Essential .NET, Volume I: The Common Language Runtime 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
"Don taught me stuff I didn't know about my own product! And I bet he'll teach you something, too."
—From the Foreword by James Miller, Lead Program Manager, Common Language Runtime, Microsoft Corporation
Essential .NET, Volume 1 , provides everything developers need to take full advantage of the power of Microsoft .NET. This book describes, in depth, the glue of the .NET Framework: the Common Language Runtime (CLR). Box and Sells explain the inner workings of the CLR—the rationale behind its design, the problems it solves, and the role of type in CLR programming—and show readers how to build better applications using the .NET Framework while gaining a more complete understanding of how the CLR works.
The book is packed with the practical detail and expert advice only Don Box can provide. Topics covered include:
- CLR's evolution
- Assemblies in the .NET Framework
- The CLR type system
- Programming with type
- Objects and values
- Explicit method invocation
- Application domains
Essential .NET, Volume 1 , is an authoritative guide to the Microsoft .NET Common Language Runtime.
Books in the Microsoft .NET Development Series are written and reviewed by the principal authorities and pioneering developers of the Microsoft .NET technologies, including the Microsoft .NET development team and DevelopMentor. Books in the Microsoft .NET Development Series focus on the design, architecture, and implementation of the Microsoft .NET initiative to empower developers and students everywhere with the knowledge they need to thrive in the Microsoft .NET revolution.
About the Author
Don Box is a leading educator, recognized authority on the Component Object Model (COM), coauthor of the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) specification, and coiner of the term "COM is Love." He recently joined Microsoft as an architect in the Microsoft® .NET Developer and Platform Evangelism Group.
Earlier in his career, Box cofounded DevelopMentor Inc., a component software think tank aimed at educating developers on the use of the COM, Java, and XML. A popular public speaker, Box is known for engaging audiences around the world, combining deep technical insight with often outrageous stunts.
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Don thinks at a high level, and writes very concisely as a result. By any other author, this book might've been a 1400 page mammoth; I'm amazed at the valuable data he's packed into just over 400 pages.
Some developers may the material in this book unattainable because of the concise and in-depth technical material. Those who do grok it will find it invaluable. This book was well worth the wait for me.
As with any book that tries to cover such an extensive ground as the .NET CLR is, there are tradeoffs in the depth and extent with which the author describes each subject. In this case, Box chose to highlight the details of the inner workings of the CLR that we, as programmers, must have present to make efficient and appropriate use of the runtime facilities. Chapters one through five deal with basic concepts that, in my opinion, are best left to an introductory book and are not worth more than skimming through them, although you could always find a golden needle hidden in the haystack. However, on chapters six and after, the book really takes off and you'll probably find new things to learn page after page.
Although the crucial details are clearly exposed, this book is by no means exhaustive, I believe it can be considered more as a base from where you can start researching further about the subject of your interest. For example chapter seven, "Advanced Methods", deals with stack/message transitions, proxies, sinks and contexts. All these concepts are very well covered but I didn't get the eureka! feeling until I read Ingo Rammer's Advanced .NET Remoting and could see those concepts in action and realize their importance.
All in all, a book that deserves a slot in your .NET library (a slot somewhere in between a pair of good tutorials and the in-detail books about the areas of the framework that draw your interest). I would consider it a good investment of your time and money and I also see myself coming back to it (specially back to chapter 6-10) as a refresher. -- Review by Julio G.
Well, Microsoft released the first version of .NET (place your own definition here) including the Common Language Runtime almost a year ago. In Don's latest book "Essential .NET, Volume 1: The Common Language Runtime", he does it again. Yes, Don, with the help of Chris Sells, has extrapolated the key parts of the Common Language Runtime (CLR) or what Don might call a better COM.
Before I get into the meat of the review, I want to say that, in my opinion, this book is not for a beginning programmer and not necessarily even a beginning .NET programmer. If you are a beginning programmer and want an understandable, but not as deep, technical explanation of the CLR then I recommend you read "Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming" by Jeffrey Richter. If you are an experienced COM developer or you have spent some quality time programming in the .NET environment then I think this title ("Essential .NET, Volume 1: The Common Language Runtime") will be a great addition to your library.
As the title ("The CLR as a Better COM") suggests, the first chapter takes a look at the origins of COM and provides the reader with the problem that the CLR is supposed to correct. This chapter is moderately useful to the experienced COM developer as it does set the intent, tone, and style of the chapters that follow. To the development newbie (who I wouldn't recommend read this book), this chapter will be less useful as the newbie is less concerned with where we came from and more concerned with they can live in the environment. I found the first chapter kind of fluffy.
The second chapter, "Components", is where the reading gets good and meaty. When Don and Chris say "Components" they mean every little bit and byte that makes up the component. As a result, chapter two covers Modules, Assemblies, Public Keys, the CLR Loader, Resolving Names to Locations, and Versioning. It is in this chapter that, among other things, I learned that of the four assembly types the Module type is the only one that does not contain an assembly manifest. I loved the graphic illustrations in this chapter and the detailed description of what is *really* in an assembly.
The third chapter, "Type Basics", covers all things type. The Common Type System (CTS) is another of the many acronyms introduced by .NET. The CTS is, essentially, what guarantees us that a String in Visual Basic .NET is a String in C#. Well, the String type can further be defined with all of the technical makeup of a Type in the CLR. Don and Chris bust open the Type shell and describe what's inside. There are lots of little code snippets in this chapter and more great illustrations. I'm a very visual person so the code snippets really put many of the concepts into perspective for me. They also give me a head start when I head to notepad, a compiler, Anakrino, and ildasm to start doing some investigation of my own.
Top international reviews
Essential .Net not only provides great detail and insight into the underlying machinery, it very quickly provides the reader with absolute gems of information - in particular Type checking performance with isinst and castclass. It keeps on giving with wonderful explanations of metadata, messages as method calls, memory management and performance, security and permissions, and the list goes on. We all know that the CLR provides very rich services to the modern developer, we now know how, and at what cost. This is an invaluable resource.
Admittedly the assumption is made that the reader has some technical knowledge and ability in the .Net arena as not all concepts are spoon-fed, however the kind of information presented here is targetted to those who intend to maximise this knowledge and create better software - it is not for the raw beginner. Having said that, I would still recommend this to beginners and those new to .Net wherein this book shows people where their attention should be focussed and where they should reinforce their knowledge.
I couldn't put this one down when I first got it. Buy it now!
Es ist eine Referenz und Erklärung - fast - aller Konzepte und Techniken die in und hinter .Net stecken.
Angefangen von dem wie .Net Klassen behandelt, über Applikationen und Assemblies, weiter über Code Security, Code Generation, Code Insertion, ...
Don Box bereitet diese Fülle an Information auch so auf dass man sie verstehen kann. Wo einem andere Autoren gerade mal die Anleitung geben wie man etwas macht, do gibt einem Don Box auch die Information warum man es so machen sollte und auch wie das dahinter aussieht.
Eines ist Schade: Bis jetzt ist der im Buch angekündigte 2. Band noch nicht erschienen!