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13 books for a .NET Summer reading list

As last year, before going on holiday I’m list some of the books that are in my reading list. It’s not entirely about .NET book, but will also cover other languages not related with .NET development at all, like Scala or Arduino.

JavaScript and jQuery

I think JavaScript is still the most unknown language among all the ones used to write web applications: mostly due to the fact that it lives in the limbo between developer and designer.

JavaScript: The Good Parts

It seems incredible, but I never read this “must have” book about the man that invented JavaScript. And if a guilty of the same error, you have to do it: you will learn that JavaScript, even when not abstracted away by jQuery, is fun language to work with.

jQuery in Action, second edition

The first edition was in last year edition of this same list, and now the new edition is out: the same goodness of the previous edition, but talking about jQuery 1.4. Another must read book if you are into jQuery.

jQuery UI 1.7: The User Interface Library for jQuery

Another book that I have in my reading list is about jQuery UI. The online documentation is already pretty comprehensive, but having all the samples and explanations of all the options available is still very valuable. One little problem of this book is that it’s still about jQuery UI 1.7.

Web development on .NET

ASP.NET MVC 2 is out since a few months already and almost all the books that came out last year have a second edition treating ASP.NET MVC 2.

ASP.NET MVC 2 in Action

As last year, my ASP.NET MVC book of choice is ASP.NET MVC 2 in Action. The reason is that with this book not only you learn about the framework itself, but also about how to develop a real-world web application, with NHibernate, IoC and all the best practices.
If you are looking at learning “just” ASP.NET MVC probably you might want to have a look at Professional ASP.NET MVC 2 or Pro ASP.NET MVC 2 Framework: even if they lack the ALT.NET feeling of the “in Action” book, they cover the details of framework pretty well.

What’s new in ASP.NET MVC 2

Shameless plug: unfortunately there was no “Beginning ASP.NET MVC v2”, but I still wrote this short eBook to condensate all the new features of MVC 2 for the developers that already knew all the concepts behind the framework.

Beginning ASP.NET Security

If you are developing web applications and don’t take security seriously you should not be doing this job, seriously. This book contains all the information needed to get up to speed quickly on web security: XSS, CSRF, validation and more. It all boils to down to “Trust None”.


One of the reason I decided to organize the NHDay is because I don’t know NHibernate as much as I would like. And here are two books that I really recommend.

NHibernate in Action

It was in the list also last year, but I think I’ll keep it in my reading list again: this is the real Bible of NHibernate and if it refers to an old version of NHibernate (1.2 if I’m not mistaken) most of the concepts are still the same. And if you come to the NHDay you might win a copy of this book, or an hard discount to buy it, since Manning is going to be one of the sponsors of the event.

NHibernate 2.x Beginner's Guide

The “bible” is still about version 1.2, but this book covers the latest version of NHibernate, and has a very nice approach explaining what an ORM is about and how to use the more advanced features of NH like caching and validators.

Other .NET related books

Brownfield Application Development in .Net

Most of us are not lucky enough to always develop green-field applications, and even those who do it, find themselves into brownfield development soon. This is about all the processes you have to do when you enter as an external into a development team and you want to take it out of the “pain” zone: how to setup the source control properly, how to setup CI, how introduce testing, and so on. I really loved reading this book, and I think it’s a must read book for everyone that is interested in working better.

IronRuby in Action

Despite having been unfunded by Microsoft, IronRuby is a very good mean to start learning Ruby while staying in the comfort zone of the .NET environment. Ivan started writing the book almost 3 years ago, and he was also involved in the development of the language itself. And furthermore, this is the only book about IronRuby you can get.As Steve Bohlen points out in the comment, there is also another book about IronRuby around: IronRuby Unleashed

iPhone/iPad development

Professional iPhone Programming with MonoTouch and .NET/C#

I haven’t started reading it yet, but this is probably the next book I’m going to open, and probably taking with me on holiday. iPhone/iPad development is definitely something I want to do more, and Objective-C seems a bit too much for me, even if I already developed a small app last year.

Even more ALT

Programming in Scala: A Comprehensive Step-by-step Guide

Everybody talks about Scala, Keyvan felt in love with it, Ivan stopped doing .NET to work with it: there must be something good in it. So I’d better find it out with a good book.

Getting Started with Arduino

I bought an Arduino kit at the beginning of the summer, but haven’t played with it yet. Hopefully when I finally completely settled up in my new home I can try hacking something up, and maybe build some cool twittering basil watering system for my addiction for pesto.

Will I really read them all?

Will I really be able to read all these books? Hopefully there will be no other changing jobs and moving countries in the next years. I hope you found my recommendations useful.

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