The Journey Ahead

Programming Microsoft .NET tells a story鈥攖he story of Microsoft .NET. You can read it from beginning to end and learn in step-wise fashion how to write software that targets the .NET Framework. The book is also structured so that individual chapters stand alone. If you鈥檙e a seasoned .NET developer who simply wants to learn about multithreading, turn to Chapter 14 for a detailed treatment of threads and thread synchronization. If it鈥檚 custom ASP.NET server controls that float your boat, go straight to Chapter 8. The information you find there will help you get the job done with a minimum of wasted motion.

If you prefer the beginning-to-end approach, here鈥檚 what you鈥檒l encounter along the way. Part 1 of this book builds the foundation you need for understanding and profiting from subsequent chapters. You鈥檒l become acquainted with the Microsoft .NET Framework, which includes the common language runtime and the .NET Framework class library. You鈥檒l learn about the framework鈥檚 type system and about some of the more than 7,000 types included in the FCL. You鈥檒l also learn about one of the .NET Framework鈥檚 most important programming models: Windows Forms. Windows Forms lets you build GUI applications similar to the ones that are so prevalent in Windows today. Later on, in Chapter 15, you鈥檒l even learn how to pair Windows Forms with the .NET Framework鈥檚 remoting subsystem to build rich client apps that link to remote servers.

Part 2 is all about ASP.NET鈥攖he portion of the .NET Framework that helps you build Web applications and Web services. Web programming today is a black art built around HTML, DHTML, ASP, COM, and other loosely related technologies. Web programming tomorrow will be a science, thanks to ASP.NET. If you鈥檝e tried Web programming before and don鈥檛 like it because you don鈥檛 like dealing with slow, weakly typed scripting languages and find browser DOMs more trouble than they鈥檙e worth, ASP.NET might just change your mind. It鈥檚 a true second-generation technology for building applications that run on the Web. Moreover, it brings compiled code, strong type safety, and (to a degree) browser independence to Web programming. Chapters 5 through 11 cover ASP.NET in detail and impart the skills you need to write cutting-edge ASP.NET Web applications and Web services.

Part 3 rounds out the book with detailed coverage of selected portions of the .NET Framework. Topics include ADO.NET, which provides a database access API for managed applications; XML and all the classes that the FCL provides for dealing with XML data; threading, or how to write multithreaded code and coordinate the actions of concurrently running threads; and remoting, which provides a framework for writing closely coupled distributed applications. Take these chapters to heart and you鈥檒l be able to hold your own in conversations at .NET parties.