Book Notes: .NET Framework Standard Library Annotated Reference by Brad Abrams

What could sound more boring than this? I am sure titles are coming to mind (but not many, to be sure), though you can stop counting. This book is actually a very valuable book to have and is more interesting than you might think.

This volume covers the Base Class Library and the Extended Numerics Library of the .NET Framework. The typical chapter will be about a single class, and will include the name of the class, a diagram showing where this class fits into the hierarchy of the Framework, a summary of what the class does/is used for, a listing of all constructors, properties, and methods in the class, “personal reflections” by various individuals involved with the development of the Framework, followed by a description and some example code. The most interesting material is the personal reflections section in each chapter, where comments range from interesting tidbits about how a class should be used to surprising statements like “This class goes down in the API design hall of shame” (Brad Abrams on System.ArgumentNullException). In general there is a good bit of useful material in the book and it would be a good addition to the bookshelf of any serious .NET coder. Kudos must also go the Addison Wesley for the binding, as it is very high quality and includes a nice bookmark.

But if for no other reason, buy this book because of the companion CD. Each chapter in the book will generally have one code example. The companion CD has a code example for every method for every class, which makes it an invaluable resource for code samples on some very commonly used classes. Take, for example, the ArrayList. The print version contains some useful information, but it is very limited in its usefulness, being only 5 pages long. The eBook entry on the ArrayList, however, is 91 pages in length, with each method given a summary, other info, and an example. That is a lot of information!

I highly recommend purchasing this volume, as it can be a valuable tool in programming. On a scale of 1 to 5, this book easily earns a 4, which may be a little low.