Windows Forms Programming with C#, by Erik Brown, (Paperback, 752 pages); ISBN 1-930-11028-6

Reviewed by: Songmuh Jong, send e-mail
Published by: Manning Publications Co., go to the web site
Source code: go to the site
Requires: Visual Studio .NET and .NET Framework SDK
MSRP: $49.95

Windows programming is becoming such a common commodity that some people do not appreciate its complexity anymore. Every new application in Windows is expected to follow the standards established by Microsoft Office. Visual Studio used to help programmers achieve the Windows standards. The new Microsoft .NET makes Windows applications part of a bigger platform however. The new Visual Studio.NET and the new C# (pronounced "C Sharp") compiler in .NET promise to take developers one step farther into the newly rising .NET platform. Despite the new trend toward network-centric programming, this book takes one step back and examines how the new Visual Studio.NET can help in Windows programming.

The book takes the traditional approach by starting with the Hello Form window, then develops it into a photo album library. Chapter one uses the command line C# compiler to demonstrate the simplicity of Windows Forms programming without Visual Studio.NET. Chapter two introduces Visual Studio.NET and repeats the example from the previous chapter. This paves the way for a rich discussion of Windows programming topics in the subsequent chapters (menu, status bars, common file dialog, drawing and scrolling, dialog boxes, List controls and other Windows controls, toolbars and tips, Listview, Treeview, MDI, and data binding). The last chapter discusses some special tasks in Windows programming, including printing, timer, drag & drop and ActiveX controls.

The complete source codes can be downloaded from the book's web site in four ZIP files. They represent the three parts of the book and one image file. The three parts of the book include basic introduction to C# and Visual Stdio.NET (part one), basic Windows controls (part two), advanced Windows controls such as listview, treeview, MDI, data binding, and the miscellaneous topics in the last chapter (part three).

Each chapter also goes into specifics about how individual controls can be used in the photo album project. Each step in Visual Studio is tabulated in detail. Developers from any background should have no issue following the examples along with the discussion. I wish every technical book could follow the same pattern.

In summary, this book is an excellent discussion of Windows programming using the new Visual Studio.NET tool to create Window applications. It is like a new Petzold's book about Windows programming on the Microsoft .NET platform.

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