Visual Studio C# Step by Step 2012 – Final thoughts

So yeah, I am now finalizing most of my book reviews I started a while back and this one is definitely on my list of to-do’s. This book is a nice overview of Visual Studio 2012 and you may learn a thing or two if you haven’t used a compiler in a while, which was my case. As to be expected of most Microsoft’s books this one uses some of the same standardized materials of previous books I have seen before, and despite my relative inexperience in the subject I found that to be distracting.

Update: Here is a video review I made in case you didn’t want to actually read this entire review……

This step by step book is easy to follow, hence the name, however, it is also a bit predictable. It is nice that the author made the subject easy to swallow but clearly it seems as if he was constrained by the editors at O’Reilly. There are many things that are not covered in this book and that is a shame.

What is not covered extensively, or even just a little bit, is the use of debugging tools provided by Microsoft. Since most programmers may spend most of their time debugging their code, or someone else’s it is imperative that this be covered. Sadly, I found this to be a sore point in many Step by Step books I have read in the past. The real practical application of real world problems is never adequately covered but perhaps I am being a bit too harsh.

To learn some more aspects that weren’t covered in this book I took the time to download and examine the code of some active, actually highly active, open source programs. This is something I strongly encourage anyone who wishes to learn how to code to do because that way you can see an actual real world program and how others approach problems.

If you want to test your knowledge of how to write some code than creating some small programs that solve some of your problems is the way to go. Of course you are going to run into problems and you may not know everything but that is kind of the point. It is the exploration of how to find out solutions to your problems that help you later on discover new things and really know and understand the language you wish to learn.

To be honest I am using Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate edition to test out this book. It is bit too overpowered in my opinion and you will probably not need something so powerful when you are just trying to code something up at your workplace.

Would I recommend you buy this book? Actually yes if you happen to have not touched a compiler in about 8 years, such as myself, than this book is a nice refresher course. If you plan on going for some certifications than this book shouldn’t be used to prep for that nor should you use this book to really prep you for your work.
If you wish to continue your training on C# coding than there are of course other books on the subject that may help you out. If you happen to have experience with any of the coding languages in your job then learning C# shouldn’t be too difficult, after all, there are not that many variations between all of the languages on the market.
A C# algorithms book may come in handy or some sort of C# recipes book if you want some practical applications of these coding conventions. There are many tutorials on C# you can find online and I highly recommend you check them out. The Microsoft Virtual Academy is a place where you may learn a thing or two and you may discover some other aspects of programming that may pique your interest.

As well those folks at the MSDN website are kind enough to publish small tutorials in their magazine and blogs and I find this to be another great resource to pick up something new. If you want to actually learn a new programming language you just have to go out and start experimenting, there really is no other way.