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.NET: The Gospels

.NET: The Gospels

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A friend looking to get into software development and eager to start his career asked what he should read to get started.  I don't think I've ever posted this list, so here it is.. The New Testament of .NET, starting with the Gospels.

  • If there is ONE book that you should read to be a great .NET programmer, it is Jeffrey Richter's Applied .NET Framework Programming.  If you know what a loop looks like in JavaScript, VB, C++, VB.NET, and C#, and you know what a foreach loop in C# is really doing... then you will completely get this book.  If not, go back and learn just those two concepts and then run to the store to buy this book.
  • If you want to be a great ASP.NET programmer, then buy Fritz Onion's Essential ASP.NET book.  Read it cover-to-cover, and work very hard to understand every concept presented.  If you understand this book, then ASMX web services will be a complete no-brainer, just some silly syntax to memorize.
  • If you want to be a great Windows Forms programmer, then buy Chris Sells' Windows Forms Programming book.  Read it cover-to-cover, and memorize this book.  If some of it didn't sink in, but go back and re-read it.  There is absolutely not a word wasted in this book.
  • If you want to be a great overall .NET programmer, read Don Box' Essential .NET Volume 1: The Common Language Runtime.  Honestly, you should read Richter's book first to get the most out of this book, and like the others you should not cheat yourself by skipping a single page.  It's just a shame that there was never a Volume II.

The rest of the New Testament of .NET includes the books of Troelsen, Liberty, Rammer, and the two books that comprise The Revelations (Lidin and Nathan, respectively).


  • Do you know, is Applied .NET Framework Programming updated for .NET 2.0?  It doesn't appear to be, and I am skeptical of reading books written prior to .NET 2.0 since they might present older approaches that can be done more efficiently using features introduced in 2.0.
  • Richter's book is now in a new edition called CLR via C#.  Yes, read it.

    I would also recommend Framework Design Guidelines.
  • Thanks, kfarmer, for that information.  I just ordered a copy of Richter's book.  Framework Design Guidelines is also on my wish list to get some time in the near future.
  • No The C# Programming Language (Hejlsberg / Wiltamuth / Golde)?  You heretic!
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  • You're missing "Programming ASP.NET Server Controls & Components." I think the majority of the information in that book cannot be found anywhere else.
  • You could start reading our recommendations in the "Code40 Summer School Team" document sent to...
  • Your post mentions books to read to help start a career in software development. So while Code Complete by Steve McConnell is not .Net specific I think it's a book every developer should read.
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