Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book review: CLR via C# by Jeffrey Richter, 4e

There are many books on C#. But there are few on the CLR, the runtime that runs compiled C# code as well as some lesser-known languages like F# and languages I wish were lesser known like Visual Basic.

CLR via C# takes you on a tour of the entirety of CLR. The book is not meant as casual reading. It covers a lot of material and is quite in depth.

I've written a few rather basic WPF-based programs in C#, but I don't yet have a significant interest in the CLR. This book did not perk up my interest in the CLR. I tried reading this book from the beginning, but soon realized that it's much more suitable as a reference. You experience a problem, decide to learn all you can about an area of the CLR -- trust that this book will have enough information. As a casual C# programmer, I have learned some new things from this book, but only as far as I've forced myself to read. That's my biggest problem with the book; even for a deeply technological book, it doesn't appear to try to motivate the reading. "Here's a firehose; drink up." Putting it down evoked a sense of relief.

So, get the book if you have a specific CLR-related goal in mind, or if the CLR is your primary way of making a living. For example, if you want to learn everything about CLR garbage collection, this book will tell you.

If you're a casual C# developer and just want to understand the CLR better, a few MSDN articles may be more appropriate; this book can too easily become too much.

(Thanks to O'Reilly for providing the ebook for review.)