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Keywords:C#, .NET, reference guide

Title: Essential C# Fast

Author: Ian Chivers

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1852335629

Media: Book

Level: Introductory

Verdict: Solid, code-driven but not very exciting

Part introduction, part reference and part study-guide 'Essential C# Fast' attempts to provide the programmer with a quick C# primer. The emphasis is on providing a brief but thorough introduction using code examples throughout the text. For the most part the code uses the console rather than being driven via a GUI or a Web front-end, though there is some coverage of both Visual Studio and building very simple forms.

Reference is frequently made to other programming languages, particularly those most related to the evolution of C# - C, C++ and Java. Each topic is prefaced with some discussion before launching into the sample code. Examples are explained, though it is clearly expected that the reader will compile and run the code to compare output with other examples or with what the reader expects. At times this means that the text feels incomplete - why not simply list the output and discuss it properly? If this were a tutorial leaving things as exercises would be more understandable, but this is not a straight-forward tutorial at all.

The design of the book is very basic, with the code displayed in dark grey boxes. Given the importance of the code the quality of the formatting is not particularly good - in particular the inconsistent use of indentation and code blocking makes the sample programs hard to read at times. There were also a couple of minor errors in the code, but not anything that would cause major headaches.

Most of the major C# areas are covered, from arrays to control structures to structs, threads, collections and Windows programming. Notably absent are C# custom attributes, delegates and unsafe code, though the text does offer references that can be followed up.

In all this is a solid but unexciting introduction to C# which can also function as a quick reference.

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