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C# 5.0 Programmer's Reference (Wiley - Wrox)
Author(s): Rod Stephens
Published: 2014, ISBN: 978-1-118-84728-2, Pages: 960
Publisher (more . . .):  Wiley




 Five out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: August, 2014
  Reviewer: Brian Reed
       Rod Stephens has once again proven that he is a Master Instructor when it comes to teaching folks the intricacies of Microsoft .NET programming. This time it is for the latest edition of Microsoft C#.NET 5.0 in his book C# 5.0 Programmer’s Reference.

     Let me begin by saying that I am by no means an affluent C#.NET developer. Hence this is why I acquired a copy of this book, so I could continue my study of the programming language as best I can. I have spent a whole lot of money over the past several months on various training websites in attempts to further my education in C#.NET programming. When I say a lot, I have subscribed to at least six different training sites for several months at a time and have watched who knows how many hundreds of hours of video in my attempts to learn the language.

     Having said that, I can honestly say I wish I had not wasted my money. Rod Stephens has once again shown me the answers to so many questions I have had in the past with regard to certain aspects of C# programming. There is so much information that is shared in the book that is not shared in the various videos I have been watching. I got to thinking that it could be because this is a Programmer’s Reference type of book instead of a teaching, but I learned more from Rod’s concise, to the point, writing about each aspect that doesn’t include all the “Fluff” you find on all those videos. So many times the “instructors” on the videos will go off on a tangent about this or that and then tell you it is not relevant. Rod doesn’t waste your time like that with this book. He gets right to the information and tells you concisely what you need to know about each aspect. I like that.

     An example of information that is not covered in any of the videos I have watched previously, but I found most intriguing, can be found on page 76 – 77. It is the “As Operator.” Now maybe this is either a well-known function in C# or maybe it is not and thus why we don’t hear about it in all the various training videos available through many websites. I found this to be an extremely useful little tidbit that takes up a small paragraph size writing. I plan on using this information in my own programming. Again, maybe it is well known or it could be not very well known, but it appears from Rod’s writing to be something very useful.

     Another aspect of Rod’s book that I really enjoyed, and yes, I will admit it kicked my butt several times over. At the end of each chapter is a series of exercises that will help you obtain some very useful thinking and hands on experience. Rod writes in the Introduction, “Programming is a skill best learned by doing” (p. xxxvii). The hands on exercises at the end of each chapter provided me the opportunity to further my understanding.

     There is a warning on page xxxvii as well with regard to the exercises. Rod writes, “Sometimes exercises point to more in-depth topics that don’t fit well in the chapter’s text.” Maybe this is why the exercises kicked my butt so much, but it gave me the opportunity to stretch my understanding to further levels and I can truly appreciate that. I know I didn’t get the correct answers, not by any means, but in reviewing the correct answers located in Appendix A I was able to gain exposure to the more “advanced” topics and that is never a bad thing.

     I have always been a fan of Rod Stephens as both an instructor and a writer, and I can tell you his writing is very concise, but very clear at the same time. It is worth your time and effort to read through this book at any level of programming experience. Rod warns in the beginning the book is designed more for the Intermediate and Advanced level of Programmer, but I can tell you from what I consider to be still a Junior Level programmer, the book contains so much useful information that can only help you grow more and more as a programmer/developer. The information is right here at your fingertips. You just need to either read the book from cover to cover (which is a difficult task) or have a good understanding how to use an Index to find the information you need. Only you will know which option is better for your level of programming.

     I give the book five stars because it is worthy of any level to have this sitting on your desk so in case you have a question, Rod Stephens can quickly and easily give you the answer to your question in his book. Or he can point you in the right direction, which sometimes is more important in our advancing our knowledge.

     To conclude this review, I quote an old Chinese Proverb which states, “Teachers open the door; but you must enter by yourself.” I believe Rod Stephens does an excellent job of this with his C# 5.0 Programmer’s Reference. Rod opens so many doors, but it is up to you to do your best to understand the information being provided. Rod makes that very easy with his great writing style.
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