In early 2001 I began using Microsoft?s .NET Framework for a project I was working on with a small startup company. Unfortunately, the winds changed and I found myself with more free time than I would normally hope for. So when Manning Publications asked me if I would contribute to a book on programming with the .NET Framework, I welcomed the idea.
As events unfolded, I found myself with some fairly strong opinions about how such a book should be organized, and offered up a proposal to write a solo book on programming Windows Forms applications. I have always enjoyed the book Programming Windows 95 with MFC by Jeff Prosise, so a book about developing Windows-based applications with the .NET Framework seemed like an obvious subject.
The core idea behind my proposal was to build a single application over the course of the book. The application would evolve to introduce each topic, so that by the end of the manuscript readers would have a robust application they had built from scratch. Manning Publications seemed to like the idea as well, and thus I suddenly found myself writing this book.
In approaching the task, I set out to achieve two objectives. The first was to provide ample coverage of most of the classes in the namespace. I have been frustrated by many books that do not provide robust examples for a topic. So I try to provide detailed examples that demonstrate how Windows Forms classes can be used and manipulated in real applications.
A second objective was to present advanced user interface topics such as tree views and drag and drop. While the book spends a good deal of time on fundamental classes, such as menus and buttons, more than a cursory glance is given to some of the more complex controls available for Windows-based programming.
The result of my proposal, these objectives, and a number of late nights is the book you see before you. I take a tutorial approach to application development by creating a common application throughout the book, and provide summaries of relevant classes and other topics that might be of further interest. Hopefully, this approach provides enough detail to demonstrate how Windows-based applications are put together with the .NET Framework, and yet offers additional information that should prove helpful as you develop and expand your own .NET projects.
While the book is not specifically about C# and Visual Studio .NET, the text does attempt to introduce and explain the syntax and usage of C# as well as the features and functionality of Visual Studio .NET. These topics are presented ?along-the-way? by introducing relevant concepts and features as they are used in the examples. An overview of C# is also provided in appendix A at the back of the book.