Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My "Effective C#" Review on Slashdot

I wrote a review for Bill Wagner's Effective C# and posted it to Slashdot. Slashdot actually gives a hoot about how reviews read. Tim Lord is a tough, but fair editor who helped me to polish up my review. He's a tougher editor than my wife, even, and I didn't think that was possible! The end result was a much stronger product and the editing process was actually enjoyable because Tim edited the structure of my review, not its voice or style. So the review's finally up on /. and the reaction from the crowd ranges from insulting to insightful to amusing. Insults include the normal Microsoft bashing from folks who can't get past C# being a Microsoft product and look at its many benefits. A couple folks also didn't like that I'd gotten the book for free as part of the Dayton .NET Developers Group, or that I'd tried to pull Wagner's company in on a consulting gig some years ago. I put forth both those points in a disclaimer section at the front of the review just to be clear about it. How many others are up front about similar situations? Give me a break. Amusing includes the folks who blew off Wagner's book as just another syntax or design book. A couple folks preferred works from Herb Schildt whose books, in my opinion, have numerous errors or bad practices and clearly demonstrate that one doesn't have to be a good programmer to write vast numbers of books. More folks said something along the lines of "Just get a design patterns book, that's all you need!" No, dudes, Wrong Conclusion. Insightful points included one fellow remarking I'd missed an important point by associating Wagner's book with Scott Meyer's Effective C++ which really is a seminal work for C++ developers. Thankfully there appear to be quite a few folks who understand that Effective C# isn't about syntax and it's certainly not just a replacement for design patterns. Syntax and pattern references have their required places on the bookshelf, but books like Wagner's are just as vital on the bookshelf. Good developers/engineers/geeks need to understand the ramifications of specific choices for the language they're working in. Wagner's book hits this on the head. I had a feel for what the crowd reaction on /. would be when I wrote the review. All the same, it's an amusing thing to see in reality!

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