Microsoft, he has worked on a wide range of developer-oriented projects, including Visual Basic, VBScript, JScript, Visual J++, and Visual C#. Scott is one of the designers of the C# language, and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Stanford University.


Before leaving Microsoft, Peter Golde served as the lead developer of Microsoft’s C# compiler. As the primary Microsoft representative on the ECMA committee that standardized C#, he led the implementation of the compiler and worked on the language design.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 3 edition (October 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321562992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321562999
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,607,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think several of the previous reviews missed the gist of what this book is. It isn't "plagiarized", nor is it "classic" material - it simply IS a reprint of the current state of the Microsoft C# Language Specification in a snazzy new hard cover, thats all. You can download the C# Language Specification from the MSDN site if you want to take a look at precisely how the content of this book is organized. Microsoft Press first published the C# Language Specification back in 2001 based on the beta content. This is apparently just the current state of the specs, nothing fancy. Many of the examples used here are the same old examples used with the beta edition specs. This is pure techie reference material. Nothing more, nothing less.
So I gave it 3 stars. How do you rate a language specification document? It is what it is. Marketing hype about "destined to be a classic" (ya da ya da) is disingenuous, but charges of plagiarism are ill-considered also: its simply the same old spec document that Hejlsberg, et al, have been working on for the past four years. Just updated.
So if you want a nicely bound edition of the current spec buy the book...
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Format: Hardcover
I've always held as a personal dictum that the best way to get complete, irrefutable information on something is to go straight to the source. And the new title "The C# Programming Language", co-authored by Anders Heljsberg, a Microsoft distinguished engineer and the creator of the C# language, is such a source.

To paraphrase my favorite quote from the Matrix series, "He IS the architect."

However, the key element to understanding why you should get this book is understanding what it is...and perhaps more importantly, what it is not. The main focus of the book is to provide centralized documentation for the C# language specification. It's not intended to be a comprehensive tutorial to C# development; it's a programmer's reference, profiling the internal mechanics behind the world's most rapidly-adopted programming language.

So, it's not a book where developers can copy out code, find out how to better design classes, or lookup methods and properties within the .NET Framework - it's a valuable reference guide for the experienced developer. As such, I find it to be a fantastic resource for upper-level computer science students (a market Addison-Wesley very adeptly serves anyway), or those professional developers moving over from other languages and/or platforms, and I highly recommend it to those who would make buying decisions for such classes.

People looking to buy it as a programming guide will be disappointed, I'm sad to say, as it's simply not that type of book. This would be akin to be getting lost trying to read the U.S. Constitution to find out how to create a law. It's applicable...but not directly.

However, I enjoyed reading it, for the academic and conceptual benefits it provided.
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All the raves about this book are correct, but Microsoft rushed it to press too early. It goes up to chapter 23, but Microsoft has already posted chapters 24 and 25 on their web site. Also, some of the material is inaccurate due to Microsoft changing their mind about the 2.0 implementation.
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Format: Hardcover
Chapter 1 of this book is a short and nice introduction to C# for programming language experts. However, the following chapters are not easy to understand even for experts. You can download a newer version of "C# Language Specification" (a standard from ECMA but whose content is mostly the same as this book) free. Do you still want to buy this book?
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Well, let me warn you, if you think this is a How To book, or something you pick up and read cover to cover, It's not! This book is essentially the technical documentation of the C# spec (covering the new framework enhancements like Generics), written by the guy that wrote it (and he writes books about as well as he creates languages). There are plenty of good examples, but since it's a reference book more than anything else, you're not going to get 10 pages of examples on the more 'complex' subjects. What you will get is clear and relevant information on how C# really works and and example or two to get you through it.
This is a lot different than the rest of the A-W Series, but it's a class act through and through. And if you are a C# programmer or want to be one, this is a must have reference.
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Format: Hardcover
Most of the other reviews have pretty much covered the details of this book. So, I will just add what appears to be missing.
Every experienced C# developer probably already knows that they need this material. Whether they download it or buy the book is up to the individual. Personally, I have the Language Specs version from C# 1.0 beta, I have the downloads of this current version and have read through the 2.0 extension. However, I am buying this book also. Aside from being more convenient to shelve and find when needed, it needs to take it's pride of place in my lineup beside Kernighan & Pike (C), Stroustrup (C++), Arnold et al (Java), Knuth (Art of Prog.), Gamma et al(GoF Patterns). You may call it the legends' guard of honor. My little tribute to such distinguished personalities of my time.
If you are new to programming or to C#, you may think you don't need this book now, but you'd be surprised how quickly you grow to need this book more. When C# was released, I had to develop an application quickly to support a book I was writing (everybody was new to the language). Many of the error messages I got from compilation were helpful but for some of them, I had to dig into the language specs to see all the do's and don't in one place. Even MSDN can't give you that.
If you are a systems developer, who for your livelihood have to mess with Reflection.Emit, CodeDom, Compilers, Custom Macros and such like, you would know that you can't do your job so easily if you didn't have this book. If you don't right now but ever hope to, consider this an early advice: you need the specs.
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