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Table of Contents
When we talk about C#, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘speed.’ This is the main reason why C# is used for gaming, VR, mobile and desktop applications, web applications, websites, and more. C# is easy to learn and, thus, the most popular programming language in the world. It also has a huge vibrant community. Books are a great way to learn C#, and an IDE goes hand in hand with practice. Applications are written in C# use the .NET framework, so Visual Studio is ideal for IDE on Windows.
What is C#?
C#, pronounced as C sharp, is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm language, which is object-oriented. It is a strongly typed language developed by Microsoft in 2000 as part of the .NET initiative. Although C# claims that C# is similar to Java, its design principles are mostly based on C++. C# is one of the languages for Common Language Infrastructure (CLI). A simple example of a C# program:
// Main function
static void Main(string args)
Console.WriteLine("Welcome to Hackr.io");
This will print ‘Welcome to Hackr.io’ when executed.
Features of C#
C# has many interesting and unique features which makes it most suitable for developing games and mobile & desktop apps:
- Automatic garbage collection.
- No memory leaks, as memory backup is high.
- Follows OOP concepts similar to other high-level languages like C, C++, and Java.
- Structured and component-oriented language.
- Highly Scalable.
- Rich libraries, high speed, and performance.
How to Learn C#?
Just like other programming languages, you can easily learn C# by practice! As a starting point, learn the basic concepts and syntax. If you are new to programming, consider spending some time reading blogs about programming and its basics like data structures, control structures, etc. Hackr.io provides the most popular online C# courses and tutorials. However, there is nothing like having books with you. With books, you can learn at your own pace. Many nice, informative books teach from scratch and move on to an advanced level. In the following section, we have listed some of the best books of all levels for self-learning, project references, and professional use.
Best C# Books to learn
This is a basic book, and the author covers all the core concepts and some advanced ones at a high-level. The book tells how to do something in C# and makes you understand the underlying technology. The author's approach is simple and straightforward, and he presents sufficient examples to cover each topic. This book is a great start for learning C#, irrespective of whether you are a new programmer or an experienced one.
- It starts with basics like installing Visual Studio and Visual Studio and advanced topics like performance tuning and data manipulations using Entity Framework and LINQ.
- Provides a lot of exercises at the end of each chapter.
- Has an entire chapter dedicated to practical applications of C# using .NET
- The last few chapters are dedicated to web development using C# and .NET and introduce you to CMS and REST.
- Structured approach and a well-organized flow of topics
- The author provides many links in the ‘More information’ section, where the reader can find more information about the particular topic on the internet.
This book from O’Reilly is for intermediate to advanced C# programmers. The author uses very relatable examples and keeps the reader hooked. It is thorough, extensive, and covers all the aspects of the language. The book doesn’t cover Visual Studio or .NET framework, as it is assumed that you already know at least one programming language (could be other than C#). If you want to develop highly scalable web apps or create a high-performance Unity game, you should grab this book!
- The author’s style is fluent and crisp, showing his experience and thorough understanding of C#.
- Advanced topics like garbage collection, exceptions, delegates, events are explained well in detail.
- If you are new to programming, it is advisable first to read the older version of the book, which has more basics than this book (like OOP concepts, the basic syntax of C#, etc.)
- The author gives a lot of tips, notes, and suggestions that enhance the reader’s knowledge.
- The book follows a guided approach, and you can look up the web for topics you want to know more about with the link given or the topic name.
This is a must-have book in your collection, even though it's only 6th Edition. It is a great source of information for beginners as well as experienced C# programmers. The language is not verbose, and the author presents each concept with code examples that are continuous and inflow throughout the end. If you already know Visual Studio, you can skim through the first few chapters. This is one book where I found that the code examples use Windows forms instead of console, which the author has emphasized.
- The book provides practical examples that you can relate to when you are doing real-time projects.
- The content is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
- The author has a great teaching style, and the book is well-organized.
- A good guide for reference as well as self-study.
- Covers all the basic OOP concepts as well as building professional-level applications.
- The author gives a lot of useful tips and explains concepts through pictures throughout the chapters.
This is the best book for c# for beginners. The book starts with basic programming concepts, so if you are new to programming itself, the book is still worthwhile because it covers OOP concepts in detail. It will be useful to have prior knowledge of C/C++, which most engineering students learn during college. The book is split into six parts, where the first three parts cover the basics, and the last three are slightly advanced (rather intermediate).
- Focuses on learning C# rather than introducing the reader to multiple tools.
- Covers all the OOP concepts, including generics, in detail.
- A lot of exercises and challenges at the end of each chapter contain the right amount of difficulty.
- The book has some bits that are not fully explored, so it is good to supplement those topics with online blogs for more information.
- Acts as a good reference for those who want to brush-up their C# knowledge.
Well, we are all familiar with StackOverflow, especially if you have been working on programming for some time. A top StackOverflow contributor has written this book. Although the 4th edition, the book also covers important features of C# 6 & 7. It provides an intuitive approach to learning C# and doesn’t just answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ something is done. This book is for intermediate developers.
- Since a community contributor writes it, the approach followed is efficient, keeping in mind the common problems developers face.
- This is not the ideal book if you have no idea what C# is, but a great one if you knowC#e basics like data types, important C# features, and writing simple code.
- The book covers just the right amount of information for intermediate learners – not too detailed and not too high-level.
- The author spends a great amount of time explaining the new features and C# evolution over the years.
This is a detailed and exhaustive book and a great learning material if you have some time before your project starts. It builds a strong foundation for you to complete your projects later successfully. The author spends a lot of time explaining the core concepts and the background behind C#. There are many good code examples, and the author also puts them in a diagram for easy reference, which is something unique in this book. The book is for beginners to intermediate learners. I like the way the author gives a plan for beginners to start – for example, if you are fairly new to programming, the author suggests you read all the chapters. However, if you have a working knowledge of C, he asks you to skim through the first few chapters to save time.
- Clear, detailed, and concise – no verbosity.
- The exercises need Windows 10 to run.
- Covers both Visual Studio and C# in detail.
- If this is your first-ever book, you should also supplement your learning with some online material, especially on OOP concepts, as the author brushes through those in the beginning (however, covers them in later chapters).
- The author gives lots of notes which provide insights on possible alternative approaches for solving a problem.
- The book is well-organized, and it is easy to navigate and find information quickly.
This is an amazingly written book for intermediate programmers. It is fast-paced – so if you are a beginner, this is not the book for you. It is detailed and thorough, but you should have a certain working knowledge of C# or at least C. It is one comprehensive book that you should have if you are building your career in C# development. The book also encourages you to read more about many concepts through the web and do in-depth research to learn more.
- It can be used as a quick reference or a study guide.
- Thorough explanation of examples (a lot of examples).
- If you are planning for C# certification, this is your go-to book.
- All in one book also covers .NET Core, .NET API, Entity Framework, WPF, etc.
- Exhaustive and dense, take time to read and absorb the concepts.
This is a book for those who don’t like endless theories. It is full of practical examples and encourages you to work throughout. You cannot just lie down and read the book – you have to practice. While the author covers many topics, he focuses more on code than going too much into technical details of a feature. Each feature/concept is supported by a lot of example code. The author encourages you to modify the examples and write your own versions for better practice and learning.
- A must-have book for beginners of programming.
- Clear, concise, and sharp explanation of concepts.
- The author explains various approaches and the pros and cons it.
- Quick reference and learning guide without getting too much into technical aspects.
You can buy this book here.
Great material for intermediate and advanced C# users, this book provides in-depth coverage of advanced and complex topics. The author’s approach is elegant, as he starts with an overall view and then goes deeper and deeper as each chapter proceeds. The book is a good mix of conceptual understanding and practical applications through use cases. Even though it is intended for intermediate learners, you should be good to go if you have basic programming knowledge.
- Clear, concise, without any verbosity, every line is full of meaning and knowledge.
- Take time to read – it's purely technical and a great reference.
- Exhaustive coverage of core concepts and various popular technologies like WPF, UWP, etc.
- Covers topics like serialization, regular—expressions, native DLLs, COM interoperability, etc., which most other books do not cover.
- The author starts from the first version and explains each new version's improvements and features, giving a good history and comparison.
You can buy this book here.
10. Headfirst C#
Headfirst books are known for their unique visual way of explaining concepts. The book has just the right amount of technical details and provides a good foundation before reading more advanced books on C#. The author’s funny, witty, and friendly tone compensates for the verbiage here and there. It quickly gets you on to coding and presents many side bits and information that enhance learning. You can use the book for learning as well as a quick refresher.
- It is not a thorough or pure technical book and providesC# enough working knowledge to start writing C# code.
- It presents an intuitive way of learning and doesn’t throw in a lot of content at once.
- A great book for beginners, where the author focuses on building a strong foundation for the concepts.
- The author mentions some advanced concepts at a very high-level but doesn’t get into too many details.
- The author explains why something would work and why something will NOT work, giving you an overall understanding of code and concepts.
You can buy this book here.
Bonus C# books
The above 10 are a must for learning C# at different levels in your career. Additionally, we are providing two more books that are focused on using C# for gaming purposes. Unity is one of the best gaming engines, and hence we have picked books that help you learn both C# and Unity in one place.
The best part of this book is that it starts with the most basic concepts and then covers the most advanced topics! You start by writing small bits of code and develop your skills throughout the book to build more complex systems with the Unity interface. It may be a bit confusing and fast for beginners at first, but take it slow, and you will be able to follow it. You can supplement your learning with online reference materials.
- A lot of code examples with thorough explanations.
- The book is divided into different sections, the first section covers C# in detail, the second covers Unity, and the last section introduces you to more advanced concepts.
- There are a lot of quizzes at the end of each chapter covered in the book.
- The author covers various challenges and problems faced during practical game design, giving you a feel of a real-time gaming design experience.
You can buy this book here.
If you have no prior gaming experience, this is the right book to start. The author introduces readers to a lot of example codes and experiments to build a strong foundation. Even basic code and common programming tasks are focused on gaming and presented from a gaming point of view. This is one book where you can truly appreciate the power of C# as you will see it in action.
- An interactive and practical approach to game design.
- Thorough explanation of Unity and C# and how both are used together.
- The author introduces you to a lot of tips and tricks in the world of gaming.
- The book also touches upon Git and its use, although you can skip it if you wish.
You can buy this book here.
Well, that’s all about the books, folks! We have discussed some of the best books for each level. You can start your C# journey with any of the beginner books, like, Murach's C# 2015 6th Edition or The C# Player's Guide (3rd Edition) will be a good starting point. For more experienced learners, starting with Programming C# 8.0 (O’Reilly) and C# in Depth: Fourth Edition 4th Edition will be a good learning curve. Happy reading!
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