Literary Quandary

Here it is, in a nutshell: I’m having trouble selecting a textbook for my class and I’m looking for some Geek-feedback. The class is an Introduction to C#, for graduate-level CS students. I’m using it as an “overview” of the language, an introduction to Windows Forms and the .NET Framework, and I plan to offer a glimpse of Web Services, Mobile Forms and version 2 of C#. The problem that I face is the fact that most books either focus on C# as a language and ignore Windows Forms or they gloss over C# and focus only on Windows Forms. I wanted to try to avoid using two books – to save students’ money – but I fear I have no choice.

What I’ve looked at so far:

Programming Microsoft Windows with C#, by Petzold (MSPress) – dated – from early 2002 – but still very relevant

and one of the best beginning references that I know of. Front runner for the “Windows Forms reference”.

Programming in the Key of C#, by Petzold (MSPress) – this is the front runner for the C# language overview, seeing as it was designed to be a C# primer. Basically it takes the 50 pages of Chapter 1 from the book above and turns it into a full text on its own, which is why I like it.

Programming C# 3rd Edition, by Liberty (O’Reilly) – this looked pretty good, but I think it dives down too far into the language for this particular class. If I had a C# class and then a Windows Form class, this would be a great reference. It spends a lot of time in the language for 1/2 the book and then crams ASP.NET, Windows Forms, Web Forms and some other stuff into the other half.

C# by Dissection, by Pohl (A-W) – a great textbook, actually, for the language. No mention of Forms really, but the C# work is even better laid out than Petzold’s Key book. Problem I have with it is that it’s $71 at Amazon. That’s pretty fuckin’ expensive, if another text is required!

C# Concisely, by Bishop/Horspool (A-W) – sort of advanced text: just drops it all in your lap and expects you to figure it out on your own. I tried this approach for an HTML class and it wasn’t a great idea – students need a bit more guidance from a text… class notes don’t always get it done. Also, $68.

Windows Forms Programming in C#, by Sells (A-W) – I use this text for my own coding and know that it would be too much for a new programmer to wade into to… I was planning on using this one actually until I realized that it was a bit advanced.

Inside C#, Second Edition, by Archer/Whitechapel (MSPress) – Way too deep a dive into the language and not much for Windows Forms.

Pocket PC Network Programming, by Makofsky (A-W) – perfect for a mobile network programming class, but it would be too deep for a basic C# class. Still a handy reference!

So. My initial impressions are to go with both Petzold’s books since it would be about $90/retail or $60/Amazon or $51/Bookpool, but I wanted to check with all the Geeks that read my site: what do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.