From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 01:09:39 Pacific Time, Tuesday, 22 February 2005.

Understanding .NET: A Tutorial and Analysis

   by David Chappell

    Addison-Wesley Professional
    31 January, 2002


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Editorial description(s):

From Library Journal
Guides to Microsoft's .NET technologies abound (see Computer Media, LJ 4/1/01), but most focus on only one piece of the colossus. Chappell's book is different because it offers a lucid overview of every aspect of .NET. Intended for developers and technology managers but accessible to lay readers, it describes how existing languages and technologies (such as ASP) are transformed in the .NET environment and explains the reasoning behind creating new languages such as C#. Touchy topics like the privacy issues created by .NET My Services and .NET's seeming similarity to Java are also squarely addressed. Highly recommended for all libraries.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Book News, Inc.
The .NET platform represents the biggest single set of new technologies that Microsoft has ever presented to its technical customers. This guide for students, developers and technical managers provides a broad overview of the major .NET technologies and describes how they work together. Coverage includes, for example, the Common Language Runtime (CLR), accessing Web services using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and the .NET Framework class library.Copyright © 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Book Info
Offers developers and technical managers a concise guide to the new landscape of Windows development. The book's independent perspective and straightforward descriptions make clear both the how the .NET technologies work and how they can be used. Softcover.

From the Back Cover

Microsoft's .NET is a collection of new technologies that are revolutionizing Windows-based software development. A major theme of .NET is the idea of Web services, allowing software to communicate directly with other software using Internet technologies. The .NET Framework and Visual Studio.NET, two more core aspects of this initiative, provide a multi-language environment in which developers can create Web services and other kinds of applications. .NET My Services, yet another aspect of .NET, offers a new kind of platform for creating a new class of applications. Taken as a whole, the .NET technologies will change the way nearly every Windows application is built.

Understanding .NET: A Tutorial and Analysis offers developers and technical managers a concise guide to the new landscape of Windows development. Margin notes, detailed diagrams, and lucid writing make this book easy to navigate and to read, while analysis sections explore controversial issues and address common concerns. The book's independent perspective and straightforward descriptions make clear both how the .NET technologies work and how they can be used.

Key topics include:

Who This Book Is For

.NET is huge. There will be plenty of books that provide detailed examinations of each facet of this enormous technology crystal, plenty of books with hardcore, hands-on information. This isn’t one of those books. I believe strongly that understanding .NET as a whole is essential before delving more deeply into any single part of the technology. Accordingly, my goal here is to provide a broad overview of the major .NET technologies. And because one of the greatest strengths of this family of software and services is the way one part exploits another, this book also tries to show how those technologies fit together.

If you’re looking for a big-picture introduction and a perspective on the whole of .NET, this book is for you. Whether you’re a developer just getting started with .NET, a technical manager who needs to make decisions about these technologies, or a student seeing some of these ideas for the first time, this book should be a useful guide. There is enough detail here to satisfy many people completely, while others will use this book as a stepping-stone to more specific knowledge. In any case, I hope the book’s organization and content make it easier for you to come to grips with this mass of technology.

Fact and Opinion

Grasping a new technology requires learning the fundamentals. What are its main parts? How do they work? How do they fit together? But really understanding a technology requires more than this. You need to know not just how things work but also why they’re important, how they compare with what’s gone before, and what might happen next.

This book provides all of these things. In the text itself, I’ve tried hard to remain strictly tutorial, focusing solely on describing what .NET is. In the analysis boxes, I give some broader perspective on various aspects of this technology. In every case, the analysis expresses my view of why things are the way they are or what the future is likely to hold. By separating the objective and the subjective, I hope to make it easier for you to distinguish between the two. By providing opinion as well as fact, I hope to make this book both more interesting and more enlightening.


If you’ve ever written a book, you know how much help you get from other people. If you haven’t, well, trust me: Without these people’s assistance, this book would be substantially less than it is. I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to Bob Beauchemin, Keith Brown, Cori Day, Ted Demopoulos, Bill Estrem, Jeannine Gailey, Kit George, Greg Hack, Rob Howard, Maxim Loukianov, Juval Löwy, Peter McKiernan, Yahya H. Mirza, John D. Mitchell, Christophe Nassare, Eric Newcomer, David Sceppa, Aaron Skonnard, and Mike Woodring for reading, commenting on, and often correcting various parts of this book. I’d like to single out Richard Monson-Haefel, a strong technologist and fine writer, who read and commented intelligently o n every chapter.

The attendees in the many .NET seminars I’ve presented have also contributed mightily to making this book better. By letting me practice my explanations, they helped me figure out which paths to understanding .NET worked. By asking insightful questions, they provided the inspiration for many of the analysis boxes scattered throughout this book.

Many people at Addison-Wesley also deserve my profound thanks. Without Kristin Weinberger, neither the Independent Technology Guide
series nor this book would exist. Without Stephane Thomas, I would never have finished this project. Without Cindy Kogut, my text would have been significantly less clear. And without Katie Noyes, the beautiful cover design wouldn’t have been created.

I’d also like to thank my good friends Jim and Judy Moffitt for a hand-delivered care package of chocolate chip cookies that arrived just when I needed it most. And finally, I owe all manner of things to Diana Catignani, without whom my life would be so very much poorer.

David Chappell
December 2001


Reader review(s):

Great introduction to .NET for the professional developer, February 28, 2002
Having worked with the .NET platform since the pre-beta, I was curious to see what kind of overview David Chappell would bring to the table. I found this book to be an excellent introduction to the important changes that .NET brings, particularly geared to the professional developer. The book is much more technical than I expected, but Chappell's writing style is clear and easy to follow even on difficult concepts.

This is not a "how-to-code" book, although there are code examples here and there. Instead, it serves basically 2 purposes. One, it introduces the new features and capabilities that the .NET framework brings to development. Two, it speaks to the paradigm shift for a developer to move from a Windows DNA (VB 6, C++) method of programming to programming in .NET.

There are several things I really liked about his book. One, there are many margin notes that cover the basic idea of each paragraph or section, making it easy to skim and find relevant information, especially for someone in more of a management role. Two, there are a number of "side-note" articles that further explain certain concepts or talk about certain frequently asked questions, such as "VB.NET or C#," "Is ASP.NET too hard?" or the inevitable comparisons to Java. In fact this book does an excellent job at bringing up similarities and differences between the .NET framework and Java. It is the author's view that it is beneficial to the development community, assuming .NET catches on, to have 2 strong platforms competing and making each other better.

Overall, this book is right up there with what I feel is the best VB migration book (Moving to VB.NET by Appleman) in providing a clear roadmap to the many developers taking the plunge into .NET. It is much more broad in scope, but strikes a good balance between technical information, commentary, and a teaching spirit. If you or your team is starting to look at the .NET framework and want to know what you are getting into, this is a great place to start.

Need to sell .NET to your manager?, March 4, 2002
Back in the 90's, David Chappell wrote one of the Microsoft classics, Understanding ActiveX and OLE. That book marked David as an author who can communicate complicated topics in an organized and understandable form. When I heard that he had created a similar attempt for .NET, I had to check it out.

This book is an explanation of key tenets of .NET and how the .NET technologies are related. The text is also mixed with straight shooting opinions, real-world application and analysis, and comparisons to other competitive computing environments. If you have had a curiosity about something in .NET, David probably addresses it in one of the analysis sections. The Microsoft camp and the Java camp alike will appreciate David's frankness as he tells it like it is, whether a Microsoft weakness or strength.

This book should be intended for:
* Those who need an overview of .NET like technical managers.
* Non-Microsoft developers who want to see what all the fuss is about.

If you want to score some points with your boss, provide this book as it is destined to be the next technical manager classic. What David did for COM, he has now done for .NET.

A MUST-HAVE for people learning .NET Technology, March 18, 2003
I needed to learn the .NET architecture and programming languages. I wanted to learn about the .NET architecture before learning the languages, so I read this book first. As the title in my review states, this is a MUST HAVE book for people learning .NET.

This book explains how the .NET architecture works in a simple to understand manner. An added feature of this book is the "extra asides" in each chapter discussing topics that are important to IT professionals, such as "Java Bytecode versus MSIL", "Why Enterprise Servers are not .NET", and "Making .NET Cross-platform". This is the kind of information an IT professional needs when one is trying to sell a .NET solution to an IT manager or executive whose only exposure to technology is what s/he saw on "Tech TV". It is also the kind of information that assists the IT professional who works on other platforms/languages (mainly Java programmers) with understanding .NET in relation to what one does.

Also, I believe that if a programmer/software engineer new to .NET understands the architecture, then the programmer/software engineer will have an easier time with learning and using the .NET languages (Well, I find that to be true in my case). This book will give the new .NET developer or engineer a good foundation to allow one to make informed decisions when designing a .NET application.

As an IT professional and adjunct university professor, I would highly recommend this book to IT professionals learning .NET, and I would highly recommend this book as a textbook to be used in a school teaching .NET in their curriculum.

Best Technical Overview of .NET to date, September 8, 2002
If every technical book was written by Chappell there would be no 'complex' topics or 'hard to grasp' concepts. Some people are born with the gift of good communication and he is certainly one of them. Almost every paragraph is accompanied by a margin note summarizing it, which is very helpful for navigating or even skipping sections that are not of interest. The 'grey' analysis boxes are the author's way of giving us his valuable opinion rather than pure fact. I really do wish this was the first book I had read on .NET.

The 'Tutorial and Analysis' starts by putting .NET in context and defining the .NET Framework, Visual Studio.NET, the .NET servers and Web Services amongst other terms/concepts. This first chapter is also effectively an overview of the 6 chapters that follow it: Web Services, CLR, languages, ADO.NET, ASP.NET and the best overview of the huge .NET Framework Class Library I have come across. There are simple code examples demonstrating the theory but of course they are just "tasters" and further books for each major area are required in order to start coding for real.

Technical managers and newbies will be mad not to get their hands on this book; however for those with hands-on experience the benefit is there only if the big picture is still not clear.

An excellent book!, February 22, 2002
David Chappell is one of the best technical authors today and this is probably his best book. It's an excellent overview of.NET that is both objective and interesting to read.

NET is a critically important to Microsoft professionals. Unfortunately, it's also a huge platform that can be daunting and downright confusing. Chappell's .NET book cuts right through Microsoft's marketing dribble and explains exactly what the platform is and why its important. The book provides enough technical depth to give you a good understanding of the .NET platform without getting lost in what is obviously a very complex set of technologies.

As an architect, developer, and author I give this book my highest recommendation. If you are trying to get your fingers around the .NET platform, this is the book you should read.

.NET in a Nutshell. What more could you ask!, May 22, 2002
If you looking for an easy to read, a quick, and concise primer on Microsoft's .NET there is no need to look anywhere else. Just a quick scan of the table of contents convinced me to take the plunge and purchase the book. Before reading this book, I had read some of the white papers on Microsoft's web site. Wow, was that tough reading!! Some of the information was good and yet it was really too raw to be an "easy read". I was looking for something that would begin to put some of my .NET puzzle pieces together. After reading David Chappell's book I now have the puzzle together with a nice clear picture. I liked the balance he gives to the treatment of .NET vs. Java. He values both environments and understands the competition between both can only benefit software development going forward. I really liked the margin notes on each page of the book they are a real aid to capturing the main points from the adjoining paragraphs. Well, still thinking about whether to buy the book. If you consider your time valuable you will be repaid many times over because you have in a very concise and time sensitive treatment, .NET in a "nutshell". You can't get much smaller than that!

Understanding .Net A Tutorial and Analysis, February 26, 2002
I am very pleased to highly recommend "Understanding .Net A Tutorial and Analysis".

To quote the author ".Net is Huge." Which, as a software developer, was my first impression too!

This book successfully addresses the first two .Net issues. What is it? Where do you start exploring?

"Understanding" is not a code intensive cookbook describing the "how to's" of the .Net system. "Understanding" does tackle the technical management issues from a general overview to a very detailed bullet by bullet explanation of the major components, their purpose and how they fit into the bigger .Net picture.

Most concepts are summarized on margin notes and major concepts are analyzed as a half and full page breakout discussions designed to put the concept in perspective. This technique makes the book true to its title and an interesting read.

If your company is considering .Net buy an extra copy for your boss.

Pat Tormey PE
Foursquare Solutions Inc.

Another fine job from Chappell, February 18, 2002
It takes a lot of knowledge, insight, and hard work to explain something this complicated without either losing the forest for the trees, or producing a content-free summary. Chappell is a master at explaining Microsoft's architectures so they seem coherent and manageable, if not exactly simple and straightforward. Unlike his earlier books, this one's not from Microsoft Press, and the reason undoubtedly was the editorial independence demanded by the author. A number of digs and jabs are directed at Microsoft (the corporation and its business practices, not the producer of this technology, which he generally admires), especially in the shaded sidebars. I must admit this greatly added to my enjoyment of the book.

Microsoft marketing materials..., February 15, 2002
Although Chappell did an excellent job of presenting technical concepts, after awhile I got the impression I was reading a Microsoft press release rather than an objective analysis of .NET. He seemed very uncritical of Microsoft's attempt to reinvent the Internet in their own image. There was little discussion of .NET's technical shortcomings, its potential impact on the developer community, nor of its corporate context: Namely, Microsoft's history of releasing bug-ridden, badly-planned software that later proves to have gaping security holes.

Particularly amusing was Chapter 8's discussion of the My.NET architecture. Chappell raises the question of what would keep Microsoft from accessing and using Passport customer data without permission. His only answer is basically, "Well, they wouldn't DO that. They'd get in trouble." Yeah, right...

Wealth of information every .NET developer needs to know, February 8, 2003
The .NET Framework is not just another new technology; it is an entirely revolutionary view of the world of software development. And it comprises such an incredibly vast body of knowledge that one or two fat books will not make anyone well versed. Ultimately, mastering this subject will require nothing less than a small library. David Chappell's Understanding .NET is an excellent choice as a master volume and foundation for this library--as a sort of glue that will hold it all together. In this book every major area of .NET is probed and placed in context, and Chappell's writing style is extremely succinct and focused. I highly recommend this book to every software developer and manager.

Understanding .NET provides an objective and comprehensive overview of .NET, including chapters on how Web Services work, functionality of the Common Runtime Language, comparisons between .NET programming languages, how to work with the Class Library, new features of ADO.NET and ASP.NET, a description of .NET My Services, and how all of these parts fit together.

Most obviously, this book is a perfect starting point for developers who may be skilled in DNA or some other architecture but new to .NET. The familiar terminology and intelligent references provide engaging, informative reading, and there is enough density and new information to make every paragraph worth reading. This is not one of those easy-listening books where the reader is advised in the preface to skip the first three chapters.

This book also has much to offer developers who may have been working with .NET for some time but somehow missed the beginning of the movie. When plunging into a particular area of a new technology, especially one as vast as .NET, it is quite easy to never be completely clear about the main plot. By placing each major aspect of .NET clearly in context Chappell enables developers to back off for a moment to see the big picture, quite likely leading to exploration of new areas and a more comprehensive "understanding" of the environment.

For technical managers who want a clear understanding of the workings of the .NET Framework but naturally can't afford to make a career out of the details, Understanding .NET is a must read. This is perhaps as far into the details as a manager needs to go, but it should be mandatory material for any technical manager worth his or her salt. Because of Chappell's focused writing style, this book is even suitable for a layperson who needs to be a step ahead.

Understanding .NET is no sissy book, and at the same time it's not rocket science. It is an aptly titled volume with a wealth of information that everyone involved with .NET needs to know. --Review by David A.

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