April 24, 2005 spout writing

Status on Windows Forms Programming 2e

Jose heard” that I’m working on an update for the first edition of Windows Forms Programming in C# for Windows Forms 2.0 (we’re not updating the VB.NET version due to poor sales for VB.NET-related titles in general). I didn’t mean to keep it a secret; it’s been listed at the top of my writing page for a year or more. : )

While we’ve been working closely together on the update, the bulk of the writing work is being done by Micheal Weinhardt, my main writing partner for the last coupla years or so. He’s got 90% of the book updated for VS05b1 already and is in the process of updating the whole thing to b2. After that, we pass it back and forth between ourselves for review-edit til we’re both happy. By the end of May, hopefully the whole thing will be out for review. After that, we apply reviewer comments and update at each successive beta/release candidate until the Whidbey team decides they’re done, at which point we send it to the publisher and 3-4 months later, it hits the shelves.

In addition to updating the existing material for WF2, we’ve made the following changes:

  • Split a Layout chapter out of the Forms chapter due to all of the extra WF2 layout functionality
  • Refactored the existing design-time and controls chapters and the standard components & controls appendix into the following chapters: components, controls, design-time 1 and design-time 2 (includes smart tags)
  • Split the applications & settings chapters into 2
  • Added a Document Management chapter for MFC folks finding themselves in the app framework-free environment of Windows Forms
  • Dropped the data access chapter as covered better in other sources
  • Re-wrote the data binding chapter from scratch with a story I always wanted to tell in WF1, but isn’t supported nicely til WF2 (object-centric binding instead of relational database-centric)
  • Refactored the drag n’ drop material into it’s own appendix
  • Added a What’s New in Windows Forms 2.0” appendix for those already familiar with Windows Forms 1.x
  • Dropped the delegates bedtime story in favor of beefed up coverage in chapter 1 (and a more general knowledge of delegates in the universe as a whole). Don’t get my wrong, I love that story, but it doesn’t fit into the overall theme of the rest of the book. I knew this when I first edition shipped, but I just didn’t take the time to update the book properly to live w/o it

I have to say that working with Mike on this process has been fabulous. An ordinary author faced with updating to a new version of a technology might just update the material and leave the story alone, even if it needs update. Instead, Mike took the time to reexamine the book from first principles, fixing the problems in the story that always nagged at me in the 1st edition and proposing improvements to stuff I was pretty proud of. In general, even without the update to the new technology, the book is better than the 1st edition.