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Head First C#

Book Description

Do you want to learn C#? Programmers around the world have learnedthat C# lets them design great-looking programs and build themfast. With C#, you ve got a powerful programming language and avaluable tool at your fingertips. And with the Visual Studio IDE,you ll never have to spend hours writing obscure code just to get abutton working. C#, Visual Studio and .NET take care of thegrunt-work, and let you focus on the interesting parts of gettingyour programs written. Sound appealing?Unlike other C# books, which just show you examples and expect youto just memorize them and move on, Head First C# gets youwriting code from the beginning. You're given the tools you need,and then you're guided through fun and engaging programmingprojects. You'll build programs to play a card game, explore ahouse, and help lazy programmers manage their sick day excuses. Butit's not all fun and games: you'll build business applications too,like a contact database and a program to help a party plannerestimate her dinner parties. You'll build a dungeon role-playinggame and a fully animated, colorful simulation of a beehive. And bythe end of the book, you'll build a fast-paced, full-featured retroInvaders arcade game.Make no mistake: by the time you're done with Head FirstC#, you'll be able to build full-scale, complex, and highlyvisual programs. And you'll have all of the C# tools you need totackle almost any programming problem that comes your way.Head First C# is built for your brain, using therevolutionary approach that was pioneered by the highly acclaimedand popular Head First series. You'll never get that bored, "eyesglazed over" feeling from Head First C#, because it guidesyou through one challenging project after another until, by the endof the book, you're a C# rock star!Here's what you'll learn:

  • Core C# programming concepts

  • How to use the Visual Studio 2008 IDE to build, debug and runyour programs

  • Important .NET 3.5 features, including genericcollections, Windows forms, GDI+ graphics, streams, serializationand more

  • Using object oriented programming concepts to help you buildwell-designed programs

  • How to build robust applications with good error handling

  • The latest C# 3.0 features, including LINQ, object andcollection initializers, automatic properties, extension methodsand more

  • Beginning programmers who want to learn programming from theground up

  • More advanced programmers who are proficient in anotherlanguage (like Visual Basic, Java, SQL, FoxPro) and want to add C#to their toolbox

  • Programmers who understand basic C# syntax, but are stilllooking to get a handle on how objects work

  • Anyone who's tried to learn C#, but had to deal with books fullof dull examples and nothing but boring console applications

  • Lots of people who just want to learn how to build coolgames!

  • Throughout the book, you'll confront and conquer advanced C#concepts. Some of the most mysterious ideas are demystified andexplained with clear examples: how Unicode works, events anddelegates, references versus value types, the stack versus theheap, what's really going on with garbage collection, andmore.Thousands of readers have learned C# using this innovative book,including:Head First C# is built to work with any version of Visual Studio2008, including the free express edition. (It can also can be usedwith any version of Visual Studio 2005.)

    Table of Contents

    1. Dedication
    2. Special Upgrade Offer
    3. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
    4. Advance Praise for Head First C#
    5. Praise for other Head First books
    7. How to Use this Book: Intro
      1. Who is this book for?
      2. Who should probably back away from this book?
      3. We know what you’re thinking.
      4. And we know what your brain is thinking.
      5. Metacognition: thinking about thinking
      6. Here’s what WE did:
      7. Here’s what YOU can do to bend your brain into submission
      8. What you need for this book:
      9. Read me
      10. The technical review team
        1. Technical Reviewers:
      11. Acknowledgments
      12. Safari® Books Online
    8. 1. Get Productive With c#: Visual Applications, in 10 minutes or less
      1. Why you should learn C#
        1. Here’s what the IDE automates for you...
        2. What you get with Visual Studio and C#...
      2. C# and the Visual Studio IDE make lots of things easy
      3. Help the CEO go paperless
      4. Get to know your users’ needs before you start building your program
      5. Here’s what you’re going to build
      6. What you do in Visual Studio...
      7. What Visual Studio does for you...
      8. Develop the user interface
      9. Visual Studio, behind the scenes
      10. Add to the auto-generated code
      11. You can already run your application
      12. Where are my files?
      13. Here’s what we’ve done so far
      14. We need a database to store our information
      15. The IDE created a database
      16. SQL is its own language
      17. Creating the table for the Contact List
      18. The blanks on contact card are columns in our People table
      19. Finish building the table
      20. Diagram your data
      21. Insert your card data into the database
      22. Connect your form to your database objects with a data source
      23. Add database-driven controls to your form
      24. Good programs are intuitive to use
      25. Test drive
        1. The IDE builds first, then runs.
      26. How to turn YOUR application into EVERYONE’S application
      27. Give your users the application
      28. You built a complete data-driven application
      29. You built a complete data-driven application
      30. CSharpcross
      31. CSharpcross Solution
    9. 2. It’s All Just Code: Under the Hood
      1. When you’re doing this...
      2. ...the IDE does this
      3. Where programs come from
        1. Every program starts out as source code files
        2. The .NET Framework gives you the right tools for the job
        3. Build the program to create an executable
        4. Your program runs inside the CLR
      4. The IDE helps you code
      5. When you change things in the IDE, you’re also changing your code
        1. Wait, wait! What did that say?
      6. Anatomy of a program
        1. Let’s take a closer look at your code
      7. Your program knows where to start
      8. You can change your program’s entry point
        1. So what happened?
      9. Two classes can be in the same namespace
      10. Your programs use variables to work with data
        1. Declare your variables
        2. Variables vary
        3. You have to assign values to variables before you use them
        4. A few useful types
      11. C# uses familiar math symbols
      12. Loops perform an action over and over again
        1. Use a code snippet to write simple for loops
      13. Time to start coding
        1. Add statements to show a message
      14. if/else statements make decisions
      15. Set up conditions and see if they’re true
        1. Use logical operators to check conditions
        2. Set a variable and then check its value
        3. Add another conditional test
        4. Add loops to your program
      16. Csharpcross
      17. Csharpcross Solution
    10. 3. Objects: Get Oriented!: Making Code Make Sense
      1. How Mike thinks about his problems
      2. How Mike’s car navigation system thinks about his problems
      3. Mike’s Navigator class has methods to set and modify routes
        1. Some methods have a return value
      4. Use what you’ve learned to build a simple application
      5. Mike gets an idea
        1. He could create three different Navigator classes...
      6. Mike can use objects to solve his problem
      7. You use a class to build an object
        1. An object gets its methods from its class
      8. When you create a new object from a class, it’s called an instance of that class.
      9. A better solution... brought to you by objects!
      10. An instance uses fields to keep track of things
        1. Methods are what an object does. Fields are what the object knows.
      11. Let’s create some instances!
      12. Thanks for the memory
      13. What’s on your program’s mind
      14. You can use class and method names to make your code intuitive
      15. Give your classes a natural structure
        1. Let’s build a class diagram
      16. Class diagrams help you organize your classes so they make sense
      17. Build a class to work with some guys
      18. Create a project for your guys
      19. Build a form to interact with the guys
      20. There’s an even easier way to initialize objects
      21. A few ideas for designing intuitive classes
      22. Objectcross
      23. Objectcross Solution
    11. 4. Types and References: It’s 10:00. Do you know where your data is?
      1. The variable’s type determines what kind of data it can store
      2. A variable is like a data to-go cup
      3. 10 pounds of data in a 5 pound bag
      4. Even when a number is the right size, you can’t just assign it to any variable
        1. So what happened?
      5. When you cast a value that’s too big, C# will adjust it automatically
      6. C# does some casting automatically
      7. When you call a method, the variables must match the types of the parameters
      8. Combining = with an operator
      9. Objects use variables, too
      10. Refer to your objects with reference variables
      11. References are like labels for your object
      12. If there aren’t any more references, your object gets garbage collected
      13. Typecross
      14. Multiple references and their side effects
      15. Two references means TWO ways to change an object’s data ways to change an object’s data
      16. A special case: arrays
        1. Use each element in an array like it is a normal variable
      17. Arrays can contain a bunch of reference variables, too
      18. Welcome to Sloppy Joe’s Budget House o’ Discount Sandwiches!
      19. Objects use references to talk to each other
      20. Where no object has gone before
      21. Typecross Solution
    12. I. C# Lab A Day at the Races
      1. 5. Encapsulation: Keep your privates... private
        1. Kathleen is an event planner
        2. What does the estimator do?
        3. Kathleen’s Test Drive
        4. Each option should be calculated individually
        5. It’s easy to accidentally misuse your objects
        6. Encapsulation means keeping some of the data in a class private
        7. Use encapsulation to control access to your class’s methods and fields
        8. But is the realName field REALLY protected?
        9. Private fields and methods can only be accessed from inside the class
        10. A few ideas for encapsulating classes
        11. Encapsulation keeps your data pristine
          1. A quick example of encapsulation
        12. Properties make encapsulation easier
        13. Build an application to test the Farmer class
        14. Use automatic properties to finish the class
          1. Fully encapsulate the Farmer class
        15. What if we want to change the feed multiplier?
        16. Use a constructor to initialize private fields
      2. 6. Inheritance: Your object’s family tree
        1. Kathleen does birthday parties, too
        2. We need a BirthdayParty class
          1. Here’s what we need to do:
        3. One more thing... can you add a $100 fee for parties over 12?
        4. When your classes use inheritance, you only need to write your code once
          1. Dinner parties and birthday parties are both parties
        5. Build up your class model by starting general and getting more specific
        6. How would you design a zoo simulator?
        7. Use inheritance to avoid duplicate code in subclasses
        8. Different animals make different noises
          1. Think about what you need to override
        9. Think about how to group the animals
        10. Create the class hierarchy
        11. Every subclass extends its base class
          1. C# always calls the most specific method
        12. Use a colon to inherit from a base class
        13. We know that inheritance adds the base class fields, properties, and methods to the subclass...
          1. ... but some birds don’t fly!
        14. A subclass can override methods to change or replace methods it inherited
        15. Any place where you can use a base class, you can use one of its subclasses instead
        16. A subclass can access its base class using the base keyword
        17. When a base class has a constructor, your subclass needs one too
          1. The base class constructor is executed before the subclass constructor
        18. Now you’re ready to finish the job for Kathleen!
        19. Build a beehive management system
        20. First you’ll build the basic system
        21. Use inheritance to extend the bee management system
      3. 7. Interfaces and Abstract Classes: Making classes keep their promises
        1. Let’s get back to bee-sics
          1. Lots of things are still the same
        2. We can use inheritance to create classes for different types of bees
        3. An interface tells a class that it must implement certain methods and properties
        4. Use the interface keyword to define an interface
        5. Now you can create an instance of NectarStinger that does both jobs
        6. Classes that implement interfaces have to include ALL of the interface’s methods of the interface’s methods
        7. Get a little practice using interfaces
        8. You can’t instantiate an interface, but you can reference an interface
        9. Interface references work just like object references
        10. You can find out if a class implements a certain interface with “is”
        11. Interfaces can inherit from other interfaces
          1. Any class that implements an interface that inherits from IWorker must implement its methods and properties
        12. The RoboBee 4000 can do a worker bee’s job without using valuable honey
        13. is tells you what an object implements, as tells the compiler how to treat your object
        14. A CoffeeMaker is also an Appliance
        15. Upcasting works with both objects and interfaces
        16. Downcasting lets you turn your appliance back into a coffee maker
          1. When downcasting fails, as returns null
        17. Upcasting and downcasting work with interfaces, too
        18. There’s more than just public and private
        19. Access modifiers change scope
        20. Some classes should never be instantiated
        21. An abstract class is like a cross between a class and an interface
        22. Like we said, some classes should never be instantiated
          1. Solution: use an abstract class
        23. An abstract method doesn’t have a body
          1. Avoid ambiguity!
          2. The four princples of object oriented programming
        24. Polymorphism means that one object can take many different forms
          1. Keep your eyes open for polymorphism in the next exercise!
          2. But we’re not done yet!
      4. 8. Enums and Collections: Storing lots of data
        1. Strings don’t always work for storing categories of data
        2. Enums let you enumerate a set of valid values
        3. Enums let you represent numbers with names
        4. We could use an array to create a deck of cards...
          1. ... but what if you wanted to do more?
        5. Arrays are hard to work with
        6. Lists make it easy to store collections of... anything
        7. Lists are more flexible than arrays
        8. Lists shrink and grow dynamically
        9. List objects can store any type
        10. Collection initializers work just like object initializers
        11. Let’s create a list of Ducks
          1. Here’s the initializer
        12. Lists are easy, but SORTING can be tricky
          1. You could sort a list of ducks by size...
          2. ...or by type.
          3. Lists know how to sort themselves
        13. Two ways to sort your ducks
          1. An object’s CompareTo() method compares it with another object
        14. Use IComparer to tell your List how to sort
        15. Create an instance of your comparer object
          1. Multiple IComparer implementations, multiple ways to sort your objects
        16. IComparer can do complex comparisons
        17. Use a dictionary to store keys and values
        18. The Dictionary Functionality Rundown
        19. Your key and value can be different types, too
        20. You can build your own overloaded methods
        21. And yet MORE collection types...
          1. Generic collections are an important part of the .NET framework
        22. A queue is FIFO — First In, First Out — First In, First Out
        23. A stack is LIFO — Last In, First Out — Last In, First Out
    13. II. C# Lab: The Quest
      1. 9. Reading and Writing Files: Save the byte array, save the world
        1. C# uses streams to read and write data
        2. Different streams read and write different things
          1. Things you can do with a stream:
        3. A FileStream writes bytes to a file
        4. How to write text to a file in 3 simple steps
        5. The Swindler launches another diabolical plan
        6. Reading and writing takes two objects
        7. Data can go through more than one stream
        8. Use built-in objects to pop up standard dialog boxes
          1. ShowDialog() pops up a dialog box
        9. Dialog boxes are just another .NET control
        10. Dialog boxes are objects, too
        11. Use the built-in File and Directory classes to work with files and directories
          1. Things you can do with a File:
          2. Things you can do with a Directory:
        12. Use File Dialogs to open and save files (all with just a few lines of code)
        13. IDisposable makes sure your objects are disposed properly
        14. Avoid file system errors with using statements
          1. Use multiple using statements for multiple objects
        15. Trouble at work
          1. You can help Brian out by building a program to manage his excuses
        16. Writing files usually involves making a lot of decisions
        17. Use a switch statement to choose the right option
        18. Use a switch statement to let your deck of cards read from a file or write itself out to one
        19. Add an overloaded Deck() constructor that reads a deck of cards in from a file
        20. What happens to an object when it’s serialized?
        21. But what exactly IS an object’s state? What needs to be saved? an object’s state? What needs to be saved?
        22. When an object is serialized, all of the objects it refers to get serialized too...
        23. Serialization lets you read or write a whole object all at once
          1. You’ll need a BinaryFormatter object
          2. Now just create a stream and read or write your objects
        24. If you want your class to be serializable, mark it with the [Serializable] attribute
        25. Let’s serialize and deserialize a deck of cards
        26. .NET converts text to Unicode automatically
        27. C# can use byte arrays to move data around
        28. Use a BinaryWriter to write binary data
          1. Use BinaryReader to read the data back in
        29. You can read and write serialized files manually, too
        30. Find where the files differ, and use that information to alter them
        31. Working with binary files can be tricky
        32. Use file streams to build a hex dumper
          1. How to make a hex dump
          2. Working with hex
        33. StreamReader and StreamWriter will do just fine
      2. 10. Exception Handling: Putting out fires gets old
        1. Brian needs his excuses to be mobile
          1. But the program isn’t working!
        2. When your program throws an exception, .NET generates an Exception object.
        3. Brian’s code did something unexpected
        4. All exception objects inherit from Exception
        5. The debugger helps you track down and prevent exceptions in your code
          1. Debugging means running your code line by line to see what happens
        6. Use the IDE’s debugger to ferret out exactly what went wrong in the excuse manager
        7. Uh-oh—the code’s still got problems...
        8. Handle exceptions with try and catch
        9. What happens when a method you want to call is risky?
        10. Use the debugger to follow the try/catch flow
        11. If you have code that ALWAYS should run, use a finally block
        12. Use the Exception object to get information about the problem
        13. Use more than one catch block to handle multiple types of exceptions
        14. One class throws an exception, another class catches the exception
        15. Bees need an OutOfHoney exception
        16. An easy way to avoid a lot of problems: using gives you try and finally for free
        17. Exception avoidance: implement IDisposable to do your own clean up
        18. The worst catch block EVER: comments
          1. You should handle your exceptions, not bury them
        19. Temporary solutions are okay (temporarily)
        20. A few simple ideas for exception handling
        21. Brian finally gets his vacation...
          1. ... and things are looking up back home!
      3. 11. Events and Delegates: What your code does when you’re not looking
        1. Ever wish your objects could think for themselves?
        2. But how does an object KNOW to respond?
        3. When an EVENT occurs... objects listen
          1. Want to DO SOMETHING with an event? You need an event handler
        4. One object raises its event, others listen for it...
        5. Then, the other objects handle the event
        6. Connecting the dots
          1. Use a standard name when you add a method to raise an event
        7. The IDE creates event handlers for you automatically
        8. The forms you’ve been building all use events
          1. One event, multiple handlers
        9. Connecting event senders with event receivers
          1. “My people will get in touch with your people.”
        10. A delegate STANDS IN for an actual method
          1. A delegate adds a new type to your project
        11. Delegates in action
        12. Any object can subscribe to a public event...
          1. ... but that’s not always a good thing!
        13. Use a callback instead of an event to hook up exactly one object to a delegate
        14. Callbacks use delegates, but NOT events
      4. 12. Review and Preview: Knowledge, power, and building cool stuff
        1. You’ve come a long way, baby
        2. We’ve also become beekeepers
          1. But we can do a lot better now...
        3. The beehive simulator architecture
        4. Building the beehive simulator
        5. Life and death of a flower
        6. Now we need a Bee class
        7. P. A. H. B. (Programmers Against Homeless Bees)
        8. The hive runs on honey
        9. Filling out the Hive class
        10. The hive’s Go() method
        11. We’re ready for the World
          1. The World object keeps everything Go() ing
        12. We’re building a turn-based system
        13. Here’s the code for World
        14. Giving the bees behavior
        15. The main form tells the world to Go()
        16. We can use World to get statistics
        17. Timers fire events over and over again
        18. The timer’s using a delegate behind the scenes
        19. Add a Timer to the simulator
        20. Test drive
        21. Let’s work with groups of bees
        22. A collection collects... DATA
        23. LINQ makes working with data in collections and databases easy
        24. Test drive (Part 2)
        25. One final challenge: Open and Save
      5. 13. Controls and Graphics: Make it pretty
        1. You’ve been using controls all along to interact with your programs
        2. Form controls are just objects
        3. Use controls to animate the beehive simulator
        4. Add a renderer to your architecture
        5. The renderer draws everything in the World on the two forms
          1. The simulator renders the world after each frame
        6. Controls are well-suited for visual display elements
        7. Build your first animated control
          1. We want a control in the toolbox
        8. BeeControl is LIKE a PictureBox... so let’s start by a PictureBox... so let’s start by INHERITING from PictureBox
        9. Create a button to add the BeeControl to your form
        10. Your controls need to dispose their controls, too!
        11. A UserControl is an easy way to build a control
        12. The renderer uses your BeeControl to draw animated bees on your forms
        13. Add the hive and field forms to the project
          1. Figure out where your locations are
        14. Build the Renderer
        15. Now connect the main form to your two new forms, HiveForm and FieldForm
        16. Test drive... ahem... buzz
        17. Looks great, but something’s not quite right...
        18. Let’s take a closer look at those performance issues
        19. You resized your Bitmaps using a Graphics object
          1. Let’s see image resizing in action
        20. Your image resources are stored in Bitmap objects
          1. Then each Bitmap is drawn to the screen
          2. The bigger they are...
        21. Use System.Drawing to TAKE CONTROL of graphics yourself
        22. A 30-second tour of GDI+ graphics
        23. Use graphics to draw a picture on a form
        24. Graphics can fix our transparency problem...
          1. ... but there’s a catch
        25. Use the Paint event to make your graphics stick
        26. A closer look at how forms and controls repaint themselves
        27. Double buffering makes animation look a lot smoother
        28. Double buffering is built into forms and controls
          1. Overhaul the Beehive Simulator
        29. Use a Graphics object and an event handler for printing
        30. PrintDocument works with the print dialog and print preview window objects
          1. Use e.HasMorePages to print multi-page documents
        31. There’s so much more to be done...
      6. 14. Captain Amazing the Death of the Object
        1. Your last chance to DO something... your object’s finalizer something... your object’s finalizer
        2. When EXACTLY does a finalizer run?
          1. You can SUGGEST to .NET that it’s time to collect the garbage to .NET that it’s time to collect the garbage
        3. Dispose() works with using, finalizers work with garbage collection
        4. Finalizers can’t depend on stability
        5. Make an object serialize itself in its Dispose()
        6. A struct looks like an object...
        7. ..but isn’t on the heap
        8. Values get copied, references get assigned
        9. Structs are value types; objects are reference types
          1. Here’s what happened...
        10. The stack vs. the heap: more on memory
        11. Captain Amazing... not so much
        12. Extension methods add new behavior to EXISTING classes
        13. Extending a fundamental type: string
      7. 15. Linq: Get control of your data
        1. An easy project...
        2. ... but the data’s all over the place
        3. LINQ can pull data from multiple sources
        4. .NET collections are already set up for LINQ
        5. LINQ makes queries easy
        6. LINQ is simple, but your queries don’t have to be
        7. LINQ is versatile
        8. LINQ can combine your results into groups
        9. Combine Jimmy’s values into groups
        10. Use join to combine two collections into one query
        11. Jimmy saved a bunch of dough
        12. Connect LINQ to a SQL database
        13. Use a join query to connect Starbuzz and Objectville
    14. III. C# Lab 3: Invaders
      1. A. Leftovers: The top 5 things we wanted to include in this book
        1. #1 LINQ to XML
          1. Save and load XML files
          2. Query your data
          3. Read data from an RSS feed
        2. #2 Refactoring
          1. Extract a method
          2. Rename a variable
          3. Consolidate a conditional expression
        3. #3 Some of our favorite Toolbox components
        4. #4 Console Applications
        5. #5 Windows Presentation Foundation
        6. Did you know that C# and the .NET Framework can...
    15. Index
    16. About the Authors
    17. Special Upgrade Offer
    18. Copyright