Author: Joseph & Ben Albahari
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2010
Aimed at: Occasional C# users
Cons: Occasionally too concise.
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
Why do you want a pocket reference in this day of instant online information?
This is a small-format pocket reference on C# and it mostly does what it promises. The question is, as always, why do you want a pocket reference in this day of instant online information? I read this particular guide from cover to cover in one sitting - something most readers won't do - and I have to say that it was a great way to make sure that I'd got C# into my head with no significant gaps. If you are an occasional C# user then this might be a good way to refresh your knowledge in double quick time.
It starts off looking at the very basic aspects of the language - keywords, variables, variable types, classes, methods and properties - and so on. All very carefully explained but here you find the shortcomings of any condensed presentation. Occasionally some advanced topic or other is mentioned in passing at the end of a section and you think "I didn't really understand that". A slightly worse position is when you don't really get the deeper implication of an idea because there isn't the space to emphasise it.
The book moves forward to more advanced topics - generics, delegates, events, lambdas, enumeration, operator overloading, extension methods... Then it makes an abrupt change of course and deals with Linq and Dynamic binding. Even though these are part of the language neither of them really seem to be part of the language in the same way that say generics are - it is probably just a matter time before they mature.
The book closes with a look at Attributes, Unsafe code, Compiler directives and XML documentation.
You need to know that while C# 4.0 is proclaimed on the cover, this deals with all C# facilities up to and including version 4. That is, you don't get a special section on what is new in version 4.
If you want a really good pocket guide to C# 4.0 then this is it - just buy it. But don't expect a deep discussion of complex and subtle topics, this is the minimum presentation of what you need to know.