Archive for category Fluent

Fluent C# Review : Chapter Three

I am reviewing an advanced copy of the book Fluent C# by noted .NET author Rebecca Riordan.

My focus today will be on chapter three. Chapter three picks up where chapter two left off  in describing the Visual Studio environment. It does an excellent job of reviewing the more intricate details of Visual Studio. Again, it ignores winforms and focuses on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) forms and design editor. Encouraging the reader to customize the interface for themselves, it shows how to do that. I certainly have not seen that done before so early on in the process and in such an easygoing manner. It ends the first section explaining what Intellisense is. Later on in this chapter it goes into how members are listed. An excellent tutorial on refactoring and such is also discussed. It’s possible this discussion could have waited a bit until later on but it still works here.

We then move on to cover what a Visual Studio solution and project is and what it contains including a very helpful diagram, as they seem to always do in this book, explaining what the relationship between the various items in a Visual Studio solution and project are.

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The next section introduces designer and source files, resources and your design documents. Covering how to add items to a solution or project comes next along with a graphical and step by step process of how to modify project properties. Changing the icon and window property is one such example they cover. Then we build the application to see the results of the changes.

Further customization of the Visual Studio environment is then discussed in the usual graphical and step by step nature this book is so good at.

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Overall I wish I had had a book like this when I first started using Visual Studio so many eons ago!

The next chapter gets into debugging and deploying an application. Moving right along the user shouldn’t be overwhelmed with this patient, easy going manner of teaching.

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Fluent C# Review : Chapter Two

I am reviewing an advanced copy of the book Fluent C# by noted .NET author Rebecca Riordan.

My focus today will be on Chapter Two. Chapter Two gets into some of the nuts and bolts of the .NET Framework and writes the initial “Hello World” application that these beginner books almost always do. They begin by putting up a very nice illustration of how .NET works. Truly I have not seen it explained in such a way before!

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They give you a little quiz on what you picked up.

Then there is an explanation of why the .NET Framework is a better way to go than say a Visual Basic 6 way of thinking. I am not sure that to a beginner programmer they understand or need to know any of this. But they certainly make good points. Being an old VB6 and VBA programmer myself I certainly could appreciate what was said.

Then they proceed into building the first application. But there is a little twist. Riordan chooses to not even bother with winforms and instead chooses to plow right into a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application. At first the choice seemed odd to me. But as I considered it this makes sense. WPF is the future. Winforms is dying. It’s a sad truth but it is what it is.

Riordan walks you through the process of creating a WPF application in Visual Studio 2010 while beautifully illustrating how to do that task.

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Then the first example of modifying a property in the WPF gui is introduced. Really it is quite well done. The appropriate message box appears saying “hello world!” is displayed. She tells the user to take a break and congratulates them on their first application. She then displays and explains the code editor in the same easy going manner. Another note that often goes on through out this book she often gives the novice programmer fun little facts to digest, so as to have fun while learning. Imagine that! C# learning being made fun!

We will be covering Chapter Three in the next entry where the Visual Studio interface will be reviewed in more detail.

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Fluent C# Review : Chapter One

I am reviewing an advanced copy of the book Fluent C# by noted .NET author Rebecca Riordan.

My focus today will be on Chapter One. Chapter One opens with an introduction to what application development is. It takes the reader through the simple problem of a messy paper stack and through a picture flow chart attempts to show the reader how the problem is to be solved and equate it with the same process of writing a windows application. It is unlike anything you have ever seen in a development book! But it is also one of the most clear renderings of the application process that I have seen.

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They introduce you to the “clients” that are to appear throughout the book, two cooks named Neil and Gordon. (Incidentally the editor happens to be named Neil….coincidence? I think not!). It encourages you to take breaks at certain strategic points throughout the book as well. Neil and Gordon hand out their requirements and Riordan helps you get through it. She even begins the process of explaining the Agile software development methodology. It then introduces UML (Unified Modeling Language) and why it should be used. That and Agile are actually advanced topics perhaps left to a later time but I get why they do it here.

In the first project the book attempts to take you down the path of creating your requirements but before you see a single line of code you see the requirements explained in an easy to understand real life example. Then before you know it you have been introduced to database schemas, class diagrams and screen layout concepts all really done in a beautifully illustrated way. Extremely well done!

When there are words that need to be defined they are set out like so, so that they stand out from the rest of the page (see example below). Again hard to miss and it really catches the eye.

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It goes into JIT (Just in Time Debugging) and the CLR (common language runtime) explaining what it is and how it is used. Of course at the end there is the obligatory review of the chapter. The only difference is this one is beautifully illustrated.

I don’t know about you but I am certainly looking forward to chapter two as we get more into the nuts and bolts of what is happening.

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Fluent C# Review: The Intro

I have received an advanced copy of  the book Fluent C# by noted .NET author Rebecca Riordan. Since this blog is often about what I am doing, I am going to give you all an inside look at what I feel is the most innovative and groundbreaking method of teaching programing skills that I have seen come along in quite some time. I intend to go chapter by chapter reviewing the concepts of what the book is teaching.

The first thing that grabs you is the cover of the book. It is not your typical programming book cover. It is….almost artsy and fun.

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No computer like lettering or images of how powerful you can become. It makes you want to smile. At first I didn’t like it at all. It doesn’t look feel or look like what a “computer book” should to me or at least what I would expect. As the book began I was stunned. I have never seen a computer programming book look like so!

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The images really just jump off the page at you and grab your attention. I am used to a text learning process. So this was going to be something new. But as I progressed to the end of this chapter I really began to feel like this might be a new way to learn.

I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of the author of Fluent C#. She said that Fluent C# was “an introduction development in the C# language with .NET and WPF, aimed at beginning programmers” and that Fluent C# was different than other C# tutorials because of

“1) learn the way your brain learns, by trial & error rather than lecture and dictation
2) heavy use of graphics appeals to all the senses, making it easier to remember
3) concepts first, details later, just the way the brain works”

All in all I think I am going to find this book an interesting read and definitely a new way to learn. I am very much looking forward to it.

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