The Education of a Programmer (Me)

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Month: May, 2014

Book Review – Microsoft Visual C# 2013 Step by Step

I’ve recently been reading Microsoft Visual C# 2013 Step by Step by John Sharp. As usual, the disclaimer is that I received a copy of the book for free in return for the review. I’ve not linked to the book because I blog as part of O’Reilly’s reader review program and recently Microsoft Press books have been removed from their site. Out of courtesy to them, I am not going to link to Microsoft’s site for the book.

The book is aimed, as you read it, for programmers who are wanting to get a foundation in the basics of C#. As such, the book is a good reference work. It takes apart each of the different parts of the language and shows you how they are used in basic format. The first part of the book introduces you to the language, it’s absolute basics, and Visual Studio. The second part, getting the object model under control. Part 3 extends it, and finally, part four shows you how to build something simple for Windows 8.1; as that is Microsoft’s application focus currently.

Overall, Mr. Sharp does an excellent job describing the basics. If you’re a more experienced programmer wanting to see what’s new in the language, this isn’t really your book. But that’s not a negative. It’s not designed for that level of programmer. The examples are clear and concise. However, my one concern is that, as with most beginning books, what you’re learning along the way doesn’t build on itself until the final portion of the book when it all builds at once. However, if you’re going to be new to C# and you’re not coming from Java, this is certainly a good book to start with.


Decisions decisions

Well, I’ve had a few things on my mind recently. I’m still having the deployment problems. I don’t think anyone is surprised to hear that. What disappointed me was taking this to and to and having someone at the latter site patiently tell me this was an problem and that I should take it to Oracle for assistance. Really? This is a deployment problem. On my dev rig, this works perfectly, so I doubt that it is an Oracle failure.

OTOH, I also have been thinking. I like using VS2013 and all of the abilities I can find when I use it. However, I also know that I need to learn to use other text-editors to greater proficiency. I typically use either Sublime or Notepad++ when I’m at the office. They both work well and I’m used to them. However, I used to live in the GNU/Linux – Unix world before I started really trying to learn to program and now that I work as a programmer, I recognize my need to learn the basics, at least, of Vim and Emacs. It’s not really a want to, it’s a need to. It’s just part of programming life. I have worked with Vim a bit in the past as I thought it might be easier than Emacs, but I know future work I want to do will be better done in Emacs. So I need to make a concerted effort to get a good working knowledge of it.

The trick is being able to get over the learning curve and then figuring out what all I can do with it as I learn it. I know that, like anything else in programming, I have a lot of work ahead of me to get over the hump. Back to the mines….

The more I know…..

Well, the next part of the line is “The less I understand.” However, that really isn’t accurate right now. I am understanding more. Not necessarily getting where I want to go, but I’m understanding more. So far, in building the new admin section for the program suite, I’ve been able to get comfortable with a basic MVC program. Really it doesn’t have to do much, it does simple CRUD against the database and I have built custom tables for it to work with. There were a few neat tricks I’ve learned along the way which have made it much prettier. Now my headache is trying to get it deployed on IIS 7.5. I just can’t get it past showing me the front screen at the best I’ve got. Now the latest error is “System.BadImageFormatException: Could not load file or assembly ‘Oracle.DataAccess, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=89b483f429c47342’. This assembly was compiled for a different processor” which implies that, though I matched the dll to the version which is on the server and is in the GAC, it still is fighting me.

Oh well! Back to the drawing board.


Down the road, I want to start implementing more SOLID principles along with Unit Testing and Mocks. It will be more detailed, but just as much fun to learn….


Well, I had planned on writing at least once a week, starting in January and here we are in May and I’m writing for the first time in who knows how long. (Before anyone can answer, yes, I am aware of the fact that WordPress knows…) 

Life has been busy and that hasn’t always been a bad thing. I’m a newly minted A+ certified techie (Yay!) and have actually completed the next class behind that one. So now I’m a certified Web Design Professional; whatever that will mean to others. 

On the programming front, I was successful, finally, in getting ODP.NET working with EF 5 and have built a newer version of the Hot Calls program which seemed to run correctly in the first preliminary tests. Once I get this other project under control, I think I will test it further to see if I want to work it out and deploy it. Should it go the way I expect, I want to go ahead and blog about the progress and how I did it. I’m using MVC 5 to build the administration interface and it appears to be ready for deployment. I just need to figure out why I am getting 403 errors trying to attach to the web server to deploy it. Once I have that figured out, I want to get it running and decommission the old site. The current admin piece uses Razor syntax, but it isn’t as elegant or efficient as the MVC version.

My Good Lady Wife has had a few health problems of late, so I’ve been away from this beast to worry about her. She is getting stronger and back to her ornery self which makes me feel better. 

I’ve not abandoned my book reviews, just really haven’t had time for them and haven’t stressed about that.